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Story Highlights

  • Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, says it is important for the country to position itself to capture its fair share of the ship refuelling market, with the recent opening of the expanded Panama Canal.
  • Dr. Wheatley was speaking at the signing of an agreement in which Jamaica Broilers has sold its Ethanol producing and storage facilities at Port Esquivel to West Indies Petroleum (WIP) at a cost of US$22.5 million.
  • The agreement is expected to lead to an increase in employment in several areas of the industry, as the need to service more ships increases.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon.  Andrew Wheatley, says it is important for the country to position itself to capture its fair share of the ship refuelling market, with the recent opening of the expanded Panama Canal.

Dr. Wheatley was speaking at the signing of an agreement in which Jamaica Broilers has sold its Ethanol producing and storage facilities at Port Esquivel to West Indies Petroleum (WIP) at a cost of US$22.5 million.

This is expected to boost Jamaica’s ability to provide bunker fuel for the international shipping trade.

The agreement was signed at the McCooks Pen headquarters of the Jamaica Broilers Group, in St. Catherine, on June 29.

Dr. Wheatley commended the principals of WIP for completing the deal. He said that for a young and small company to make such a bold move in acquiring the Jamaica Broilers ethanol facility shows visionary thinking, one which supports the Government’s push to create a better environment for local investment.

“We’re seeing a Jamaican company making a bold move and investing locally. It provides an opportunity to fully utilise the production capacity of the country.  It also highlights Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB), another local company which has supported another Jamaican company by providing the financing,” he said.

The agreement is expected to lead to an increase in employment in several areas of the industry, as the need to service more ships increases.

Meanwhile, President of Jamaica Broilers Group, Christopher Levy, said the purchase is a major development for the country and for WIP.

For his part, Director at WIP, Charles Chambers, pointed out that there  is a lack of  bunkering in this region,  and with the recent opening of the expanded Panama canal and the anticipated increase in ships that will come to Jamaica as a spin-off,  the deal is even more important.

“This acquisition immediately gives us the opportunity to provide fuel to cruise lines that don’t take fuel in Jamaica as well as to support shipping companies that have made Jamaica their hub, but which do not take fuel here because of our limited capacity to supply,” he said.

Purchased by WIP are two processing towers, six storage tanks and all associated support systems to the facility.

West Indies Petroleum was formed four years ago as a ship bunker supplier. The company’s primary function is to blend fuel to meet the needs of shipping companies.  It also produces a range of other products, including marine gas oil, and    supplies fuel to ports islandwide.

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