Port Authority to invest US$10 million in model warehouse for logistics hub
The Port Authority of Jamaica has committed to investing US$10 million ($1.2 billion) in a model warehouse facility for international investors looking to capitalise on trade and business opportunities that will emanate from the country’s logistics hub and the Panama Canal.
What’s more, the Jamaican consortium led by French global terminals operator CMA CGM — Kingston Freeport Terminal Link — hopes to close a deal with a global retailer for use of the facility by mid-2018.
Information about the ongoing discussions was on Tuesday disclosed at the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, but vice-president of business development at the Port Authority, Edmond Marsh, was mum on details, noting that the discussions are at a “very sensitive stage of development”.
The planned warehouse facility is estimated to span 160,000 to 200,000 square feet and will be strategically located at the port for the swift movement of cargo. Port Authority is also in talks with the Jamaica Customs Agency to further facilitate movement of cargoes by international companies.
The development of the facility is anticipated to translate into jobs for the local economy, revenues from taxes to the Government, and will also enhance Jamaica’s ability to attract more global players.
“One of weaknesses we have found is that we have nothing good to show. Apart from what the Kingston Wharves is doing with their logistics centre, there is not much in terms of space, facilities for people to come and look at,” Marsh told the Jamaica Observer, adding that most international investors prefer to lease a building rather than build a facility.
Last month Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL) announced plans to transfer all warehousing activities by August to KWL’s Total Logistics Facility, which is soon to be officially commissioned.
The idea is to create more efficient clearing goods from its facilities, as the company’s work to maintain its position as the leading multi-purpose and multi-user terminal in the Caribbean, as well as becoming the leading logistics provider in the Caribbean.
Kingston Wharves’ next step is that it will be creating a domestic motor vehicle centre at Tinson Pen at Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston, thus eliminating the need for customers to come on to the terminal, other than truckers coming in to collect containers.
Ultimately, KWL hopes to create a one-stop centre where cars will be stored and for customs brokers and others who are usually involved in the clearance process to use that facility. The company handled 31,230 units of domestic motor cargo and 34,637 units of trans-shipment cargo — or nearly 66,000 units overall last year.
The Port Authority has begun undertaking initiatives for the anticipated development of Jamaica as the fourth global logistics node alongside Singapore, Dubai and Rotterdam, with a logistics hub positioned to receive Post-Panamax ships travelling from the Asia-Pacific region.
On Tuesday minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, called on the diaspora to capitalise on investment opportunities in Jamaica, namely the country’s logistics sector which is anticipated to see increased growth over the next few years.