Investors have expressed a willingness to pump over US$9 billion in the Government’s Global Logistics Hub initiative.
This was disclosed by Chairman of the Logistics and Investment Task Force in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. Eric Deans, who noted that with this initiative, Jamaica has the opportunity “to attract the best investors, contractors and developers.”
Dr. Deans was addressing a Trade and Global Logistics Hub Luncheon Forum, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Jamaica, at the Spanish Court Hotel, on April 17.
“By attracting businesses to our hub, we will allow them to fully integrate into the global trading system (which) will provide tens of thousands of jobs and in the process we will establish Jamaica as the fourth global logistics hub; the other three being Singapore, Rotterdam and Dubai,” he said.
The Government’s initiative is aimed at taking advantage of the anticipated increase in maritime activities from the expansion of the Panama Canal, which is expected to be completed in 2015.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, has been promoting the Government’s logistics hub initiative through several missions overseas, which has captured the interest of potential international investors who have expressed a readiness to partner with the Government, and invest in the initiative.
Recently, the Minister led a Government/Private Sector mission to the Middle East, which he described as a “phenomenal success”, during a press briefing held at his offices in Kingston on April 16. The seven-member delegation met with several influential players in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, mainly in aviation, logistics and financing.
The Minister has already engaged missions to Panama, the Netherlands, China, and Singapore.
In the meantime, Mr. Deans informed that investors who have responded to the tender for the development of the Caymanas Economic Zone (CEZ) project are currently being interviewed. This process should continue through to next week.
The development of the CEZ is one of several components of the Government’s initiative. The zone will operate as a multi-use facility catering to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT), manufacturing, and agro-processing sectors. Work is scheduled to begin in May.
Dr. Deans said many large companies are looking to establish their regional hubs in Jamaica, and as such, “we’re looking at creating special economic zones all over the country.”
“So far, we have identified about 13, but as more and more investors come in with particular requirements, we anticipate that more economic zones will need to be developed,” he said.
The other elements of the Government’s global logistics hub initiative are: dredging of the Kingston Harbour; expanding the port facility at Fort Augusta and Gordon Cay; establishing a Dry Dock facility at Jackson Bay, Clarendon; establishing a transshipment commodity port facility near Yallahs, St. Thomas; and developing an air cargo and passenger facility at Vernamfield, in Clarendon.
The initiative was unveiled last year and is one of the planks on which Government intends to grow the Jamaican economy.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter