An enterprise team has been appointed to spearhead the privatisation of the operations at the Port of Kingston.
Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, made the announcement on Thursday, March 7, at a stakeholders’ consultation with representatives of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), at Newport West, Kingston.
The Government is moving to put the management of the facility in private hands, as part of activities in the development of Jamaica’s global transshipment and logistics hub, expected to cost upwards of US$8 billion.
Development of the hub is intended to position Jamaica to take advantage of the anticipated increased maritime activities from the expansion of the Panama Canal, slated for completion in 2015.
Minister Hylton said “unsolicited tenders” for the operation of the facility have already been received from several global shipping interests.
“I am in no doubt about who is at the table and who is willing to come to the table… because they understand the concept (of the hub) and share the view that Jamaica will be a major beneficiary of the expansion of the Panama Canal,” he stated.
Mr. Hylton is confident that the requisite investments needed to finance the hub’s development will be forthcoming. This is in light of growing interest and support at the local and global levels.
The Minister pointed out that multilateral institutions, such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the International Finance Centre (IFC), have indicated their support for the undertaking, which is being positioned as a global asset.
“The world recognises it as such. The same people, who invested in (developing logistics hubs in) Singapore; Dubai (United Arab Emirates); and Rotterdam (Netherlands), know the value of this. So this hub is of great interest to the global investor community,” he stated.
Mr. Hylton advised that several countries have also indicated a willingness to “build everything that we need”. He noted, however, that this might not be the best option for the country.
“We have to ensure that these investments redound to the benefit of the Jamaican people and the Jamaican economy, so we are in no haste to respond to some of the entreaties that are on the table,” he stated.