KWL reports $1.6b in profits, announces projects to position Jamaica as major logistics provider
John Myers Jr.
After announcing profits of $1.6 billion, Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL) says it's now focused on what it calls its "Next Step Logistics" strategy which aims to establish Jamaica as a major logistics provider in the region.
Speaking at KWL's annual general meeting on Thursday, CEO Grantley Stephenson said the company's board of directors has "identified multiple opportunities in logistics" that will build on Jamaica’s "advantageous location in the Western Hemisphere and proximity to major shipping lanes, logistics centers like the Panama Canal and hundreds of millions of consumers".
To capitalise on some of these opportunities Stephenson announced two major projects which are expected to modernise and build out the country's logistics infrastructure.
He said KWL would be spending US$30 million to build a 300,000 square foot warehouse in Kingston.
Stephenson outlined that the new complex, to be sited on Ashenhiem Road, will host two state-of-the-art modular and multi-purpose facilities that will include 100,000 square feet of ambient and temperature-controlled storage and 200,000 square feet of dry storage to increase the company’s capacity for storage and transshipment of goods.
According to the KWL CEO, the facility will be competitive with global standards, and will expand the capabilities of Jamaica’s logistics sector, as light manufacturing and more value-added services will be accommodated at the new facility.
The new mega warehouse facility is to be built in the government's Special Economic Zone and would therefore benefit from special incentives and concessions.
Stephenson also announced construction of a pre-delivery inspection centre at Tinson Pen.
The KWL CEO said this was targeted at used car dealers who are now required by the government to conduct pre-shipment inspections on vehicles prior to shipping to Jamaica. KWL is proposing to have this service done in Jamaica at a lower cost to used car importers and to also extend the service to regional players.
"We have set our sights on cementing global standards that drive growth & profitability, and we will focus on positioning ourselves competitively by achieving operational excellence through global standards and complementing our operations with service standards that will drive service excellence,” Stephenson told shareholders.