JIS News

Work on the redevelopment of the port in Falmouth will get underway next February, in time for the arrival of the new mega cruise liner, Freedom of the Seas, which is due to call in 2009.
Minister of Transport and Works, Mike Henry, told JIS News that “all the things that are necessary, the contracts that are necessary, all the studies that are necessary, except for some little ones, have been completed. Work will start in February and it has to start in February, because we have to complete it in time for the arrival of that 19-storey ship, which is due to come in 2009, so we have to be ready to be one of the ports of call.”
Minister Henry, who was in London this week for the meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), said the development of Falmouth’s port is among a number of major projects, some already underway, which are designed to improve the country’s transport infrastructure.
Others include the development of the Vernamfield aerodrome, the expansion of the Port of Kingston, privatisation of the Norman Manley International Airport, and the rehabilitation of the railway service.
In terms of Vernamfield, the Minister indicated that “the final studies are being done and we have private sector involvement already committed and in about three to four months, we should be positive on the phased development of it,” noting that the project will be undertaken in about four stages.
In the meantime, he informed that the expansion of the Port of Kingston, now underway, will involve the closing of the Tinson Pen aerodrome and the construction of a new aerodrome at Caymanas. There are also proposals for the privatisation of the Norman Manley Airport.
Turning to the railway service, Mr. Henry said he will be looking at how quickly the service can be rehabilitated. He said a presentation will be made to Cabinet next week on the way forward.
“I have identified four other areas of value to the Jamaican railway that is to combine cargo and passengers. We are going to look at breaking out the whole visitor tourist market by different lines being opened up.
“I am ensuring that we register internationally, the accepted logo and registration that identifies the Jamaican railway as being the second oldest railway in the world and within that must be the intellectual rights for the marketing, so I am trying to pick up the value of the railway in many ways and see how on a phased basis, we can make it work,” he stated.

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