JIS News

Transport and Works Minister, Michael Henry is urging greater effort at maximizing the benefits to be derived from the Kingston Container Terminal’s (KCT) new western berth at the Kingston port.
He stressed that the new facility is a “critical component of the plans to transform the terminal from a leading regional hub port, to a global hub.”
In a speech delivered by Acting Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Valerie Simpson, at the official opening of the berth on July 11, Mr. Henry said maritime, along with air, land and rail transportation, are the four key underpinning elements that will be “holistically combined” to create a “fully developed transportation sector.”
“That synergy would give a substantial fillip to the drive for increasing economic development through manufacturing, distribution, services, and easy communication to lift our people’s standard of living,” he argued.
Mr. Henry said statistics show that 90 per cent of international trade is undertaken utilizing ships, adding that the shipping industry is regarded as the “engine of world trade.” This, he further said, also incorporates the cruise shipping sector, which is often overlooked.
“Cruise shipping is, in fact, a meaningful part of that trade. So, for us in Jamaica, activities in both the mercantile and cruise sector of the shipping industry are of great importance,” the Minister underscored.
Mr. Henry pointed out that the Port Authority of Jamaica, as the government agency responsible for developing Jamaica’s maritime infrastructure, is aware of the sector’s importance. He added that with the requisite effort, increasing rewards should be reaped in due course from the added advantages of the modern transshipment facility. “Already, the expansion programmes have contributed to the KCT being able to maintain its competitiveness and becoming a regional hub port. I believe that the resuscitation of rail transport will also impact positively on operations at the port of Kingston, especially against the background of the Port Authority working towards the establishment of a major logistics centre here in Kingston, as a value-added service at the port,” the Minister said He added that the expanded port facilities, coupled with additional business, which may be generated from shipping lines, increases the attractiveness of the Kingston port, in light of the expansion of the Panama canal currently underway, and scheduled for completion in 2014.
“It is accepted that many more large vessels.will be crossing from the canal’s west coast to the eastern end. It is a fact that Kingston, because of its strategic location, deep water harbour.our stable labour relations, as well as the increased (container) capacity.the KCT is now well placed, with required effort, to secure new and substantial business as a result of that development,” Mr. Henry outlined.
The establishment of Kingston as a major distribution logistics hub for the Americas, he added, would further contribute to the growth and expansion of KCT, providing additional revenue, as well as employment.
The western berth is the fifth phase of expansion at the KCT undertaken by the Port Authority of Jamaica, which has direct portfolio responsibility for the facility. The latest in the series of developments, which commenced in 1994, was undertaken at a cost of US$248 million.
Features of the expanded facility include: an additional 475 metres of berth, with a depth of 15 metres; an extended 65-metre container yard; 10 trailer trains; 976 reefer plugs; six super post-Panamax ship-to-shore gantry cranes, two of which have already been commissioned into service; 24 straddle carriers, already commissioned into service; and one 6,000 horsepower tug. The overall port, situated at Gordon Cay, is operated under a management contract by APM Terminals (Jamaica) Limited.
President of the Port Authority, Noel Hylton said the continuous development of the KCT has transformed it into one of the few terminals in the region capable of handling mega container ships currently servicing world trade. He disclosed that the facility has a current Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) container capacity of 3.2 million per annum.
The terminal ranks 56th on the list of the top 100 container ports globally, a position held since 2005, Mr. Hylton said, adding that the Authority has established an annual TEU target of five million by 2014.
He informed that the western berth has been allocated to the Israeli shipping firm, Zim Integrated Services Limited, to facilitate their operations at the port. He also noted that Zim, which was the first shipping line to call at the port in 1975, then under the name, Zim Israeli Line, has signed a 10-year contract for the use of Kingston as a transshipment port for its operations.
President and Chief Executive Officer of Zim, Goron Goder, commended the Authority for displaying the “courage” to invest in the expansion project, and expressed the hope that the effort would yield the desired benefits and results.
“If you have the courage to put infrastructure in for the shipping industry, at the end of the day, you benefit from that. The Port Authority of Jamaica had the courage to invest a lot of money in building such infrastructure (and) that will pay (off) in the future, because once you have the infrastructure, it attracts the business,” Mr. Goder said.

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