- Britain’s Minister with responsibility for the Caribbean, Hon. Mark Simmonds, is on a two-day visit to Jamaica.
- Mr. Simmonds informed that port development was a significant topic in the discussions with government officials.
- Mr. Simmonds described the Jamaican government’s efforts regarding the logistics hub initiative, as “very exciting.”
The Government could benefit from British expertise and financing in its development of Jamaica’s multi-billion dollar Global Logistics Hub Initiative.
Britain’s Minister with responsibility for the Caribbean, Hon. Mark Simmonds, who is on a two-day visit to Jamaica, told journalists in Kingston on November 6, that his country has “significant expertise” in the “construction, ongoing management, as well as the financing of these large development projects.”
Speaking at a media briefing at the British High Commission, Mr. Simmonds informed that port development, one element of the logistics hub initiative, was a significant topic in the discussions with government officials.
“We are thinking about which United Kingdom businesses might be interested in assisting with that when the plans have reached a certain stage. That’s something the High Commissioner (to Jamaica, His Excellency David Fitton) will be following up, and I will be too, when I get back to the United Kingdom,” he informed.
Mr. Simmonds described the Jamaican government’s efforts to “diversify the economy,” through undertakings such as the logistics hub initiative, as “very exciting.”
This focus, he contended, will generate sustainable jobs, “particularly using the very important geographical location that Jamaica is in, as potentially, a hub for the transit of goods throughout the region.”
The Logistics Hub Initiative aims to take advantage of the anticipated increase in maritime activities from the expansion of the Panama Canal, scheduled for completion by 2015.
Jamaica is deemed ideally positioned for this undertaking, based on the country’s location, midway between North and South America, and in relatively close proximity to the canal.
Key elements of the initiative include: development of the Caymanas Economic Zone; 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 trans-shipment commodity port facility near Yallahs, St. Thomas; and developing an air cargo and passenger facility at Vernamfield, in Clarendon.
Development of the logistics hub is a pivotal part of the government’s priority focus on job creation and economic growth. It will see Jamaica becoming the fourth node in the global logistics chain, along with facilities at Rotterdam, Netherlands; Singapore; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Mr. Simmonds, who is visiting Jamaica for the first time, arrived in the island on Wednesday, following a two-day visit to the Cayman Islands on November 4 and 5.
He explained that his visit to the island is aimed at building on the “historic and very positive” relationship that Jamaica shares with the United Kingdom.
Mr. Simmonds is scheduled to depart Jamaica on November 7.