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Story Highlights

  • Jamaica is already experiencing a positive impact from the Logistics Hub Initiative as a result of training and infrastructural developments being undertaken by various ministries, departments and agencies.
  • Logistics Director at the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Gary Scott, explains to JIS News that the initiative is already underway and is being implemented through various thrusts and projects.
  • The objective, he continues “is to get the commodities that are within those containers placed in special economic zones (SEZs), which is where we now hope to start influence more of what logistics bring to the country.”

Jamaica is already experiencing a positive impact from the Logistics Hub Initiative as a result of training and infrastructural developments being undertaken by various ministries, departments and agencies.

Logistics Director at the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Gary Scott, explains to JIS News that the initiative is already underway and is being implemented through various thrusts and projects.

“For the logistics hub, we are expecting that new buildings and new infrastructure will be developed as the logistics hub advances…but Jamaica already does logistics in a significant way with the ships coming into the harbours. They come in, they off-load the containers and they put the containers in another ship and they send that to another destination,” Mr. Scott explains.

The objective, he continues “is to get the commodities that are within those containers placed in special economic zones (SEZs), which is where we now hope to start influence more of what logistics bring to the country.”

“It will mean skilled and unskilled jobs and these are not just logistics-related jobs, but it is going to be the accountants, the maintenance companies, the cleaning companies which clean the warehouses, supply chain managers and officers, and skilled people who can assemble lap tops…so the logistics-centred economy is a journey, it is not an event. It is not that we are going to get up one day and see a building pop up,” the Director says.

He adds that so far, there have been developments with the Kingston Wharves Investment expanding into their own total logistics centre; and there has been an increase in bunkering and ship repair companies in Jamaica, which are all part of what the logistics hub initiative will bring to Jamaica.

Mr. Scott points out that the establishment of Jamaica’s logistics hub is a collaborative effort of the Government, with various ministries and agencies playing their part in the process.

In addition to the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce spearheading the overall initiative, the Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing has been integral in the development of  infrastructure across the island.

“Work on the country’s highways undertaken by the ministry is part of efforts towards the establishment of Jamaica’s logistics hub. The north-south highway, the east-west highway form part of providing our country with the ability to play in the global market and expand the backward linkages, because now it is easy to access varying parts of the island,” the Director outlines.

He says that the Ministry is also integral in the works at the Norman Manley International Airport and the Kingston Container Terminal, which are developments towards establishing Jamaica as the Hub.

“There are plans afoot towards creating a highway linkage from Portland back into Harbour View, which will position areas such as St. Thomas to have Special Economic Zones (SEZs) or industrial parks, because there will be the ability to transport goods in a shorter time back into the airport or to the port. So,  it is very important that our internal logistics is also in a position to facilitate Jamaica becoming the logistics hub,” Mr. Scott tells JIS News.

Another ministry that has been integral in developing the country’s ability to participate in the global market is Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, with the key function of facilitating trade agreements with investors to get involved with the global value chain.

He informs that Jamaica Customs Agency has been introducing the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), a technology-driven system aimed at streamlining and reducing the processes involved in cross-border import, export, and transshipment of goods.

“It (the ASYCUDA) is about improving productivity and making it more efficient to do business in Jamaica, so we are looking at what is referred to as a single electronic window that will now afford our companies in Jamaica to submit one form, one time, and be able to get their permits done from the ministries  or agencies in a more timely and efficient manner,” Mr. Scott notes.

In terms of training, the Director says that through a Task Force headed by Dr. Fritz Pinnock of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), some 34,000 Jamaicans across the island have been engaged and sensitized through ‘Logistics Hub 101’ about the Logistics Hub Initiative.

Logistics Hub 102, an advanced training programme to 101 will be rolled out soon.

“This (training) is an important aspect of sensitising Jamaica to what logistics, supply chain management and global value chain is about, with further plans to introduce logistics supply chain training in Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) as of September 2015,” the Director tells JIS News.

“So, the logistics hub is already here, the thrust now where the initiative is concerned, is how quickly we can expand what is here to benefit the rest of Jamaica,” Mr. Scott says.

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, which is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

Jamaica’s Logistics Hub will consist of world class seaports (handling containers, dry bulk and liquid bulk commodities), airports, special economic zones, logistics parks, logistics centres, integrated intermodal transport capabilities, supporting infrastructure, telecommunications and trade facilitation mechanisms.