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Malta

Malta is strategically located in the centre of the Mediterranean, just south of Sicily and north of the Libyan coast. The Maltese archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino with a total area of 315sq km. Their total population in 2001 was 394,641.

The largest island of the group is Malta with a maximum length of 27.3km and a max width of 14.4 km. Valletta, the capital, is the cultural, administrative and commercial centre of the archipelago.

Malta ’s central position on the main Mediterranean trading routes have made it an ideal stepping stone between Europe and North Africa. Its natural deep water harbours have been a safe haven for seafarers from the Phoenicians, followed through by the Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Germans, Angovinians, Aragonese, Knights of St John, French and British.

Malta uniquely possesses the oldest man-made standing structures dating to 5000BC , which are dispersed across the whole archipelago and are believed to have been places of worship coupled with an important time measuring device as is construed from the alignment of the altars which indicate the summer solstice.

Malta is a former British Colony and became independent in 1964 and a Republic in 1974. The President is the Head of State and the Head of the Legislature and is chosen by a resolution passed by Parliament every 5 years. The Maltese parliament is unicameral and consists of 65 members, chaired by the Speaker.

Malta 's international airport is situated five kilometres from the capital.

Organisational Structure and Background

The Weights and Measures Ordinance dating from 1910 had only been cosmetically made up over the decades and had insufficient resources supplemented to afford a proper service. Most importantly the notion of traceable measure was absent from the Maltese legal system.

In 2001 MSA drafted the necessary legislation for the creation of the Metrology Directorate within the parent organisation MSA with the remit for the establishment of a legal metrology service and the provision for a system for the maintenance and dissemination of traceable measure, sufficient to meet present local requirements.

Legal Notice 312 of December 2001 established this legal framework for the Metrology Directorate. The new law on metrology which would replace the 1910 Weights and Measure Ordinance was adopted by Parliament as of November 2002. The full body of legal metrology directives was subsequently transposed by December 2002.

National Metrology Services (NMS) is the new body in Malta dealing with Legal Metrology. It is, one of five Directorates within the Malta Standards Authority. The body has full functional independence and its powers have been delegated statutorily.

The Metrology Act (2002) has provision for the establishment of a decentralized National Metrology System. The decentralized model would allow for the inclusion of specialized, accredited laboratories, to be designated as specific National Reference holders. This model is the most appropriate in the scenario for small states were resource availability is always a premium.

Together with the formulation of the legal framework, the development of the National Metrology Institute was undertaken.

The MSA-NMS conducts three primary functions;

  • The establishment of the Legal Metrology Service
  • The establishment of the National Metrology Institute to be the national focal point for the maintenance and dissemination of traceable measure.
  • To establish the environment together with interested parties in initiating research activities.

The functions of the NMS are to provide a range of legal metrology services, which ultimately benefit the consumer and competition in general, and national calibration services in the field of Mass, Dimension and Temperature.

Malta is an Associate to the Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures (CGPM) and a Member of EUROMET and a corresponding member of OIML.

Equipment Subject to National Controls

  • Non-automatic weighing instruments

    • Self-indicating
    • Non self-indicating

  • Automatic weighing instruments

    • Continuous totalising (beltweighers)
    • Gravimetric filling
    • Catch weighers

      • Checkweighers

    • Weigh/price labeller and weigh labeller

Type Approval

NMS is legally responsible for all matters related to type approval, but these will not be executed locally at this time.

Initial Verification

This is to be performed by NMS as prescribed in the Metrology Act (2002)

Inspection and Reverification

A mandatory reverification system operates in Malta, which is augmented by random audits by Inspectors from NMS. These reverification activities are carried out by NMS staff or by trained verifiers licensed by NMS.

Typical reverification intervals are:

  • Weighing instruments: 2 years
  • Measuring instruments for liquids other then water: 1 year

Legal Metrology Practitioners

NMS has 3 employees to conduct the full remit for the National Metrology Institute and the legal metrology service. The Metrology Act (2002) does allow for the setting up of a protected verifier corp which is composed of technical staff who have undergone training in all aspects of legal metrology through NMS and are also licensed to conduct their role as verifiers. The scope of work will cover the instruments covered by a reverification period.

No broader consumer protection function is conducted by NMS staff and verifiers. It is also prohibited that a repairer conducts the reverification process.

Sanctions

Short measures are criminally sanctioned both under the Criminal Code, in certain circumstances, and under the Metrology Act.

Directive 90/384/EEC

The Directive has come into implementation on 1 st May 2004, after having been adopted by Parliament in 2002. The mean gravity zone for the Maltese islands is g= 9798691 mgal with a maximum variation of -187 mgal to +43mgal. However these values are not prescribed by legislation

Updated May 2004