The whole harbor area around the center of Valletta is enclosed by a semicircle of densely populated little towns, which combine with the capital to form the conurbation of Valletta.
International shipping traffic mostly uses the Grand Harbor of Valletta, which can take vessels of any size. There are also ferry services from Valletta to Catania, Syracuse, Reggio di Calabria and Naples, as well as to Libya, the main customer for Malta's exports.
The Grand Harbor, modernized in 1961, handles almost the whole of the country's commercial and passenger traffic. . The harbor has an annual turnover of more than 400,000 tons of freight.