Chairman of the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), Professor Gordon Shirley, says the agency is fast tracking plans to upgrade the island’s major cruise shipping towns, to enable the country to attract more cruise vessels.
Speaking to JIS News at the commissioning of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Bogue power plant, in St. James, on November 11, Professor Shirley informed that the PAJ is on the verge of completing phase one of the upgrade of the fishing village in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, as well as having advanced discussions to commence work on the neighbouring Reynolds Pier.
The Chairman also highlighted plans to carry out beautification and infrastructural work in Falmouth, pointing out that in a matter of weeks that town will be hosting the largest cruise ship in the world – Harmony of the Seas.
“Our mandate is to upgrade and enhance our port facilities so they can be up to world class standards. There is a lot of competition out there and so we have to ensure that Jamaica is positioned to get its fair share of the business,” he said.
Professor Shirley noted that the PAJ is working closely with the local parish councils to ensure that all permits are adhered to, and that all hands are on deck to protect the national interest.
He said that the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal that was constructed by the American company, New Fortress Energy, at the Montego Bay port, complements what the PAJ is doing, adding that “their work is part of the bigger picture in the development of Montego Bay.”
“These developments – the LNG project as well as our master plan for the city – are being undertaken in a manner which will create a new maritime ecosystem in Montego Bay featuring an array of services to better serve the needs of vessels entering the port, including bunkering and ship supply services, warehousing, chandelling and wet repairs,” Professor Shirley said.
He pointed out that Montego Bay has the potential to be the business hub of the Caribbean, noting that the PAJ is pleased to be doing its part in making that dream a reality.