There has been an overwhelming response to the Government’s tender for the development of the Caymanas Economic Zone.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the reaction to the first offer is such that the Government can go ahead with the project.
“The response has come from all over the world and is at a level that we don’t need to re-tender. What we have on the table is sufficiently exciting that we need to just proceed to get it done,” Minister Hylton discloses.
He states that the tremendous response confirms that “we have a world class project that everybody is interested in”.
Minister Hylton was addressing business persons at a St. Thomas Chamber of Commerce forum on the Jamaica Logistics Hub Initiative, held recently at the Whispering Bamboo Cove Resort in Retreat in the parish.
He informed that Jamaican investors are among the bidders who are being evaluated. He said he expects that the results from the bids will be announced within the next two weeks, with Cabinet to be informed in the first instance. Work is scheduled to begin in May.
The development of the Caymanas Economic Zone is one of several components of the Government’s Global Logistics Hub project, which is aimed at taking advantage of the anticipated increase in maritime activities from the widening of the Panama Canal, which is expected to be completed in 2015. The zone will operate as a multi-use facility catering to the Information Communication Technology (ICT), manufacturing, and agro-processing sectors.
The other elements of the project are: dredging of the Kingston Harbour; expanding port facility at Fort Augusta and Gordon Cay; establishing a Dry Dock facility at Jackson Bay, Clarendon; establishing a transshipment commodity port facility near Yallahs, St. Thomas; and developing an air cargo and passenger facility at Vernamfield, in Clarendon.
Minister Hylton said that by April 2015, the Caymanas Economic Zone must be up and functioning, the Port of Kingston must be dredged to the extended depth to receive the Super Panamax vessels; and the Port of Kingston must be expanded and modernised.
This will ensure that the vessels can call on Jamaica and the containers can be transferred across the port to other vessels or go into the logistics centre.
The Global Logistics Hub project was unveiled last year and is one of the planks on which Government intends to grow the Jamaican economy.
By Andrea Braham, JIS Reporter