Fabian Demicoli

Gozo; Hazardous made simple

 Gozo Channel was obliged some weeks back to introduce separate Ferry Services to meet today's more stringent safety at sea conditions. This since not all cargo is deemed to be safe enough to travel on vessels that are primarily intended as passenger carriers.

Gozo Channel rightly took the decision to conform to EU safety standards and presented traders who travel regularly to Gozo to distribute a wide variety of products that are termed as hazardous cargo. 

 

GRTU  was consulted by Gozo Channel,  as representatives of Maltese traders who trade regularly with Gozo and on behalf of Gozitan traders, retailers, service providers, farms who receive goods from Malta and the cargo haulers who transport the goods, expressed its opinion on the choice of dates and times and charges for the service. 

The main issue related to the times the service operated from Cirkewwa to Mgarr, Gozo. Most Maltese traders prefer to board ship as early as possible so that they are in Gozo by shop opening times and be in a position to finalise the Gozo circuit by 12 noon. Most businesses in Gozo close at noon for the afternoon break and Maltese traders tried to avoid the necessary cost of extra labour charges and delays caused by a belated start to the Gozo delivery run necessitated by late ferry trips time. 

Gozo Channel limited as they are by the pressure of scheduled passenger services particularly at peak passenger crossing times and the limited number of vessels on the CHANNEL LINES, offered only 08:30 am as the earliest time.

Once the service went into action GRTU RECEIVED TOO MANY COMPLAINTS NOT TO REVISIT THE DECISION TAKEN. GRTU IS NOW PRESSING GOZO CHANNEL FOR A FAIRER SOLUTION AS TRADERS PREFER TO CROSS AS EARLY AS 07:00 am then has to wait for the 08.30 am trip or the later 11:00 am trip. 

GRTU is proposing that now that Gozo Channel is shifting  one of the days of the regular weekly service to make life easier for Gozo-Malta trade in goods termed as hazardous by changing the first morning trip from 08:30 am to 07:00 am. 

GRTU IS FAIRLY CONFIDENT that Gozo Channel can muster the proposed change. Already Gozo Channel AGREED to BRING IN OTHER CHANGES THAT MAKE IT EASIER FOR TRADERS TO CROSS TO GOZO ON TRIPS THAT ARE PRACTICALLY PASSENGER FREE AND THE NEW CHANGE AS PROPOSED BY GRTU WILL FURTHER ENHACE A SERVICE THAT NOT ONLY PROVIDES BETTER SAFETY TO PASSENGERS BUT ALSO MEET INSURANCE AND REGULATORY  DIRECTIVES.

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