Shipping Industry Meaningful Contributor to Economy

The shipping industry is a meaningful contributor to the country’s economy, with Jamaica enjoying competitive but sustainable advantage from its venture into containerized shipping, while having a buoyant cruise industry.
This is the word from Captain Hopeton DeLisser, Vice President for Harbour Services at the Port Authority of Jamaica, as he addressed the official launch of the Maritime Awareness Week Exhibition at the Tom Redcam Library on Tuesday (Sept. 25).
He noted that the country’s strategic location to major shipping lanes, including the North American market, which provide easy linkages to the rest of the Americas, Europe, as well as far East countries such as Japan, “have facilitated the implementation of plans by the Port Authority, which are grounded in a commitment to carving out a niche for Jamaica in the lucrative international shipping industry.”
“In the last financial year April 1, 2006 to March 31, 2007 there were some 4,014 ship calls made to the island’s ports,” he reported.
He noted that the Kingston Container Terminal, Jamaica’s hub port and the centerpiece of the Port Authority’s commercial operations, has grown significantly over the past 30 years and expansion work now underway, will see capacity increasing to 3.2 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) from its 2005 rated capacity of 1.5 million TEUs.
Mr. DeLisser also informed that the PAJ, through its marketing efforts, has been able to attract large vessels for the cruise shipping sector.
“Last year, Jamaica welcomed a record 1,324,000 cruise visitors and since May of this year, the ports of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios on alternate weeks respectively, host the Liberty of the Seas and the Freedom of the Seas, the largest cruise ships in regular service,” he informed.
Mr. DeLisser said that as with other areas of economic activity, more scrutiny is being placed on the impact of new developments on the environment, but assured that, “in its role of developer of the ports, the Port Authority of Jamaica is cognizant of and committed to the need to ensure that developments undertaken. in as far as possible to obviate the introduction of avenues of pollution.”
He posited that the PAJ commissions professional Environment Impact Assessments and submits these to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) “as part of the effort to which the shipping fraternity as a whole is committed to ensuring sustainable development.”
The maritime industry is observing Maritime Awareness Week from September 23-29 under the theme: ‘Jamaica’s Maritime Industry: Responding to Environmental Challenges’. Thursday, September 27 has been designated as Maritime Awareness Day.

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