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Work is expected to begin on the Caymanas Economic Zone (CEZ) project by May this year, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, has announced.

This project is one of several elements comprising the Government’s Logistics Hub initiative.

Development of the proposed trans-shipment and logistics hub is being undertaken by the Government in a bid to position Jamaica to take advantage of the anticipated increased maritime activities, expected to result from the expansion of the Panama Canal, by 2015.

Speaking at a press conference at his St. Lucia Avenue offices in New Kingston on Friday, February 8, the Minister pointed out that tenders were invited for the development, and the bids, which were received “from all over the world”, are now being evaluated.

“Once the evaluation process is completed, in time, a decision will be made as to which of the several persons or entities that tendered, will be selected to implement the project. The timeline, given where we are today, and what is involved in the process, we confidently believe that…we would have named the persons by the end of February/ March, and some element of the work should begin by May,” he said.

The CEZ, to be developed on Caymanas Estate lands,will consist of 1,500 acres of prime real estate, of which 40 acres have been marked for the development of phase 1 of an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Park.

The Zone will operate as a Freeport/multi-use facility catering to the ICT, Manufacturing and Agro-processing sectors. It will be the first large scale integrated industrial zone in Jamaica, with particular emphasis on manufacturing, logistics management, transshipment, dry-docking, and services (ICT/Business Process Outsourcing operations included), under the ambit of an integrated industrial zone.

Six other complementary elements of the logistics hub initiative, include the dredging of the Kingston Harbour; expanding the port facility at Fort Augusta and Gordon Cay; establishing a Dry Dock facility at Jackson Bay, Clarendon; establishing a trans-shipment commodity port facility near Yallahs, St Thomas; and developing an air cargo and passenger facility at Vernamfield, in Clarendon.