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Story Highlights

  • Dr. Davies suggested that each entrepreneur “must reflect on what service, what value added he or she could provide within the context of the main operations.”
  • Jamaica’s global Logistics Hub Initiative, which is a core plank in the Government’s economic growth strategy, seeks to drive investment and create sustainable employment over the long term.
  • The proposed development of the Portland Bight Economic Zone, is one element of the initiative, which represents a US$1.5 billion investment by the CHEC.

Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon Omar Davies, says the country’s global Logistics Hub Initiative, specifically the proposed establishment of the Portland Bight Economic Zone, could open up immense opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

While not pointing to areas that persons should focus on, he suggested that each entrepreneur “must reflect on what service, what value added he or she could provide within the context of the main operations.”

The Minister was addressing the opening of Katalyxt’s 2014 Business Development Conference, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, May 15.

“I couldn’t identify for you a set of activities in which you should specialize in; that would be left totally to your appraisal of the market and perhaps more important, it will be left to whether you can produce that good or service needed at a (globally) competitive price,”  Dr. Davies said.

Jamaica’s global Logistics Hub Initiative, which is a core plank in the Government’s economic growth strategy, seeks to drive investment and create sustainable employment over the long term.

It aims to take advantage of the anticipated increase in trade activities as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal, scheduled for completion by 2015.The development of the hub will position Jamaica to become the fourth node in the global logistics chain.

The proposed development of the Portland Bight Economic Zone, is one element of the initiative, which represents a US$1.5 billion investment by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), involving the establishment of a transshipment port and an industrial commercial economic zone.

Dr. Davies said that while employment opportunities will be available for individuals he described as “natural employees,” there are spinoffs from the project that entrepreneurs could capitalize on.

He noted for example, that one of the development proposals for the Portland Bight area, involves the establishment of  a manufacturing facility to construct cranes.

The Minister informed that the world’s largest manufacturer of large cranes used by trans-shipment ports, the Shanghai based ZPMC, is currently exploring the possibility of establishing this facility, which would supply the orders for such cranes coming from Latin America and the Caribbean.

“This company is thinking of fabricating cranes. The natural instinct is to say ‘so they are going to be employing mechanics and  welders,’ but more important, in terms of the impact on employment as well as on earnings, would be the opportunities which are opened up for entrepreneurs,” he said.

Dr. Davies suggested that entrepreneurs could consider providing other services the company will require, if the entity is established, such as accounting and legal services, language translation, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), as well as laundry and personal care services.

He also pointed to the possible need for the provision of housing, transportation and food for workers.

Held under the theme: ‘Business Growth Through Innovation and Efficiency’, the two-day conference was organised by Katalyxt, which is the business development division of Mint Management and Financial Services Limited. The division facilitates growth and development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Jamaica.