The harbor has a terminal that serves ferries to connect Malta to Catania and Pozzallo in Sicily.
The Marsamxett harbor is located west of Valletta and mainly hosts several yacht marinas. The harbor at Marsaxlokk which is the site upon which the Malta Freeport stands is on the south-east of Malta and is the main cargo terminal in the republic (Bill, 2004). Also, there are two man-made harbors that are used to provide car and passenger ferry service connecting Marr Harbour on Gozo and irkewwa Harbour on Malta.
Malta Freeport is among the most sophisticated terminal hubs in the world. The port has a well-established feeder network connecting it to over 100 ports in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean ocean. The port has experienced remarkable growth since it was established and has attracted some of the most renowned international maritime players in the world courtesy of state-of-the-art facilities, proven track record and enviable geographical location (Bill, 2004).
Port Authorities in Malta have increasingly appreciated the need for the construction of modern one million TEU container terminals in Malta in response to the need to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and capacity, and globalize terminal operations. The highly automated terminal is expected to use gantry cranes. The construction of the modern terminal will have great consequences for the strategic position of the port as well as to its potential clients.
Standard-sized containers are commonly used to cargo between different transportation modes such as trains, trucks, and ships (Bill, 2004). A commonly used unit of cargo capacity used for describing container terminals and container ships is the teu or TEU but is an inexact measure. One TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) represents a cargo capacity of a shipping container 8 feet wide and 20 feet long without a standardized height. The container height can range from 4.25feet to 9.5feet but more commonly is 8.5feet.
The construction which is anticipated to offer world-class maritime services will be capable of handling one million teu annually with a potential for future expansion. Several Safety and security issues must be well addressed during the construction of the facility which must also be environmentally friendly (Felix, 2008). The high-level technological gantry equipment used at the terminal must be able to keep drivers, visitors, and workers safe while expediting cargo movement using the newest and technologically advanced handling machines. The automated container handling system will make it possible for the management function to closely monitor activities taking place in the terminal through a central monitoring office.
In the recent past, methodological approaches in container terminal operations have considerably changed with modern techniques of material handling being adopted (Hans, 2004). Yet another area where significant changes have been witnessed in information and communication as well as the security functions of the organization. Constructing of quay walls, fairways, and terminal areas must, therefore, be carefully done in line with the master plan which has several security and safety measures on top of complying with current regulations and providing room for future development (Felix, 2008).