Port industrial park ready to roll - Project tackles warehousing first; investment partners to be sought for other phases
Construction of a modern warehouse constituting the first of a multiphase development of an industrial park by Port Authority of Jamaica is to begin by March at a cost of US$25.8 million ($3.2 billion).
Vice-president for business development at the Port Authority, Edmond Marsh, said the warehouse is to be constructed adjacent to the Kingston Container Terminal (KCT) - now being operated by Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited - in an area called the old zinc factory.
Cabinet having approved the project in late December last year, the Port Authority is now is discussions to finalise the design after which construction is expected to start, he said.
Construction of the 18,000 square metre warehouse "is expected to signal what we think is a very important catalyst for the logistics hub", Marsh told the Financial Gleaner.
"Kingston Wharves is already doing some stuff. They have built a new warehouse and ... these together will sort of help people to see that things are happening," he said, referring to the long-talked-of logistics hub initiative, which will involve the creation of zones, upgrading and further development of ports and the creation of an enabling environment allowing businesses to fully exploit Jamaica's strategic location.
Marsh said the Port Authority does not intend to undertake all of the development on the 80 hectares of land, which the maritime agency has identified as eminently suitable for providing a wide range of logistics activities for both the local and offshore markets.
"We intend to partner with private-sector companies to develop the entire site," he said.
While construction of the warehouse will be undertaken by the Port Authority, "we are now in discussions with interested parties, local and international, to use the warehouse so we don't intend to use it as a Port Authority warehouse. All we are doing is putting up the building and lease it to interested parties," said the business development VP.
Marsh said they are hoping to have the building operational before the end of this year.
According to information posted on Jamaica Trade and Invest website, in an effort to market the project to local and overseas investors, the land on which the development is proposed to be undertaken includes existing free zone sites, an adjoining underutilised aerodrome, and unused terminal expansion lands.
Together, those could be combined to develop and support on or near port logistics activities, said the Port Authority which put together the material for the site.
It said that is in keeping with modern ports, in particular transshipment ports having evolved to include logistics facilities and industrial parks, or near-port facilities to enable a wide range of value-added services to be performed.
The facilities expected to be developed will include warehousing, display, pick and pack, reconsolidation and distribution of cargo.
It will also include sophisticated assembling, postponement, customisation, light to advanced manufacturing, marine services, ship repair, dry docking and chandlery, that is, shops selling nautical items for ships and boats.
The Port Authority said that a preliminary feasibility study on a 10-acre phased development indicated that the logistics activities will in their own right generate incremental cargo throughput over the port in the region of 40,000-50,000 twenty-foot equivalent units per annum in cargo volumes within three years.
It also envisages that increased employment, based on the type of value added activities undertaken, could result in new jobs in the region of 2,400 to 3,000.
Based on the project, local businesses will be provided the opportunity to transition to special economic zone, partner with international firms to provide value-added services, and access new technology and knowledge transfer.