Sat | Aug 19, 2017

PNP pleased with port expansion project

Published:Friday | June 2, 2017 | 6:00 AMChristopher Serju
Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips gets a helping hand from a crew member as he makes his way from a tug board onto the cutter suction dredger operating on Gordon Cay, during Wednesday's tour of port expansion operations at Kingston Freeport Terminal.

The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) is committed to ensuring that Jamaicans get an appreciation of the full value of the US$456 million port expansion project being undertaken at the Kingston Freeport Terminal and its overall benefits to national development.

"Quite frankly, this is very heartening," PNP president Dr Peter Phillips told The Gleaner after Wednesday's tour by members of the party executive.

"We have certainly indicated our own willingness to cooperate with this venture, to mobilise support as may be necessary among other stakeholders to get workers adequately trained, to ensure that there is public support and understanding of the requirements of participation in the modern global economic arrangements, and to do other things by ensuring that the communities in the areas also get direct benefit through training initiatives, employment possibilities, not only in the port operations itself but in the additional logistics operations which should grow up around the port."

 

PROJECTS PNP STARTED

 

The tour by the PNP team is the latest in a series of visits to projects started under its administration, which ended when the Jamaica Labour Party swept the national polls on February 25 last year.

"The extent of the investment has generated much improvement in the operation of the port, which is visible," Phillips admitted. "There is assurance, I think, that some time next year, we'll be able to accommodate the biggest post-Panamex (cargo) vessels, and there is potential for huge expansion in the number of containers processed throughout this port. This will result also in expanded employment for people, which is ultimately what we want."

Meanwhile, Olivier Tretout, chief executive officer of the Kingston Terminal Limited - a subsidiary of the CMA CGM Group, which is undertaking the port development project - disclosed that already the port was enjoying greater productivity from its initial investment in worker training as well as state-of-the-art equipment. The French company, he said, is on track to achieving its goals, consistent with the long-term plan to give the Kingston port the competitive edge it must have to become a major player in the global maritime industry.

To this end, it is pursuing strategic alliances that will significantly add to the marketability of the Jamaican facility, which will move to leverage at the appropriate time to ensure maximum value on the investment.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com