Maritime partners to expand Kingston Dry Dock

Published: Tuesday | November 10, 2009

( L - R ) Charles Johnston, Kim Clarke

Jamaica Fruit and Shipping Limited and Maritime and Transport Services have partnered to expand the Kingston Dry Dock in Harbour View, St Andrew, with the use of a floating dry dock system.

The existing dock can only lift small boats up to 150 tonnes. However, with the use of the floating dry dock system, large oceangoing vessels will be accommodated.

Executive chairman of Jamaica Fruit and Shipping Limited, Charles Johnston, said the partners have been seeking approval to import the floating dock for some time and is confident that final approvals will be granted soon. "This expansion will no doubt improve the current facilities located at Harbour Head, but will also add to the attractiveness of Kingston as a cargo port," Johnston said.

The system

The floating dry dock system, he pointed out, will be similar to the one that has been operating at Freeport, Grand Bahama, since 2001. The facility in Grand Bahama, is the only such facility currently in operation in the northern Caribbean.

The expansion of the dock at Harbour Head will represent an investment of US$14 million, for the floating dry dock and requisite infrastructure works (capital dredging and piers).

"This investment will increase the ship care facilities available in Kingston Harbour, and better position the Kingston cargo port to compete with other ports in the region, Johnston added.

Foreign exchange revenues

Kim Clarke, managing director of Maritime and Transport Services, said the facility will earn the country foreign exchange revenues, and create specialised job opportunities for Jamaicans.

"The project is expected to create at least 18 administrative jobs as well as another 150 jobs for contractors, skilled and semi-skilled workers," Clarke said. He added that cadets from the Caribbean Maritime Institute will form a part of the skilled workforce employed to carry out the expansion.

Once completed, the improved dock will offer services such as:

Hull maintenance: sandblasting, painting and steel work.

Pipe-fitting and machinery repairs.

Equipment maintenance: includes electrical work and repairs to electronic equipment.

The Jamaican partners are actively seeking international investors for the project.

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