Port Authority Announces Extended Opening Hours


The Port Authority of Jamaica has announced extended opening hours at the ports, including weekends, to facilitate the clearing of cargo and to reduce backlog.
The additional hours will be from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays, stripping will be facilitated on Saturdays between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., while on Sundays, the container yard will be opened from 8:00 a.m.to noon.
Previously, the normal workweek was from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., while the ports are closed for delivery on Saturdays and the container yard is normally closed on Sundays.
Additionally, 150 persons will be trained and hired by February and a geographical satellite system (GPS) will be introduced to locate the movement of containers. New traffic measures will also be put in place to prevent truckers from having to turn on the public thoroughfares in order to proceed to the stripping station.
Over the past two months, some 80 persons were hired to assist with operations and there was also a major clean-up of the container yard, Transport and Works Minister, Bobby Pickersgill, said at a press conference held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on December 6.
He noted that while the backlog would not be totally cleared up until some time in the first quarter of the New Year, “we have broken the back of the delays in the delivery associated with domestic cargo”. He said that the backlog had been reduced from 15 to 10 vessels.
The Minister attributed the accumulation at the ports to a 26 per cent increase in business during the month of July, and the effects of hurricanes in the region, which saw the Kingston Container Terminal being used as an alternative stop.
Turning to future initiatives to prevent the recurrence of delays and backlog at the Kingston Container Port, Minister Pickersgill said these would include the provision of an additional 350 metres of space for berthing by January 5, 2005 and the introduction of a notice of intention to collect containers as was done at other ports worldwide.
There is also the intent to introduce a new gate system governing access to the port wherein an electronic gate with X-ray capabilities will be installed. It is expected that this will speed up the receipt and delivery of containers at the gate and dramatically reduce the paperwork that is required of the truckers.
The Port Authority expects that by the middle to the end of January 2005, all the problems would have been overcome and all the challenges and berths will be readily available. The plan for phase five of the port expansion programme which was scheduled to begin in 2007, will also be fast-forwarded.
President of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Noel Hylton, in his address said that there was a reduction in the clearing of containers since the closing of the terminal on November 28 to facilitate the separation of transhipment containers from domestic containers.
He noted that while there had since been no delays in the delivery of domestic containers, there were delays in berthing vessels.
Mr. Hylton listed the ship owners, quality and quantity of cargo and the destination of cargo as being among the factors, which determine the berthing of vessels.

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