In August this year, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Business and Industry and the Transport Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote sustainable mobility.
As transport accounts for almost 20% of Malta’s carbon emissions, this sector can make a significant contribution to a greener economy. Thanks to the electrification of the vehicle fleet, Malta will succeed in significantly reducing its emissions and combating air pollution. Therefore, this initiative is not only an environmental responsibility, but is also a public health issue. Through this MoU, the Malta House aims to facilitate the path towards electrification of Malta’s vehicle fleet.
The Malta House recognizes the scale of the challenge – and that it can only be achieved through collaboration. In developing its sustainable transport policy, the sustainable mobility committee of the Chamber of Malta drew on international expertise. Through the German Embassy, the committee initiated a dialogue with a think tank on electromobility. The main lesson was that Malta should learn from the experience of those who have already embarked on the path of electrification.
The electrification of the vehicle fleet is one of the most important challenges Malta has faced in the field of transport. It’s not just about replacing internal combustion engine vehicles with electric vehicles or installing charging stations. The process affects various facets of our economy. For example, repairing and maintaining electric vehicles requires specific skills, tools and qualifications. Time should not be wasted with bureaucracy and fragmented authority. Therefore, through the MoU, the Transport Foundation and the Malta Chamber are leading by example by joining forces.
The MOU stresses the need to build skills in Malta to secure a workforce with the skills, training and certification required to manage electric vehicles. It goes beyond repair and maintenance. In the event of an accident involving an electric vehicle, car batteries present a potential danger and must be handled differently from traditional batteries. First responders and firefighters also need to be trained to ensure that they can perform their jobs safely and efficiently. As such, training should not focus only on workshops and mechanics. Skills upgrading and retraining are needed across a wide range of disciplines.
Noting the recent launch of charging stations, the Malta Chamber believes that much remains to be done to achieve equitable infrastructure. The MOU recognizes the common goal of establishing guidelines to promote wider adoption of charging stations. The adoption of electric vehicles further requires an increased focus on the right incentives, which is also reflected in the MOU, with a focus on cost efficiency. The Malta Chamber brings practical industry expertise and experience, particularly on the impact of new technologies on business operations. Thus, an understanding can be gained of what works best for businesses, and skills gaps can be identified and linked with solutions developed jointly with the Transportation Foundation.
The Malta Chamber notes that while Malta has yet to announce a deadline for importing internal combustion engines, the European Union has already identified 2035 as a potential EU-wide date. Regardless of when Malta settles down, be it 2030 like the UK, or a later period, there is still a lot of work to be done. This will require original thinking, anticipating the challenges of global sourcing while ensuring Malta’s continued competitiveness. The Malta House remains committed to a vision of Malta as a competitive, sustainable and smart island, which can only be achieved through continued stakeholder engagement, as evidenced by this Memorandum of Understanding.
Timothy Alden, Executive, Policy Development, Malta Chamber of Commerce
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