Gozo Channel was formed in 1979, to maintain, develop, and operate a sea transport service to and from Malta, Gozo and elsewhere which, by the carriage of passengers, freight and mail, will serve the national economy and interest of the Maltese Islands.
The overriding business strategy for Gozo Channel is to provide an economic, efficient, profitable, reliable and safe service to Gozo and for the Company’s customers. Management has identified a number of key elements which will assist the Company achieve its objectives. These include:
• Safety, quality and environmental protection;
• Offering competitive and reasonable prices and complying with the social obligation aspect required of the Company;
• Basing the Company’s strategy on a marketing and customer care orientation.
The Company’s first vessels to operate the route were the M/V Ghawdex (purchased in early 1979) the M/V Melitaland and M/V Mgarr (both purchased in early 1980). Initially, these vessels performed an average of eight (8) round trips per day.
With diversification in mind, a seasonal service to Sicily was introduced in June 1981 with the M/V Ghawdex. The Company operated up to three (3) weekly trips to Siracuse, Catania and eventually Pozzallo and the service became very popular among local Maltese and Gozotan wishing to spend a day or more in Sicily. The service was discontinued in 1995.
As the traffic between Malta and Gozo increased, more vessels were introduced into the service to cope with the demand, and by 1990 the Company was operating five (5) vessels, including a fast ferry service between Mgarr, Sliema and Sa Maison, and performing an average of 27 round trips per day. In that year the Company carried 1.93 million passengers and 370,000 cars.
In the mid 90s, the Company embarked on a very ambitious programme – the modernisation of the fleet. Plans for the construction of three ro-ro vessels at the Malta Shipbuilding were finalised. The first vessel, the M.V. Ta’ Pinu, was introduced into service in March 2000, whilst the second ship, the M.V. Gaudos entered into service in February 2001. The third vessel, the M.V. Malita, was delivered in March 2002. All vessels have state of the art technology.
In line with the ongoing modernisation programme, the Company introduced various customer care initiatives. Customer orientation became the order of the day. This is reflected in the slogan adopted by the Company: ‘A Service to Gozo and for our Customers’.
Today, Gozo Channel has become one of the leading local maritime companies in Malta, with over 200 employees. On average, the company performs 20,000 trips a year, and ferries around 4.1 million passengers and 1.2 million vehicles annually between the two Islands.
As shown by its history, over the coming years, the Company will continue to strive to improve its service in line with the development of Gozo and the demands of its customers.