Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says Jamaica is well advanced in its plan to expand the Port of Kingston.
The port will be ready to accommodate supersized vessels when the Panama Canal expansion is complete in 2015.
Minister Hylton pointed out that Jamaica is already a major trans-shipment corridor and a leading trans-shipment point for containerized cargo to the Caribbean, North and South America. He said the plan is to expand the current infrastructure and to add new facilities, services and arrangements in order to create a cohesive network of logistics and shipping facilities that will position the country as the fourth node in the global logistics chain in line with Singapore, Dubai and the Port of Rotterdam.
Minister Hylton was making a presentation on the topic: ‘The Panama Canal: Getting Ready for the Caribbean’s biggest Opportunity’ during the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s (JSE) eighth regional conference on Investments and the Capital Markets today (January 24), at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.
The Minister commended the JSE for including the topic on its conference agenda noting that, significant interest is expected on the part of several Caribbean companies in raising capital to exploit business arising from the post-Panamax environment.
“The JSE will undoubtedly serve as a platform for mobilizing financing from the public and thereby supporting the investments needed to support the private sector’s participation in the opportunities anticipated in a post-April 2015 environment,” he stated.
In giving an overview of the proposed logistics hub, Mr. Hylton pointed out that commentators on the project often miss the fact that Jamaica and Panama together form the axis of the global shipping and logistics network.
“The Jamaica project will complement the Panama Canal expansion project in that it will provide a strategic infrastructure near to the canal that enables accessibility to key markets in the North and South America for finished goods and raw materials, as well as other services, including maintenance and repair operations for both air and maritime vessels. A Jamaica hub will also provide easier access to Europe as well as to the rest of the world, including Africa,” he said.
He said the changes expected to come from this new economic growth model will be far-reaching and will constitute nothing short of a tectonic shift in the country’s economic base.