Advertisement
JIS News

Government is moving to establish a Ship Generated Waste Facility for the Port of Kingston as part of its preparations to become a world maritime centre.”The establishment of the facility will add to the Port of Kingston’s ability to fulfil the needs of ships in various ways and thus enhance our competitiveness,” Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill announced, “as well as fulfil our obligations under the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) conventions MARPOL 73/78, which will help to establish the special areas status in the Caribbean basin.”
The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. It is a combination of two treaties adopted in 1973 and 1978 respectively and updated by amendments through the years.
Delivering the keynote address on the first day of the IMO Zelus Shipping Conference, which was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, on November 10 and 11, Minister Pickersgill noted that Jamaica was on course to become the next world maritime centre.
He said that the Government of Jamaica has been putting the requisite infrastructure in place to realise this goal.
“Apart from our natural harbours and geographically advantageous location, there are other factors that help to make us somewhat attractive,” he said.
Continuing, Minister Pickersgill noted that among other things, the country’s legislative framework with regard to maritime issues, significant achievement in the areas of maritime operations and management, as well as “political stability, liberal foreign exchange regulations and the absence of restrictions on foreign ownership of ships,” have all inured to a foundation of the shipping centre concept.
“The Kingston Container Terminal has seen improved efficiencies and productivity resulting in an additional one-quarter million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) for last year bringing the total to 1.2 million. Additionally, we have recently acquired four Super Post Panamax Gantry cranes to boost efficiency and enhance Kingston’s reputation as a major transshipment hub in the region. The projected target is for another 0.2 million this year,” he added.
The Transport and Works Minister also reported that work was continuing on the construction of a Distribution Logistics Centre at the Port of Kingston. The Centre, which was established in July of this year by ZIM in partnership with the Port Authority of Jamaica, falls under a massive port expansion programme encompassing all of the island’s major ports for cruise and cargo.
Although not yet open for business, when the Distribution and Logistics Centre comes on-stream, it will enhance the Port of Kingston’s chances of being designated the transshipment hub for the region, Minister Pickersgill asserted.
The cruise facilities at Montego Bay and Ocho Rios were also expanded under the port expansion programme, and in the near future, should be able to facilitate ships longer than 900 feet, the Minister told the group of international maritime experts.
In addition, efforts have been made to enhance and expand the country’s yachting industry.
“Major investments have been made in marina development in Jamaica, the foremost being the $500 million investment in the Port Antonio Marina complex. The Port Authority also recently enhanced their investment with the acquisition of a US$500,000 marine travel-lift for hoisting yachts into and out of the dry dock, the only one of its kind in the Caribbean,” Minister Pickersgill pointed out.
Having established a solid reputation in the provision of traditional maritime services, Jamaica recently made the foray into the bunkering service following investment by a Greek company, Aegean Bunkering Jamaica Limited.
“This venture has to date been successful, resulting in an increase from one to two specialised vessels being utilised for bunkering operations,” the Minister noted.
Even so, “increasing demand for the services is pointing to the rapidly approaching need to acquire the services of a third vessel,” he added.
The government is also exploring the possibility of establishing dry-docking and repair facilities on the island.
“Studies have shown that we would have success in niche marketing with medium-sized vessels as our target. Our geographical location has contributed to us being the transshipment hub of the region and so we could target feeder vessels as well as those operating in the region,” Mr. Pickersgill stated.
In closing he said that although the foundation had been laid, the Government of Jamaica would “continue to strengthen the framework to guide Jamaica to becoming the next world maritime centre.”
“We intend to exploit the synergies and continue to create the environment that is intended to enhance our already established performance in and growth of ship registration, merchant and cruise shipping, ship management, ship-brokering and chartering, crewing, ship/container repairs, surveys, bunkering, ship finance and marine insurance,” he stated.