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Shipping associations calls for info on Kingston Terminal divestment negotiations

Published:Monday | February 23, 2015 | 4:37 PM

The Shipping Association of Jamaica says it is concerned about the missed deadlines to divest the Kingston Container Terminal and is demanding that the Government provide an update on current negotiations.

In a statement this morning, the association said it shares the concerns of workers regarding what it calls the lack of information about the divestment process.

The shipping association says it appreciates the need for confidentiality but the authorities should be reminded that there is a need for transparency at least in establishing the minimum conditions of sale.

It adds that it would not support what’s called a fire sale, which valued the port without due recognition of its importance in the global supply chain.

A fire sale is the sale of goods at extremely discounted prices, typically when the seller faces bankruptcy or other impending distress.

The Shipping Association says without having details of what has been offered, there are fears the sale of the KCT on unfavourable terms may fail to contribute meaningfully to the Government’s aim of expanding the shipping and logistics industries. 

The association argues that there is no conflict between maintaining secrecy and advising the nation of the minimum conditions that the country should expect in divestment of a prime strategic asset.

It also says Jamaica needs to be reassured that any agreement for sale will treat the Jamaican private investors in public wharves the same as the proposed foreign terminal operator.

Last October, Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies announced that a team led by former central bank governor Derrick Latibeaudere was negotiating with, Terminal Link Consortium, the provisional preferred bidder in relation to the Kingston Container Terminal.

At the time, he said he was giving the negotiation team one month to determine if an agreement can be reached with the consortium.