The Port of Valletta is currently connected to mainland Europe and the North African basin through Genoa, Pozzallo/Ragusa, Palermo, Catania, Livorno and La Goulette through regular ferry services.
Ferries are very popular for leisurely travel in the Mediterranean basin - from school visits to shopping trips, from weekend breaks to short stays and more. The location of Valletta and its proximity to ports such as those in Sicily makes it very popular for day-trips.
Malta and consequently the Port of Valletta are part of the EU and customs barriers have been removed between Malta and other EU member states. Retailers and importer are now finding it easier to turn to mainland Europe suppliers for their needs. This is the basis of the accompanied cargo market. There are numerous advantages: for fresh produce, the importer can send a truck up on the first ferry in the morning, pick up the goods and be back in Malta by 11.00hrs – or if using the afternoon ferry, goods can be on the shelves by early evening. This is all made possible because of the fast ferry service from the Port of Valletta. For example a trip to Pozzallo takes under 90 minutes and just three hours to Catania, making Sicily an extension of Malta.
Corporate meetings, incentive travel and conferences is another growing sphere for the ferry industry.