Jamaica News: The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) has been facilitating investments in the logistics sector in order to position Jamaica to reap significant benefits from this trillion-dollar industry.
Manager of Logistics and Infrastructure at the entity, Don Gittens, said that the global industry was worth over US$5 trillion in 2015 and is projected to grow to US$15 trillion by 2023.
“If Jamaica can get one per cent of that pie, we will be in a much more advantageous position,” he said while addressing a recent JIS Think Tank.
Mr. Gittens noted that significant investments are being facilitated through land, air, sea and infrastructure developments across several local industries and sectors.
Among these is upgrading and expansion of the port of Kingston by Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL), to accommodate larger vessels and equipment.
Activities involve dredging of the access channel, turning and shipping basins, expansion and improvement of the infrastructure, upgrading of the information and communications technology (ICT) facilities and acquisition and upgrading of operating equipment.
“This development project sees some US$700 million in upgrades,” Mr. Gittens said.
“They have changed out the software operating systems to move containers much faster and have dredged the harbor, which means we can take larger ships coming from Panama, which will result in significant investment to improve the overall connectivity of Jamaica,” he noted.
As it relates to air logistics investments, Mr. Gittens, pointed to major projects undertaken at the Sangster International Airport by MBJ Airport Limited under a concession agreement signed some 15 years ago.
He noted that the Government recently finalised a concession agreement for the operation of Norman Manley International Airport.
“We expect to see significant gains from that, also as with the tourism industry’s projection to bring arrivals up to five million. We are very optimistic, as with the movement of people comes the movement of cargo,” Mr. Gittens said.
Turning to land development, he noted that improvements have been made to the road network, citing the highway from Caymanas to Ocho Rios, which has significantly reduced travel time and the movement of goods across the island.
“We are in the process of finalising plans to start the highway from Harbour View to Portland, which will open up St. Thomas and that side of the island for investments, as well as from Williamsfield to Mandeville. It is all about connectivity, the movement of goods inland and the movement of goods from this country to other countries,” he noted.
Mr. Gittens, in highlighting the business prospects that the logistics sector presents, said there is opportunity for the country to “seriously” tap into services such as ship chandlering and home porting.
“So, ship chandlering is the provision of goods to ships when they come here, and, currently, Jamaica has close to 4,000 ship calls per year; and on the cruise ship side, we have over seven cruise ships home porting in Jamaica, that is, the cruise starts and ends in Jamaica.
“So persons going on a cruise may fly to Jamaica, start the cruise in Montego Bay, go throughout the Caribbean and then end back in Montego Bay then fly back out,” he explained.
He noted the potential to increase airlift and visitor arrivals, and for farmers and other suppliers to provide the ships with goods such as water and produce.
“JAMPRO is aiming to have companies use Jamaica as the hub where they land their goods and then we distribute to Brazil, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama from Jamaica. So, this we see as a significant logistics investment and value-added,” he said.
Mr. Gittens further highlighted prospects in the areas of ship maintenance and repair.
He pointed out that the close to 4,000 ships that call at the ports per year will require some maintenance and small repair.
“So, we will need to have that service on land to make sure that Jamaica is a good destination to come to and to ensure that persons do not bypass Jamaica because we do not have that service,” Mr. Gittens noted.
He cited opportunity in bunkering, which is the fueling of the ships. This service is currently being provided by local and international players in Jamaica.
Source: JIS News