Raymond Vassallo CEO, JM Vassallo Vibro Blocks Ltd & JM Vassallo Vibro Steel Ltd Our company registered a seven per cent increase in turnover during 2016 compared to the previous year. The increase was achieved thanks to important capital investments carried out during 2015. However, there were other important factors that contributed to the increase, such as the introduction of new products, particularly energy efficient materials, and an increase in demand for factorycontrolled, ready assembled steelreinforced beams and columns which carry a significant value added content. First quarter results for 2017 show that activity has remained on the same levels as last year. Our forecasts remain very positive as more projects are expected to start during 2017. The construction industry is facing new challenges, namely finding enough skilled workers, with the consequence that operating costs are increasing substantially. The biggest challenges ahead remain those related to fair competition and efficiency. With the introduction of excise duties on the majority of steel
raw materials, our great concern is the possibility of undeclared material entering the country. On the other hand, the promotion of innovative and energyefficient materials is an area that we intend to continue investing in. Our main objectives for this year are
the consolidation of our operations. During the first quarter, we installed a new plant for the production of electro-welded steelreinforcing mesh. This will help us introduce new mesh typologies into the market and increase our efficiency to supply custom mesh in a short time.
David Abela Managing Director, EuroBridge EuroBridge has grown exponentially over the last three years, and last year it continued to consolidate this trend. The company has been in operation since 1995 but we can now say that 2016 was our best year on
APRIL / MAY 2017
record. Maltaâ€™s positive economic situation has definitely helped, however, within the company, everybody did their part to achieve such big success. Itâ€™s starting to look like 2017 will be even better than 2016, and with some margin as well! We have secured new traffic and clients that are helping us reach targets way before we thought we would. Shipping and logistics are directly linked with several other local industries, so if the economy is doing well in general, our sector should mirror that. In fact, the feedback I am getting from my fellow freight forwarders is that business is going well, if not great, for most of them. As for challenges and opportunities, one current issue which we should start giving due attention to is the possibility that the Hal Far Groupage Complex at Hal Far, which is Government property, could soon be privatised, and this might change the whole situation with regards to groupage cargo. On the other hand, this might be a great opportunity for us freight forwarders, especially the small players, to expand our operations to include local logistical services. Another big challenge is finding
the right people to employ. The employment situation in Malta, where it is almost at full employment, has made it really difficult for us to find suitable candidates to employ. The shipping industry is very demanding and all those employed within it need to be ready to handle a lot of pressure, but on the other hand, it gives a lot of satisfaction back. Not everybody is ready to take such a plunge, and that is why it is so difficult to find the right candidates. As for the rest of 2017, we have a lot of ongoing projects at the moment and we are targeting to achieve them all at the earliest possible. The first is my current pet project of the groupage export service. We are offering unbeatable rates on the usual great service and have to say it has already started showing great promise after only starting this service in March. The next in line would be implementing a new paperless system within the office that will make us even more efficient in our work. Finally, we should be moving to a brand new office installed with all the latest technology in approximately two months. There is more to come even before the end of the year, but we will be announcing them in due course. 95
The Official Business magazine of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise & Industry since 1947.