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The Kingston Container Terminal will begin providing transshipment services for the Maersk line as at March 1. Maersk is the world’s largest shipping line.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Port Authority of Jamaica Noel Hylton, who made the announcement at the Business Development Forum at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston yesterday (Feb.23), said that the contract would add another 40 vessels per month to the port of Kingston and was estimated to produce 600,000 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) within the first year.
The increased business is being accommodated by the addition of more berth and container space at the Terminal under the fifth phase expansion programme, which is being undertaken at an estimated cost of US$200 million.
“When this is completed, we will have enough capacity to operate for another two and a half years,” Mr. Hylton told the gathering.
In addition, he said the Authority was in the process of planning its sixth phase expansion programme, which would entail the development of property at Fort Augusta.
Pointing out that some 40 oil tankers are serviced and fueled by the Port Authority monthly, Mr. Hylton said the means for facilitating the movement of goods and services must be developed in order to capitalize on the investments taking place in the country.
He said that with more than 90 per cent of world trade being carried out by way of the sea, and container throughput volume estimated at 400 million TEU’s for 2008 and 500 million TEUs by 2014, countries like Jamaica had to take full advantage of the opportunities to benefit from globalization.
He said the Authority had begun to create new facilities to meet the expansion of the global market, with capacity expected to move from 1.5 million TEUs to 3.2 million TEUS within the next year and a half. “The business of moving cargo all over the world is to do so in a rapid way and to do so in larger vessels and people who are in this business of dealing with cargo have to prepare for this new phenomenon,” he told the forum.
The 30-year-old Kingston Terminal is ranked 62 of the world’s top 100 ports, but according to Mr. Hylton, this position should improve to 20 over the next two years.
He noted also, that with the Terminal operating at full capacity at some 1.5 million TEUs, and the tremendous increase in volume 2001 and 2005, it was expected that capacity would continue to increase over the next three years or so.
Meanwhile, he said the Logistics Centre should open on March 1. “They are expected to be at full capacity for March and have attracted business of about 1000 containers per month from China,” Mr. Hylton informed.The facility, he said, stood to be the largest distribution facility in the Caribbean.