JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica is being urged to intensify measures to market itself as a serious contender in the world of business and investment.
  • Jamaica must now seek to promote itself as an ideal location to do business, so as not to be considered solely as a holiday destination.
  • The call came from Business Development Director, IBM Global Business, Mark Bedeman

A leading international expert in logistics transportation is urging Jamaica to intensify measures to market itself as a serious contender in the world of business and investment.

The call came from Business Development Director, IBM Global Business, Mark Bedeman, on Wednesday, January 22, while addressing members of the local business community on day-two of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce/JAMPRO Jamaica logistics hub symposium at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

He noted that the issue is one of branding and Jamaica must now seek to promote itself as an ideal location to do business, so as not to be considered solely as a holiday destination.

“When I told my colleagues that I was coming to Jamaica, the message I got was, ‘give me a call when you come back from holiday,’ because the presumption is, if I am flying to Jamaica, I’m going on holiday. There is no thought that I am here on business, no connection to business, and we’ve got to fix that,” Mr. Bedeman said.

“The Jamaican brand for holidays is fabulous, it’s a worldwide brand, but we’ve got to create a business brand,” he stressed.

Mr. Bedeman noted that while initiatives are underway in this regard, “we must do more and more. Jamaica must be seen as the place to do business in the gateway to the Americas. Fine, you can have a great holiday as well, but let us think of the strategy around the second brand – a business brand.”

The session also featured presentations from DHL Executive, Gina Gray; Principal of Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), Dr. Fritz Pinnock; and Director of Strategic Initiatives and Business Development, University College of the Caribbean, Lenworth Tracey.

Attending the symposium are key players in the private sector, experts in logistics, investors, government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, as well as a wide cross-section of other critical stakeholders.

The Jamaica Logistics Hub is central to the government’s economic growth strategy, aimed at driving investment and creating sustainable employment over the long term. Jamaica will seek to capitalize on its prime location for increased maritime and aviation traffic through the region, with the opening of the expanded Panama Canal in 2015.

The hub will allow Jamaica to elevate its position in the global value and supply chains, with facilities that feature state-of-the-art special economic zones, attracting major transnational manufacturing and distribution companies. The hub will also present a myriad of opportunities for the growth of micro, small and medium sized businesses, through linkages that connect them to global markets.