Plans for Jamaica to become a major transshipment and logistics centre have been significantly expanded with a further US$1.5 billion investment from the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).
Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, made the disclosure during his opening presentation in the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 7.
“This development has the potential to have a significant impact on the future of the Jamaican economy,” he stated.
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Dr. Davies informed that the project will see the establishment of a transshipment port, the construction of various manufacturing facilities, the development of a major IT facility, the development of a cement plant and the possible development of a power plant to provide electricity to the industrial complex.
The development is also expected to result in the employment of 2,000 construction workers to be followed by over 10,000 permanent jobs, most of which will require high-level skills.
The Minister also noted that the extension to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which has been signed by CHEC and the Port Authority of Jamaica, will last for another year to allow for all the relevant studies to be conducted, including environmental assessments.
He said the project will be a direct investment of CHEC and its parent company, China Construction and Communications Company (CCCC).
“The administration is extremely excited about the prospects for this massive investment plan and we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that it materialises,” he said.
In the meantime, Dr. Davies explained that given the range of the planned project, the investors are now seeking a much larger location than Fort Augusta. The new site, he said, must be in excess of 6,000 acres.
He said the government will ensure that all the required environmental impact assessments for the initiative are carried out, noting that no aspect of the development will be carried out without full authorisation from the various regulatory authorities, in particular, the National Environment and Planning Agency.
Furthermore, Dr. Davies said the government will be working closely with CHEC to ensure that all preliminary work is completed within a year, leading to actual developmental work beginning in fiscal year 2014/2015.
Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Baker