Marsamxett project shelved despite completed tender process, direct orders

The decision to shelve a project to construct a new ferry landing place in Marsamxett was taken following the costly completion of a tendering process and the award of a sizeable direct order for the project’s management.

While Infrastructure Malta recommended consortium Marsamxett JV’s €18 million bid for the project and awarded a €600,000 direct order for the project’s management to CTP Consulting Engineers in August, the infrastructure agency pulled the plug at the 11th hour.

Last week, Infrastructure Malta CEO Ivan Falzon told The Shift the project was cancelled due to a “reprioritisation” caused by a “a question of resources.” Yet only a few months ago, preparations for the project were in full swing, with the government allocating it millions of euro.

Despite a completed tendering process, a successful planning application and direct orders issued ahead of the commencement of construction, Falzon had told The Shift that since construction on “the project had not yet started, there was no commitment [to the project] from our end, freeing us up to reprioritise,”

The project’s call for tenders had three final bidders, with costs varying from around €18 million to almost €29 million. In a notice dated 21 August, the project’s tendering committee issued a recommendation for Marsamxett JV’s €17.8 million bid, awarding them the contract.

It is unclear which companies comprise the Marsamxett JV consortium, which beat out two other joint ventures, CS Marine Works JV and SNP Construction JV.

In response to a parliamentary question by opposition Nationalist Party MP Chris Said, in part asking who was behind the joint ventures, Infrastructure Minister Aaron Farrugia said the project was no longer a government priority and had been shelved.

Additionally, in 2022, Infrastructure Malta awarded a €595,000 direct order to consultancy firm CTP Consulting Engineers to manage the Marsamxett landing project. Questions sent to CTP Consulting asking if the direct order funds had been disbursed have not been answered at the time of publishing.

A Planning Authority permit for the project submitted in 2019 was also approved that year, paving the way for its completion.

The decision was taken in the wake of budget cuts for the infrastructure agency, which saw a €20 million reduction in allocated funds for roadworks alone. The Marsamxett project was allocated €1 million, nowhere near its estimated cost, effectively ending work on the project.

The most recent call for tenders on the project, which notes its use of European Union funding, followed two other calls dating back to 2021. While no information was available on the first call, the second was cancelled in November 2022. CS Marine Works, SNP Construction and Polidano Group had submitted bids to that call.

The project formed part of a series of planned ferry landing upgrades, including the Bormla ferry landing, initially set for completion in 2021 but inaugurated in June, and new facilities in Sliema, which Falzon said were “weeks from completion,” as well as a revamped quay and breakwater in Buġibba.


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6 months ago

No money in the kitty. Cutting unnecessary expenses. The government is going broke.

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