- Opportunities will be available to local companies, particularly those in the Small and Micro Enterprise (SME) sector, in the much anticipated Global Logistics Hub Initiative.
- The privatization of the Kingston Container Terminal is moving ahead and a concessionaire is expected to be in place by the end of this year.
- The symposium has been described as a demonstration of public-private partnership in support of the transformation of the business and socio-economic landscape of Jamaica.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has assured that opportunities will be available to local companies, particularly those in the Small and Micro Enterprise (SME) sector, in the much anticipated Global Logistics Hub Initiative.
“It will be up to each and every one of you to explore such opportunities,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She emphasized that the openings for local businesses will be “a function of their ability to provide, on a consistent, reliable basis, goods and services of the required quality.”
The Prime Minister was delivering the keynote address at the opening of a two-day Jamaica Logistics Hub Symposium for Jamaican Companies and Investors, being held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston from January 21 to 22.
Responding to questions which have been raised about opportunities which will be available for Jamaican workers, and the fear that the majority of jobs will be filled by foreigners, Mrs. Simpson Miller emphasized that, “relevant skills training, whether it is in the area of logistics, auto mechanics, engineering, information technology, to name few, must become our focus.”
Providing an update on some of the projects vital to the success of the Logistics Hub, the Prime Minister informed that the privatization of the Kingston Container Terminal is moving ahead and a concessionaire is expected to be in place by the end of this year.
She further noted that expansion of the Sangster International Airport and the expansion and privatization of the Norman Manley Airport are proceeding apace.
“We are putting in place an extensive world class road network which will ring the island from North to South and East to West. This is the Highway 2000 network, as well as the North South Highway, which is presently under construction,” Mrs. Simpson Miller added.
She informed that the entire project is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2016, but the section linking Linstead, St. Catherine and Moneague, St. Ann, which bypasses Mount Rosser, will be open by the middle of this year.
“A number of other projects are at advanced stages of discussion. These include the Portland Bight Economic Zone and the Caymanas Economic Zone,” she said.
The Prime Minister stated the Government’s commitment to the Logistics Hub and the prospects that it offers for growth and employment, pointing out that based on global trends, the timing is now right to do so.
She pointed out that implementation of the Logistics Hub should be seen as a process which will be undertaken in stages. “Not everything will happen overnight. The implementation of this initiative is a long term undertaking and not all the benefits will be realized immediately,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
The Prime Minister told members of the private sector that as “risk takers and wealth creators,” Jamaica is depending on them to lead the way in capitalizing on the knowledge that will be shared, and the opportunities that will be discussed during the symposium.
“We need your partnership. We need your best ideas. We need your input and most of all we need your participation,” the Prime Minister said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, also stated his vision for the country to construct a new economy on the platform of the Jamaica Logistics Hub Initiative.
He noted that Jamaica, over the last two decades, has lost its competitive edge in goods production and the Hub Initiative presents an opportunity to arrest and reverse this trend.
The Minister described the symposium as a demonstration of public-private partnership in support of the transformation of the business and socio-economic landscape of Jamaica.
Hundreds of business persons and other stakeholders packed the conference room to learn more about the Jamaica Logistics Hub Initiative.
The conference has brought together experts from the world’s leading logistics hubs, business leaders, and international funding agencies to share insights, provide clarity on related issues, present areas of concern, as well as discuss factors critical to the success of the hub initiative.
In addition, the symposium, which is largely targeted at Jamaican companies and investors, will be exploring the numerous business opportunities available with the hub.
The symposium is organized by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) and the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, in association with JAMPRO and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).