Kingston takes first step towards a dry dock
On Thursday, November 3, Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Daryl Vaz, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation; Michael Henry, minister of transport and mining and Joachim Schmillen, ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Jamaica and The Bahamas, joined members of the Jamaican shipping fraternity as they celebrated the inauguration of a Jamaican-German joint venture. This venture is committed to establishing the long awaited dock yard in Kingston to facilitate high quality ship repair services in Jamaica.
The launch of German Ship Repair Jamaica Limited by its local and overseas-based owners H&P Caribbean Maritime Services Ltd, Jamaica Dry Dock Ltd and Kloska Technik GmbH, took place at a reception aboard the expedition yacht, Hanse Explorer at the JDF Coast Guard Marina in Port Royal.
In their addresses, Holness, as well as Vaz and Henry all agreed on the strategic importance of the maritime sector as an integral part of socio-economic growth for Jamaica. The representatives of the Jamaican Government expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the business venture, which is recognised as one of the primary projects that will help Jamaica to become a highly effective and attractive maritime hub. They all assured that the Jamaican Government will extend its full support to the consortium of renowned German and Jamaican companies with centuries of experience in the shipping and ship repair industries.
The dock yard at Kingston Harbour will be an essential part of an effective and highly connected maritime environment which will provide all the services demanded by the industry in one location. German Ship Repair Jamaica Ltd will take the lead in establishing volume ship repair services in Jamaica by gradually increasing its present activities, spearheaded by Peter Harren and his company, Harren and Partner, which also operates the Caribbean Feeder Service CFS. This model, a private sector company increasing its services and creating a dock yard facility, is basically using the same development route that has proven successful in many other locations worldwide, for example, the Grand Bahama Island in the Caribbean.
German Ship Repair Jamaica Limited will start business with 'wet repair', the repair of vessels while afloat. This will help build the reputation of the company internationally, and also increase the skill level of the Jamaican workforce and technicians, while the company will obtain the required approvals and permits for the dock yard and acquire the facilities.
It is the aim of the prospective dock yard to capture business local to Jamaica from coastal patrol and other government agency operated craft to commercial vessels and other vessels calling Jamaica. Over the past years, the Port of Kingston has had over 2,000 calls per year, with numbers increasing. These calls are executed by approximately 400 vessels. All these vessels are frequently in need of urgent repairs and have to use the services of a Dock Yard minimum every five years to meet standards of international certification. Currently, a significant amount of business goes from Jamaica to the USA, to The Bahamas or Curacao for the purpose of certification and other repairs, and it is anticipated that Jamaica will be able to deliver very cost effective services in comparison. Simply removing the positioning cost alone will provide a margin for effective competition.
Jamaica has in its workforce many of the skill sets required to establish repair services in Jamaica, like welding, metal work skills etc. GSRJ and the Caribbean Maritime Institute, a training institution that already runs courses that are complementary to the idea of establishing modern ship repair services. The CMI has voiced its willingness to introduce specifically designed courses to provide the necessary know-how and generally pursue this goal. In this regard they are already collaborating closely with the staff of German Ship Repair Jamaica Ltd.
The initial target for the setup of volume repair services in Jamaica is to establish wet docking berths for this purpose, a floating dry dock able to accommodate vessels in the 150m-200m range and all the required shore-based workshops. It will be a sizeable facility capable of accommodating all Jamaican government craft, container feeder vessels and a variety of other commercial cargo vessels.
A Dock Yard at Kingston Harbour is therefore an essential part of an effective and highly connected Maritime Environment which provides all the services demanded by the industry in one location.
German Ship Repair Jamaica Ltd is pleased to host this event on the Expedition Yacht 'Hanse Explorer'. The exclusive luxury yacht offers not only perfect comfort and gourmet cuisine for its exclusive small groups of up to 12 guests, it also boasts with highest safety standards as well as the highest available commercial ice-class, which makes it the perfect yacht for exclusive charter tours all over the world and adventurous expeditions, for example to the Arctic or Antarctic. The 'Hanse Explorer' has been chartered by private groups, and successfully hosted film and television crews, scientific researchers, world-famous photographers and renowned adventurers, for example, a National Geographic Pristine Seas crew. The vessel has also hosted scientists performing real-time DNA sequencing, marine biologists, and numerous arctic expeditions.