Jamaica News: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says investments being made in improving operations at the Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL) are helping to boost the country’s logistics initiative.
The Government’s logistics project aims to position Jamaica as the fourth global logistics connecting point, comparable to Singapore, Dubai and Rotterdam, to help transform the economy and create jobs.
A key aspect of the project is upgrading of the ports to enable the country to capitalise on increased trade flows through the region as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015.
Over the last two years, the KFTL has spent more than $300 million to undertake infrastructure works aimed at upgrading the container terminal to enable it to accommodate multiple Neopanamax vessels at once.
“It is happening, we’re seeing it. We have a burgeoning logistics industry. You have made a significant investment in a logistic company, which will increase your capacity…generally we are (well) advanced,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Holness was speaking during a tour of the KFTL located at Port Bustamante in Kingston on January 30.
The Government of Jamaica divested the Kingston Container Terminal to KFTL, a local company formed as a subsidiary of global terminal operators CMA CGM Group.
The Prime Minister noted that since the 30-year concession began in 2016, there have been improvements in “the operational efficiency and profitability of the asset for the country.”
“You are bringing in first-world level of management and understanding of the business. Your company is in the top five shipping companies in the world; that is a level of expertise we currently do not have,” he said.
“By virtue of the size of your global operations, you would have connected Jamaica to a logistics and operation stream, which Jamaica would not have been connected to,” the Prime Minister added.
He noted that the success in the operations of the container facility will be an example to follow for future divestments.
In a JIS News interview, Chief Executive Officer of KFTL, Johannes de Jong, said the purpose of the Prime Minister’s visit was to observe the improvements the company undertook over the last year.
“There was equally an interest by the Prime Minister to see where the company is going and where the port is going because it is an integral part of the economy and business in Jamaica,” he said.
Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) President, Professor Gordon Shirley, in his remarks, said the PAJ is aiming to have the ports operate at world-class levels.
“Recently, KFTL has broken records in terms of their productivity at the berth phase. They have hit a new high water mark and they have shown the Prime Minister how that has been achieved. The goal now is to ensure that this can be done on a regular basis so the port becomes one of, if not, the best port in the region,” he said.
In a statement released by KFTL, the company said it recorded its best performance ever handling 3,304 moves within 24 hours of operation, on the Post-Panamax vessel Cosco Beijing , which arrived at the port on January 24.
“This included 1,464 containers being unloaded and another 1,840 containers loaded back on to the vessel,” the statement read.
During the tour, the Prime Minister observed a number of the improvements and additions made to the port including new cranes and straddle carriers.
He was also briefed by the management on the kinds of information and communication infrastructures implemented and the increase in the total number of persons employed and trained, which now stands at approximately 1,260.
Source: JIS News