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Ja Producers invests further in logistics

Published:Tuesday | October 7, 2014 | 10:00 AM
Group Managing Director Jeffrey Hall. File
Charles Johnston, chairman of Jamaica Producers Group. File
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Jamaica Producers Group (JP) has deepened its investment in Jamaica and logistics through the recent acquisition of additional shares in Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL).

JP, a founding member of KWL, is now the largest stakeholder with a 42 per cent stake following the purchase of 11.59 per cent of 32.59 per cent shares previously owned by National Commercial Bank (NCB).

The remaining NCB shares were purchased by Florida-based Seaboard Corporation, a global food, energy and transportation company making it the second largest shareholder.

Charles Johnston, chairman of JP, said the move represents JP's commitment to the business of logistics in Jamaica. The "ports and logistics business are good for Jamaica Producers and for Jamaica," Johnston said.

Logistics business

Logistics is not new to the 85-year-old Jamaica Producers that was involved for 80 years in the cool chain-logistics business, successfully exporting bananas weekly to Europe. JP also has a long history of terminal operations (Port Antonio, London and Wales), as well as ship and ocean transportation management. While the company no longer exports bananas to Europe, it continues to supply the fruit to the English-speaking Caribbean and distributes it for sales locally.

Johnston noted that KWL, as the biggest private shareholder in waterfront land, has a strong advantage in the business of logistics.

"If Jamaica can succeed in the international logistics business, KWL is well poised and well placed to play a role in this," Johnston said.

Since the Government announced its plans to make Jamaica a global logistics hub, there has been debate regarding where the investments will be obtained. Jeffrey Hall, managing director of JP, believes that this transaction by JP and Seaboard Corporation is proof that the investment in logistics will be both local and international.

Strategic asset

"JP Feels that KWL has a strategic asset in its 1.7-kilometre berth space and port facility, and we believe that our investment along with Seaboard Corporation, SAJ Property Company Limited, the Portworkers Superannuation Fund, other marine interests and the public, brings together capital and an ideal set of stakeholders to make the logistics business successful in Jamaica," Hall said.

KWL announced in June that it will be investing US$70 million over the next five years to expand its operations in its quest to become the world's leading multipurpose port, consequent to it being granted free-zone status. The expansion will see the introduction of a total logistics complex with accompanying modular warehouses.

Jamaica Producers Group (formerly the Jamaica Banana Producers Association Ltd) is a wholly Jamaica-owned company established in 1929, as a direct descendant of the Jamaica Producers Association formed in 1925. The company was formed with the objective of protecting the local banana industry from demise. It has since diversified into shipping and related support businesses.

Notice

The Port Bustamante Pensioners Association wishes to thank the Shipping Fraternity and friends for their continued support of our 12th anniversary celebrations which was a success.