Infrastructure Malta (IM) has reached the halfway mark of the first phase of the Grand Harbour Clean Air Project, a €49.9 million EU-funded environmental investment to cut 90% of air pollution by cruise liners and cargo ships in Malta’s principal port.
IM is the local state agency responsible for the development, maintenance and upgrading of roads and other public infrastructure in Malta. The agency has built the two frequency converter stations needed to introduce shore-to-ship electricity in the Grand Harbour of Valletta, as the first electrical equipment started arriving in Malta from factories in the Czech Republic, Italy and Turkey.
The Grand Harbour Clean Air Project (GHCAP) includes the installation of the electricity infrastructure for docked cruise liners and cargo ships (cold ironing). Such vessels can then source electricity directly from the port, rather than generating energy by keeping their standard engines running at the dock and burning oil fuels, which pollute the environment. This will help improve air quality for 17,000 families living in the Grand Harbour area. By switching off their auxiliary engines, cruise liners will emit 93% fewer nitrogen oxides, 92.6% less particulate matter and 99.6% less sulphur dioxide. These pollutants are among the principal causes of respiratory illnesses and other health problems.
The first phase of the GHCAP will also cut 39.6% of the cruise liners’ carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to the climate emergency. The first phase of the project will introduce shoreside electricity in the Grand Harbour’s main cruise liner quays in Floriana, Marsa and Senglea. The second phase will extend this technology to Laboratory Wharf and to Ras Hanzir (Fuel Wharf), in Paola, as well.
At Ras Hanzir, IM will soon launch the construction of a new 360-metre cargo handling facility to expand the Harbour’s capacity, flexibility and efficiency.