Sat | May 26, 2018

Government to develop bunkering industry

Published:Monday | April 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM
A platform is tethered to bunkering company West Indies Petroleum’s cargo vessel at its commissioning in 2015.

Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague says the Government is to aggressively pursue the development of Jamaica's bunkering industry. This, he said, will be done through the facilitation of investment and ensuring that the necessary administrative and regulatory framework are in place.

Montague was addressing the gala dinner of the International Bunker Industry Association Caribbean Conference at the Hyatt Ziva Hotel in Montego Bay last week.

Citing a 2012 Commonwealth Secretariat-commissioned study, he said Jamaica could benefit from the generation of up to 900 job opportunities and increased economic activity of approximately US$3 billion if the country grows its share of vessels passing through the Panama Canal and bunkering (refuelling) in Jamaica, to 10 per cent.

"It therefore goes without saying that any industry such as bunkering, which has the potential for positive economic gains and employment, will be a target for priority action for the Government. We are therefore aggressively pursuing strategies to realise the projected growth levels," he said.

The study, commissioned on behalf of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, sought to identify the potential and the required framework to position Jamaica as a bunkering location in the Caribbean.

"In addition to pointing to the fact that a successful and competitive bunkering hub will have a positive impact on the dynamism of the Jamaican maritime cluster. perhaps of greater interest to this Government is that since bunkering forms an important ecosystem within the wider maritime cluster, it provides great prospects for significant economic impact," he said.