Thu | Aug 6, 2020

Port Authority to roll out warehouse hub for logistics investors

Published:Wednesday | June 17, 2020 | 12:18 AM
Port Authority of Jamaica Vice-President for Business Development, Edmond Marsh.
Port Authority of Jamaica Vice-President for Business Development, Edmond Marsh.

The Port Authority of Jamaica, PAJ, aims in the medium term to lease lots at the Kingston Port to logistics companies willing to invest.

PAJ Vice-President for Business Development Edmond Marsh said at a webinar on Tuesday that the agency would be commissioning a new warehouse hub for private operators to lease at the Kingston Freeport Terminal in Kingston by the third quarter of this year.

“We have made provisions for up to four clients, as a start, to test logistics,” said Marsh.

The new warehouse spans 18,000 square metres of logistics space on the port, spanning 4.3 hectares of land and a warehouse height of 10 metres. Each of the four tenants will be offered 4,500 square metres of space for lease, inclusive of office space.

PAJ will later offer more lots spanning five hectares of land under 20- and 30-year leases with expectations that investments by companies will span US$15 million to $25 million, Marsh said.

Jamaica’s air and sea port facilities accommodate 12 major shipping lines, 2.8 million annual containers, and 400 international weekly flights. Jamaica’s investment promotion agency, JAMPRO, said companies can save 25 per cent on costs when setting up logistics facilities in Jamaica compared to markets such as Miami, due to labour and other variable cost savings.

Speaking at the same webinar, JAMPRO also noted that the search for a manager is soon to be launched for Caymanas Special Economic Zone, a planned logistics facility that has been in gestation for years.

“Ultimately, what the Government wants is a private company that understands management and marketing of international free zones and special economic zones to come in and manage that facility. We are excited about the potential that area holds for developing light industry,” said JAMPRO President Diane Edwards.

A special economic zone, or SEZ, is designed to incentivise trade and investment. SEZ operators in Jamaica get a concession on taxes, paying 12.5 per cent or half the 25 per cent corporate tax rate that normally applies, with the opportunity to reduce the concessionary rate to an effective tax rate of 7.5 per cent, said Edwards.

Government is being advised by multilateral donors on the plan to transform lands at Caymanas in St Catherine to a special zone, and international surveys on the efficacy and attractiveness of the project are now being analysed.

“We are coming close to the point of looking at a request for proposal, for a private-sector company to come in and develop that location,” said Edwards.