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Story Highlights

  • Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ambassador Roberto Azevêdo, says Jamaica is well positioned to be at the forefront of transition in the logistics and supply chain of global trade.
  • This, he notes, by virtue of the country’s geographical location, and the quality of its seaport facilities and infrastructure, which are being upgraded to accommodate significantly larger cargo ships, expected to result from expansion of the Panama Canal.
  • The Director-General was speaking with JIS News following a tour of the Kingston Container Terminal (KCT), on January 18.

Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ambassador Roberto Azevêdo, says Jamaica is well positioned to be at the forefront of transition in the logistics and supply chain of global trade.

This, he notes, by virtue of the country’s geographical location, and the quality of its seaport facilities and infrastructure, which are being upgraded to accommodate significantly larger cargo ships, expected to result from expansion of the Panama Canal.

The Director-General was speaking with JIS News following a tour of the Kingston Container Terminal (KCT), on January 18.

Noting that the “world is in transition,” Ambassador Azevêdo said “more communications, more transportation (and) more integration, in terms of trade flows, are going to be the (order of the) future.”

“I think that for a country like Jamaica, for whom trade and shipments are part of day-to-day life, the work that is being done here (at its port facilities) is fantastic. There are a lot of things being done that other countries should be copying,” he added.

On the planned expansion of the Port of Kingston, Ambassador Azevêdo said in light of the upgrading of the Panama canal, currently underway, “I think the opportunities are there (which can benefit Jamaica).”

The Government has signed a concession agreement with French shipping firm, Terminal Link CMA CGM, under which the entity will invest US$600 million to upgrade and expand Kingston Container Terminal and operate it for 30 years, before transferring it back to Jamaica.

This undertaking, to be carried out in two phases, includes significant extension and reinforcement of the berths to a depth of 15.5 metres.

Other notable engagements include the implementation of a Port Community System (PCS) under a Public Private Partnership (PPP), being spearheaded by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA).

The PCS is an electronic platform connecting multiple systems operated by various public and private organizations, as a single shared system, which will optimize, manage, and automate port and logistics operations, to facilitate smooth eoperations.

Welcoming the opportunity to tour the facility, Ambassador Azevêdo said he will be going back to the WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland with a much better understanding of what is being done in Jamaica and what has been achieved.”

For her part, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) President, Diane Edward, who also toured the KCT, welcomed Ambassador Azevêdo’s endorsement of the facility, pointing out that “I was really excited to hear (his) comments.”

The visit to the Kingston Container Terminal forms part of Ambassador Azevêdo’s three-day official visit to Jamaica, from January 17 to 19, at the invitation of the Government.

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