Aviation & Ships Spotting in Malta

Anything from Civil & Military Aviation to Naval Vessels


Last update: December 4, 2016

The Grand Harbour or Valletta Port (35°53'43" N, 14°30'43" E) is the primary port of call of the Maltese Islands.  The Grand Harbour (Il-Port il-Kbir, in maltese) is a natural deep-water harbour and its main waterway extends about 3.6-km inland, almost to Marsa.  Its entrance faces in the north-east direction and is bounded to the north by St Elmo's Point and further sheltered by an isolated breakwater and is bounded to the south by Ricasoli Point. 

Its north-west shore of the port is formed by the Scebarras peninsula, which is largely covered by the city of Valletta and Floriana. The south-eastern shore is formed by a number of inlets and headlands, principally Rinella Creek, Kalkara Creek, Dockyard Creek, and French Creek, which are covered by Kalkara and the Three Cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua).

Its two-arm breakwater renders it a safe, all-weather port throughout the year, open on a 24-hour basis.  Enjoying an average draught of 12m, this multi-purpose port is furnished with 3.5-km of quays capable of handling all types of cargo.  Warehousing and open storage facilities are available throughout the port area.



Click to edit table header
 The Grand Harbour
 Marsamxett Harbour
 Rinella Creek
 Bighi Bay
 Kalkara Creek
 Dockyard Creek
 French Creek
 The Marsa
 South-West Extension
 Pieta' Creek
 Msida Creek
 Lazzaretto Creek 
Click to edit table header
 Barriera Wharf
 Lascaris Wharft
 Pinto Wharf
 Gun Wharf
 Wine Wharf
 Deep Water Quay
 Flagstone Wharf
 Timber Wharf
 Lighter Wharf
 Bridge Wharf
 Chruch Wharf
 Coal Wharf
 Fuel Wharf
 Laboratory Wharf
 Magazine Wharf
 Boiler Wharf

Main Business Activities

- Cargo Handling

The entity authorised to a act as Cargo Terminal Operator within the Grand Habour is the Valletta Gateway Terminals (VGT) Ltd.  VGT, a joint venture between Portek Group of Singapore and Tumas Group of Malta, was established on June 9, 2006 after it was awarded the 30 year concession agreement to operate and manage the Grand Harbour Terminals at Deep Water Quay, Laboratory and Magazine Wharves.  Being mult-purpose, the terminals can handle RoRo (Roll On/Roll Off) operations, trailers, containers, conventional cargo and also vehicles.

- Passengers Handling

The entity authorised to operate passenger handling facilities in the Grand Harbour is the Valletta Cruise Port plc (formerly Valletta International Sea Terminals Malta plc) a private consortium mainly made up of foremost local enterprises but also including participation from several international companies.  Valletta Cruise Port plc, the developer and operator of the Valletta Waterfront, took over the responsibility of the cruise and ferry passengers handling services at Valletta Port from the Government of Malta through an agreement signed in November 2001.  The concession is for a 65-year lease period.

- Ship Repairs

Ship repair continues to be one of the major activities in Valletta Port, in view of several ship repair facilities located within.  The main local ship repair enterprises are:

  • Bezzina Ship Repair Yard Ltd. 
  • Cassar Ship Repair Ltd. 
  • Palumbo Shipyards (Malta)


Berthing Facilities

All vessels calling in the Grand Harbour are allocated berths (or anchorage) by the Authority's Ports and Yachting Directorate. Such vessels can use the services of the ships' agents, who are on hand to serve the various shipping lines calling at Malta, offering an extensive range of services.

- Main Berthing Facilities

  Pinto Wharf

Click to edit table header
 Min - Max Depth
 Principal Usage
 307 mtrs (Pinto 1+2)
 8.4 mtrs
 Cruise Liner 
 171 mtrs (Pinto 3)
 9.8 mtrs - 10 mtrs
 Cruiser Liner
 250 mtrs (Pitno 4+5
 10 mtrs - 11 mtrs
 Cruise Liner

  Deep Water Quay (DWQ)

Click to edit table header
  Min - Max Depth
 Principle Usage
 350 mtrs (DWQ 1-3)
  9.2 mtrs - 9.5 mtrs
 Conventional Cargo
 138 mtrs (DWQ 4)
 8 mtrs
 Ro-Ro / Cargo
 74 mtrs (DWQ 5)
 5 mtrs - 7 mtrs
 Malta-Sicily Catamaran

On the quay there are also three transit sheds which provide ample storage space in an open floor area. [Shed1: 1800 sqm (30m x 60m) / Shed 2/3: 5400 sqm (30m x 180m)]


  Flagstone Wharf

Click to edit table header
 Min - Max Depth
 Principe Usage
 217 mtrs
 11.5 mtrs - 11.8 mtrs
 Liquid Bulk / Bunkering

  Laboratory (LAB) Wharf

Click to edit table header
 Min - Max Depth
 Principal Usage
 191 mtrs
 11.4 mtrs - 12 mtrs
 Containers / Ro-Ro / Cargo
 117 mtrs (LAB South 1)
 7.3 mtrs
 Containers / Ro-Ro / Cargo
 72 mtrs (LAB South 2)
 7.3 mtrs
 Containers / Cargo

  Magazine Wharf

Click to edit table header
 Min - Max Depth
 Principal Usage
 225 mtrs
 13.7 mtrs
 Grain / Cargo
With a huge silo capacity of 86,000 tonnes, Magazine wharf is primarily a cereal transhipment facility terminal operated by the Kordin Grain Terminal Co. Ltd. Magazine Wharf is an extension of LAB Wharf and it can handle Panamax sized bulkers of up to 70,000 dwt.

  Boiler Wharf (Senglea Quay)

Click to edit table header
  Min - Max Depth
 Principal Usage 
 383 mtrs
 6.6 mtrs - 8 mtrs
 Cruiser Liner 

- Other Berthing Facilities

Click to edit table header
 Min - Max Depth
 Principal Usage
 Church Wharf
 370 mtrs
 1.5 mtrs - 3 mtrs
 Small Crafts
 Coal Wharf
 150 mtrs
 6.4 mtrs - 6.5 mtrs 
 Ship Yard Repair
 Fuel Wharf
 150 mtrs
 10 mtrs
 Cement Silo
 Gun Wharf
 92 mtrs
 7.4 mtrs
 Small Crafts
 Lighters Wharf
 120 mtrs
 0.9 mtrs - 6 mtrs
 Small Crafts
 Raz Hanzir Dolphin
 80 mtrs
 7 mtrs
 Liquid Bulk
 Timber Wharf
 115 mtrs
 6 mtrs - 11 mtrs
 Bunkers / Tug Boats
 Wine Wharf
 168 mtrs
 9 mtrs
 Ro-Ro / Cargo

The Grand Harbour & Its Environs

 - The Grand Harbour's Breakwater Arms


 - Fort Ricasoli, Rinella


 - Bighi, Kalkara


 - Bighi Bay


 - Fort St. Angelo, Vittoriosa


 - Dockyard Creek / Grand Harbour Marina


 - French Creek / Palumbo SY (Malta) facilities


 - South-West Extension (New Port)


 - Il-Menqa, Marsa


 - Floriana Bastions / Valletta Waterfront


 - Valletta Bastions