The first vessel from the Shipping Line Maersk should arrive in Kingston by the end of March. This was announced on Thursday (Feb. 23) during the business investment forum hosted by Prime Minister P.J. Patterson. Maersk and the Port Authority of Jamaica signed a five year contract in November of 2005 for the provision of Container Terminal Services at the Port of Kingston.
In his remarks at the investment forum, Mr. Patterson highlighted the many positive indicators of the successes of the programmes that have been implemented by the government to attract investors. He said Jamaica now enjoyed a higher level of confidence in the financial markets, as reflected in lower interest rates and better terms for the recent bond issued by the government.
He noted that Jamaica was ranked 17th in the world as a destination for foreign investment and had an investment portfolio of US$3.5 Billion covering the tourism, mining, ICT, manufacturing, infrastructure and educational services sectors. Mr. Patterson said the rise in investments has been supported by infrastructure developments including a state-of-the-art telecommunications sector, roads, utility services and a modern and efficient financial services sector underpinned by a strong legislative and regulatory framework.
Turing to the business opportunities available in Jamaica, the Prime Minister said the country was in an expansion mode with the tourism sector set to be the lead driver of economic activity. As such, Mr. Patterson said the country should see significant growth in several areas including agricultural products and processed foods, manufactured products, ground transportation and tours, as well as entertainment. He said these opportunities were available to business of all size and urged entrepreneurs to position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities that were being created.
CARICOM Single Market, which came into being on January 1 this year, has opened up a new economic space for producers of goods and services, especially in areas where Jamaica has a competitive advantage. The increased market size and the freedom to establish business as well as for labour to more freely throughout the region, would bring exciting prospects for Jamaica.
The business investment forum was organized to sensitize local, regional and international investors to the wealth of investment opportunities available in Jamaica and demonstrate to investors the direct benefits arising from on-going initiatives, including linkages and supply chain opportunities, improved market access and increased employment. It was also intended to highlight for Jamaican corporate entities, professionals, providers of services and skilled workers, the many opportunities that will arise from the advent of the CSM.