Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the establishment of the Jamaica Logistics Hub is aimed at stimulating and sustaining growth in the medium and long term, while totally transforming the country’s economy.
“This is the most transformative economic activity that we will undertake as a government, in partnership with the Jamaican private sector, the global investment community, the multilateral and bilateral institutions and significantly our friends in Panama,” the Minister said.
He was addressing the quarterly luncheon of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Montego Bay, on January 23.
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Mr. Hylton emphasized that Jamaica’s transformation required coordinated action to upgrade the country’s logistics capabilities to realize its potential to become the fourth global logistics hub, along with Singapore, Rotterdam and Dubai.
He explained that the logistics hub was a large cluster of logistic centres, with supporting ports and airports, integrated intermodal transport capabilities, supporting infrastructure, telecommunications and trade facilitation mechanisms.
“As it relates to the business environment, the Logistics Hub will not be successful without a speedy and efficient business environment. The government is committed to identifying the impediments to doing business, reducing red tape and monitoring our progress on the Doing Business Agenda,” the Minister added.
He said that in plotting the way forward, there are other important considerations, such as education, training and manpower planning for the initiative, land reservation and zoning, local and international promotions, public education, public relations and the media, and the critically important legislative agenda.
Mr. Hylton argued that if the appropriate actions are taken now, the logistics hub will become the engine of growth of the other pillars of the Jamaican economy in a sustainable manner, and the country will eventually become the logistics hub of the Americas.
Implementation of the initiative is set to be underway soon in four phases: phase one, upgrading logistics capabilities; phase two, upgrading existing facilities; phase three, attracting top quality logistics providers; and phase four, new infrastructure, which should be on the ground for full take off in mid 2015.
“I am energized about the prospects for the Jamaica Logistics Hub initiative as a truly national endeavour, in which the city of Montego Bay and all of western Jamaica have a strong role to play. This national initiative is more than about the Port of Kingston. It is about positioning the entire Jamaica as a global asset and as the fourth node in the global logistics supply network,” the Minister said.
“This is the big idea that has the potential to transform our economic fortunes and from which present and succeeding generations will all benefit… Montego Bay will not be left out of the development plans, or out of the opportunity to invest in the initiative,” he noted.
The Minister indicated that the Government is committed to private sector partnerships and that all projects involved in the initiative would be going before Cabinet in short order.
“The Development Bank of Jamaica is currently leading an exercise, aimed at proposing the prioritization of all Public-Private Partnership projects and (the) Task Force will be participating in this. I anticipate that all projects will be seen as priority, given the importance of the Hub for Jamaica’s economic future,” Mr. Hylton said.