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INTERVIEW

12 Φεβρουαρίου 2020.

John. A. Gauci-Maistre

 

 

Malta’s economy and maritime hub today and where it is going

 

 

johnmaistref26Pioneer of and synonymous with the Malta Flag, John. A. Gauci-Maistre, CEO of maritime service provider, GM International Services Limited, gives his take on Malta’s economy and maritime hub and where it is going.

The unparalleled economic and construction boom that Malta is living through has radically transformed the island’s economy and landscape. The already lucrative sectors of finance and an array of service providers -  including aviation maintenance, shipping and bunkering, yachting services, Fintech, Blockchain and remote gamingare now fast embracing the disruptive power of AI.

The present government is highly committed in this respect and at the beginning of October launched its national AI strategy at the Delta Summit. Investment in emerging technologies, public sector adoption and private sector posit the roadmap of this ambitious and far reaching 10-year plan that aims to realise 70 initiatives by the end of 2022. At least 6 AI pilot projects in the coming three years, including education, transport and energy are setting the pace.

All this clearly shows a surge in promoting a digital mindset that the younger generations already have and which demarcates all that they do in their daily lives.It is about time too.

The maritime industry too is living through extraordinary change as it grapples with the impact of emerging technologies and meeting the IMO 2020 fuel emission requirements while striving to remain profitable. As challenging as it is, embracing change is no longer under discussion since survival depends entirely upon it. Digital ports are already a reality while autonomous vessels are making headway. Yet another challenge arising from IoT is cybersecurity to ensure that the spectre of devastating hacking attacks and malware does not wreak havoc.

Given our rapidly evolving digital ecosystem the main issue is reskilling current and training future seafarers while struggling to find an unprecedented balance between technological and human input.  Unprecedented because A.I. is outpacing human performance in both menial and mundane tasks as well as making inroads into thinking briefs.

While fear of change is understandable, retraining today’s and training tomorrow’s seafarers can no longer be delayed. I have to say that we have not been sparking in enticing and equipping our youngsters to carve a maritime career but the government has finally seen the light and just a week after the Delta Summit was over inaugurated a €4 million maritime centre aimed at training students for careers at sea or in shore-based services as well as providing specialised training for the superyacht industry. This is definitely a step in the right direction and I look forward to seeing MaritimeMT beacon as one of the best maritime training centres worldwide.

The Malta Flag offers ample inspiration. Top of the league in the EU conjoined with its 6th global ranking the prestige of the Malta flag speaks for itself. I do believe that synergising strategic location in the centre of the Mediterranean, tradition, competence and vision underlines the Malta Flag as a flag of confidence. This has been our driving force for many years and will more than continue to be so because now the island is bearing the fruit of its holistic vision by conjoining an efficient ship registration procedure (though a more streamlined bureaucracy is required) with very attractive tax benefits and investment opportunities while fast embracing disruptive technologies.

The energy of go-getters is always music to my ears. But I am also a firm believer in building and cultivating personal rapport. When I look back at the 45+ years of GM International Services – the very first company in Malta to ‘wave’ the Malta Flag and kick-start what eventually spearheaded Malta’s maritime hub – I am both pleased with and appreciative of all that it takes to sustain GM International Services as the leading ship registration company on the island. That the vast majority of our very first clients continue to register with us is the best certificate of loyalty one would wish for.

I have always been inspired by Malta serving the world through its maritime strengths and potential. We have achieved a great deal and raising the bar is our way of setting sail into the future with gumption.

For further information and/or clarification contact GM INTERNATIONAL SERVICES LIMITED or visit gmint.com