President of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Professor Fritz Pinnock, says the transformation of Jamaica as a logistics hub has already started. In an interview with JIS News, Professor Pinnock said the transformation is taking place globally and also locally.
“We are going to see more and more of his happening in Jamaica. In fact, it has already started. The beauty about it is that it is happening in the private sector,” he said.
Professor Pinnock pointed out that the recent passing of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act now gives leverage to the establishment of SEZs in the country.
“These are specialised areas in which offshore value added can take place, because it is about the international production chain. It is not defined by geography, so if it comes to our shore it is not about necessarily being in Jamaica, but it is for Jamaica to take part in the value added process,” he explained. “We have to see that globalisation has no nationality, so it’s a new way of thinking. It is for us to see that it is better to share five per cent of $1 billion than 100 per cent of $1,000. That is the mindset as a country we now have to adopt,” Professor Pinnock emphasised.
The President argued that Jamaica has to stop seeing nationalities and start seeing productivity.
He pointed out that there are projects taking place in Jamaica that are testament to the logistics transformation, such as the JISCO-Alpart project in St. Elizabeth, which is an integrated development and for which an SEZ will be established.
“For the first time we are not just extracting the bauxite and selling it. We are going to be producing aluminium here, so this is an industry that requires processes of logistics. Here we are seeing a development around an industry,” he explained.
According to Professor Pinnock, Jamaica is an attractive proposition right now and the international private sector are very interested in investing in the country. “The logistics master plan is now developed and it is time we stop thinking in small silos and start seeing Jamaica as part of the global investment community,” he said.
Professor Pinnock recently announced that approximately one half of the soon to be established St. Thomas campus of the CMU will be dedicated to the setting up an SEZ.