- The country is poised to meet its 2015 deadline for the Logistics Hub initiative.
- The Minister pointed to several projects that will be ready for the opening of the Panama Canal in 2015.
- By 2015, at least phase one of the Caymanas Economic Zone would have been ready.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, has indicated that the country is poised to meet its 2015 deadline for the implementation of several critical deliverables relating to facilitation of the Logistics Hub initiative.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, on September 27, the Minister pointed to several projects and strategies that are already on stream and will be ready for the opening of the Panama Canal in 2015.
“We are not starting from scratch…we have a number of pieces of the puzzle already in place, so we simply need to build out the rest of the puzzle. We have two existing airports, the Sangster International Airport is already privatized and is being upgraded to put in a cargo capability, while privatization of the Norman Manley International airport would have been completed by that period,” Mr. Hylton informed.
The Minister added that by 2015, “we would have had to deepen the Kingston Harbour to accommodate larger vessels and privatize the Port of Kingston to allow for investors to come with new capital to modernize it,” he said, noting that both projects are now in advanced stages.
Mr. Hylton pointed out that by 2015, at least phase one of the Caymanas Economic Zone would have been ready and completion of a port community system, which would allow for a more efficient operation of the port and customs facilities.
In terms of education and training, discussions have been held with various tertiary institutions and HEART Trust/NTA to ensure modified and targeted training with measures to be implemented, to ensure that the Jamaican workforce and entrepreneurs can take advantage of the upcoming opportunities.
“We are about to sign an agreement with Panama for them to take some of our people at university level …we have members in the diaspora who are already trained and a number of whom are expressing strong wishes to return home and play their part,” the Minister outlined.
“ I am very satisfied that we will meet the timeline for the opening of the Panama Canal…we are not saying that by that time all the projects will be finished, but there is a core set of projects and programmes that must be implemented,” the Minister assured.
To date, several targets and activities have been achieved, including establishment of a multi-billion dollar private sector infrastructure fund; meetings with investors from China, Singapore, Germany, Canada, United States, Europe, Rotterdam, Kuwait and Dubai; proposals to build and operate Vernamfield airport from Canadian and Middle East investors, and for the establishment of several industrial parks.
The Logistics Hub initiative is geared towards achieving continued growth, fitting Jamaica into the global value chain and bringing significant investments to the country.
The hub will allow Jamaica to capitalize on increased trade flows through the region, as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015.