Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Clarendon brought up to speed on hub

Published:Friday | August 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM
State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams.

MEMBERS OF the Clarendon business community, residents, as well as students, have been updated on the proposed Jamaica logistics hub initiative, and the opportunities that will flow from the development.

Presentations were made on the initiative at a forum organised by the Clarendon Chamber of Commerce in May Pen on Wednesday, by State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams; and Director at the Caribbean Maritime Institute, Osric Forrest.

The state minister pointed out that the current business climate reforms, including the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), seek to "attract large global enterprises to benefit from our more competitive position in the global logistics chain."

"We see Special Economic Zones attracting and retaining high levels of investments, facilitating knowledge and technology transfer, creating high- quality employment, enabling seamless integration of local businesses into the global value chains, and stimulating sustainable economic growth, with social inclusion," Ffolkes Abrahams told the audience.

The state minister informed that the SEZ policy framework will result in a phasing out of free zones, to be replaced with a modern regime that enhances the country's economic offerings to local and foreign investors. The policy also involves upgrading of existing legislative and regulatory framework.

"Our confidence of success in this undertaking is based on the solid backing of local and global investors. It is based on our bilateral and multilateral partners, who have made independent assessments and concluded that Jamaica's prospects as a logistics hub are very real," she asserted.

The SEZs are central to the Global Logistics Hub Initiative, as they will link industrial development and logistics services, and facilitate micro, small and medium-sized enterprises participation in export industries.

In his presentation, Forrest told the forum that with the expansion of the Panama canal, and another one being built in Nicaragua, engineering and aviation skill needs will be increased, so persons should seek to get themselves ready.

He also pointed out that several business opportunities in the service industry will be created, with the establishment of the logistics hub.

Jamaica's logistics hub will consist of world-class seaports (handling containers, dry bulk and liquid bulk commodities), airports, special economic zones, logistics parks, logistics centres, integrated intermodal transport capabilities, supporting infrastructure, telecommunications and trade- facilitation mechanisms.