Efforts are being made to provide adequate training for the local labour force, to ensure that persons can take up a significant number of the over 10,000 jobs expected to be generated by the global transshipment and logistics hub development.
In this regard, Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, said the Logistics Task Force has secured broad-scale representation on its Human Resource Working Group, from stakeholders in the Ministry of Education as well as secondary, tertiary and vocational institutions, for consultations.
That group is headed by the Caribbean Maritime Institute Executive Director, Dr. Fritz Pinnock.
Speaking at a recent stakeholders’ consultation at the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), Newport West, Kingston, Mr. Hylton said the Ministry understands the “magnitude of the human resource element,” in the context of the multi-billion dollar logistics hub development, and assured that they will seek to recruit as many locals as possible to fill available positions.
Noting that 70 per cent of the employees at the Dubai logistics hub in the United Arab Emirates are foreigners, the Minister asserted that “we want to train our people to fill the jobs and vacancies that are here.”
“Having a skilled labour force is critical, if we are to achieve what we need to. Other countries have to rely on importing most of the skilled labour that they need for their logistics hub. We want to ensure that we have as much as 100 per cent employment (for) our people,” Mr. Hylton said.
Development of the hub is being spearheaded by the government in an effort to position Jamaica to take advantage of the increased maritime activities, anticipated from the expansion of the Panama Canal, slated for completion in 2015.
Central to the development of the transshipment and global logistics hub are: dredging of the Kingston Harbour; expansion of the Port of Kingston; development of the Caymanas Economic Zone, a transshipment commodity port, and Vernamfield in Clarendon, as an air-cargo and passenger facility; and establishment of a dry dock facility.
On completion, the hub would be the fourth such facility globally, along with those in Singapore; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Jamaica is deemed ideally positioned for the facility’s establishment, based on the country’s location, midway between North and South America, and in relatively close proximity to the Panama canal.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter