Skip to Content

Raising standards in maritime education

by July 21, 2017 General

Joseph Bugeja, Malta Maritime Forum CEO and Joe Borg, Malta Maritime Forum chairman.

The Malta Maritime Forum and the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers have agreed to endorse their cooperation through the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the aim to promote mutual collaboration in professional maritime education, training and qualification.

Joe Borg, Malta Maritime Forum chairman, said: “This collaboration will further assist our objective to raise standards in the educational aspect.

“More professionally trained personnel within the industry are needed to match the continuous growth in the maritime sector.”

Matt Gilber, head for education at the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, commented: “We have a long-standing relationship with Malta, going back 30 years and leading to 11 qualified Maltese members. We are very keen to support the MMF in its endeavours to raise educational standards.”

During Gilber’s visit to Malta, MMF took the initiative, together with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, to hold a presentation to various interested candidates from the local maritime sector. Gilber gave a detailed presentation to the floor explaining the extent of courses that are available through ICS.

The shipping sector within the Chamber agreed to extend its collaboration to the MMF to attract more students to sit for training and eventual examination leading to MICS or FICS, member or fellow to the institute.

The institute was founded in 1911 when shipbrokers had, for generations, been the intermediaries for finding ships for cargo, cargo for ships or attending ships in port.

In 1920, it was decided that a standard for professional education and qualifications among practising shipbrokers was required. As the Institute set standards which were able to satisfy His Majesty’s Privy Council, a Royal Charter was granted.

In 1984, a supplementary Royal Charter was granted and membership of the institute was opened to citizens of any country in the world. The institute now offers three levels of qualification which cover the full spectrum of commercial shipping activity.

We have a long-standing relationship with Malta going back 30 years and leading to 11 qualified Maltese members. We are very keen to support the MMF in its endeavours to raise educational standards

Membership of the institute may be granted to those who successfully complete seven professional qualifying examinations from a selection of 16 subject papers. Members and fellows of the institute occupy executive positions in the maritime industry with very high professional standards.

Institute membership is internationally recognised as a mark of professionalism in the shipping business worldwide. Only institute fellows may receive ‘chartered shipbroker’ status.

There are over 4,000 members and fellows throughout the world, with institute branches established in Australia and New Zealand, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, East Africa, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Africa and the Middle East, as well as eight branches in the UK.

The Maltese maritime industry is deeply steeped in Malta’s history which knows its origins to seafarers who settled on the island. Moreover, geography is Malta’s prime asset till the present day.

What Malta lacks in hinterland is compensated for by the water expanses that link Malta to the European mainland, Africa and the Middle East.

Through this natural maritime tradition, today’s maritime industry in Malta is characterised by maritime hubbing, a maritime flag which is the sixth largest worldwide and the largest in Europe, various maritime facilities and internationalisation.

It is estimated that more than 20,000 people are employed in Malta’s maritime and marine industry. This represents 10.6 per cent of Malta’s total labour force (187,000).

The contribution of this industry to the gross domestic income is approximately 11 per cent whereas recent studies have concluded that 15.4 per cent of Malta’s economy is dependent on the marine environment.

The Malta Maritime Forum was set up in October 2015 to serve as a common platform for those Malta- based interests involved in the maritime, logistical and transport industry in Malta. This platform will facilitate communication between the various sectors as well as with the government to assist and promote the development of this industry in general.

The Forum has been registered as an NGO under the Laws of Malta with the main objectives of promoting the interests of the Maltese maritime industry, assist in the development of new maritime activities, promote research, education and training within the Maltese maritime industry and act as a constituted body so as to consult and be consulted by the government in the development of public policies that can have a bearing on the Maltese maritime industry.

The MMF has 40 members representing port terminals, ship repair yard, ship owners, unions (GRTU and Malta Dockers Union), shipping agents, port service providers and legal professionals. Through its general assembly the MMF lays down an annual action plan and elects a board of directors which in turn appoints a chairman.

The first and current chairman of the MMF is Joe Borg who was Malta’s EU Commissioner between 2004 and 2010. As EU Commissioner, Borg was responsible for fisheries and maritime affairs. Joseph Bugeja is CEO and a board member.

The MMF is also recognised by the Maltese government as the representative body of the Maltese maritime industry and, for this reason, a working team has been set up between the MMF and Transport Malta. The concept of the setting up of the maritime cluster in Malta emerged from the Malta Shortsea Promotion Centre which is very active in the European Shortsea Network.