The Government is working to ensure that there is a pool of skilled local workers available to operate in the Global Logistics Hub, when it is developed.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, said that the process has already begun to secure this cohort, with a significant training initiative to begin soon.
“We are about to sign a co-operation agreement with Panama and we’re going to discuss a similar arrangement with Dubai in which we propose to send some people …to begin that training exercise so that when we come on stream, hopefully on a phased basis, we will have more and more of our people trained and prepared and ready to participate,” he said.
Minister Hylton was addressing a Trade and Global Logistics Hub Luncheon Forum hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Jamaica on Wednesday, April 17, at the Spanish Court Hotel.
The Government’s Global Logistics Hub initiative is aimed at taking advantage of the anticipated increase in maritime activities from the expansion of the Panama Canal, which is scheduled for completion in 2015.
The Minister further informed that the old Machado building at South Camp Road is being converted to facilitate all local logistics training, adding that the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) is also being expanded “to respond to this (need)”.
“In the final analysis, where the critical skills would come from to ‘jump start’ the process, we’re prepared to embrace that, because…a number of our people (would be) trained so that in the medium to longer-term, they would be running these operations… and that includes our Diaspora, who have signaled their willingness (to offer their services),” he said.
In developing the hub, which will position the country as the world’s fourth node in the global supply and logistics chain, the Government is now moving ahead to prepare the workforce, build out the necessary infrastructure, and put in place the legislative arrangements.
The key elements of the Government’s global logistics hub initiative are: 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 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 the Government intends to grow the Jamaican economy.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter