Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Kingston Freeport now ready to accommodate larger ships

Published:Wednesday | February 21, 2018 | 12:00 AM
A section of the Kingston Container Terminal.

Renovation of the first 600 metres of berth under the first phase of the expansion of the Kingston Container Terminal (KCT), being undertaken by operators Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited, is now completed and ready to accommodate Panamax vessels.

Kingston Freeport said the renovations were undertaken on the south terminal and it is now ready to restart operations in that area.

The remaining 600 metres, which forms part of the civil works aimed at upgrading the terminal and boosting capacity, are expected to be completed by the end of this year, Kingston Freeport said.

The renovations, which included the reinforcement of more than 1,200 metres of the south terminal, are among several investment commitments Kingston Freeport made upon assuming responsibility for managing the facilities in July 2016.

These portions of the renovations will be completed a cost of approximately US$150 million.

"Combined with the arrival of new gantry cranes and new cargo-handling equipment, Kingston Freeport is increasing its capacity and ability to perform at the next level," the company said in a release.

With those improvements, Kingston Freeport said it will be able to facilitate larger vessels, which will translate to increased trans-shipment business for Jamaica.

Recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of Kingston Freeport, Johannes de Jong said staff will use the additional capacity to turn the business into a success for the Kingston hub.

He added that "these improvements could not have taken place without the support of the Port Authority of Jamaica and other stakeholders."

The civil works are being executed by a consortium which includes Vinci Construction Grands Projects, EMCC and Sodraco and managed by Egis Ports Consultants on behalf of Kingston Freeport.

In addition to the completion of those sections of the civil works upgrades, Kingston Freeport also completed upgrading of the nautical access in August 2017 after months of dredging to deepen the shipping channel.

Those achievements now enable the Port of Kingston to accommodate, on the newly-refurbished section, Panamax container vessels of up to 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent units, which can now pass through the region following the recent expansion of the Panama Canal.

Kingston Freeport, a consortium of CGM CMA and Terminal Link, assumed control of KCT on July 1, 2016, kicking off a 30-year concession more than a year after the initial agreement was struck with the Port Authority.Under the US$510-million ($64-billion) agreement, Kingston Freeport will finance, develop, expand and operate KCT.

The first phase of the project includes 1,200 metres of berth reinforced to European Union standards, and 800 cubic metres of dredging reinforced to a depth of 15.5 metres to accommodate the Panamax vessels.

The first phase of the project will be undertaken over five years at a cost of US$259 million.

mcpherse.thompson@gleanerjm.com