JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Maritime Authority of Jamaica is prepared to receive larger vessels (New Panamax) that are likely to call at Jamaica’s ports following the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015.
  • The Panama Canal Authority is now far advanced in building a third lane of locks that will accommodate larger ships called New Panamax.
  • The new gateway would encourage larger ships to trade with Jamaica.

The Maritime Authority of Jamaica is prepared to receive larger vessels (New Panamax) that are likely to call at Jamaica’s ports following the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015.
This was disclosed by Director General of the Maritime Authority, Rear Admiral Peter Brady at a JIS Think Tank on March 26.

He explained the implications of larger vessels coming to Jamaica. “Panamax are mid-sized cargo ships that are capable of passing through the existing lock system of the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal Authority is now far advanced in building a third lane of locks that will accommodate larger ships called New Panamax,” he said.

He added that the new gateway would encourage larger ships to trade with Jamaica, but pointed out that shipping lines are most likely to enter into trade relationships with Jamaica if they are certain about the clearance, safety, pollution prevention, and inspection procedures.

“We need vessels to come here uninterrupted in a predictable regulatory environment that’s globally recognised so the MAJ, through the Shipping Act provides for that. When the ships are in transit, in Jamaican waters and even while in port, through the provisions of the Port Authority Act, we must ensure that they are operating in a harmonised system with the rest of the world,” he said.

He pointed out that ships are the major carrier of supplies that come to Jamaica. “Ninety-three per cent of Jamaica’s trade takes place by sea and that fits into the global picture whereby 90 per cent of global trade takes place by sea so you can see maritime trade drives the world’s economy,” he said.

Rear Admiral Brady added that the Authority also has the necessary personnel to carry out mandatory inspections.

This he said is done by Port State Control Inspectors, whose targets are set under the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control to which Jamaica is a signatory.

Jamaica’s inspection target is 15 per cent. This means that inspection must be carried out on a minimum of 15 per cent of the ships that call on Jamaica’s ports. He explained that the target is usually exceeded because Jamaica’s own national standards are very high.

The Maritime Authority of Jamaica regulates maritime transportation and associated activities in Jamaica. Its mandate is to, pursue the development of shipping in Jamaica and regulate the matters relating to merchant shipping and seafarers.