Fertiliser company Newport Fersan Jamaica will be developing a pier to accommodate large ships as the company looks to overseas markets in search of growth.
Newport Fersan is already testing the waters with a one-off contract for 4,950 metric tonnes, or 99,000 bags of fertilisers ordered by Cuba.
The first shipment of 2,650 tonnes was expected to depart Saturday aboard the Triton Blue, the second will be shipped by October 29, the company said.
"This is a pure Jamaican product being exported, which is successfully competing with other suppliers in the region in terms of quality, delivery time and price," said managing director Dennis Valdez, referring to the deal with Cuba, which he said was valued at CDN$3 million and facilitated by an EXIM Bank Jamaica's Cuban line of credit used to boost capacity at the Fersan plant.
Valdez had told Sunday Business that Newport Fersan is awaiting approval from NEPA to develop its own wharf facilities at the plant's Newport East location.
"We are in the finalising stages to start a new wharf," said Valdez. "The plans are at the NEPA stage now. Once NEPA agrees, we can go ahead with the plans."
Application being assessed
Natalie Fearon, manager of public education and corporate communications at NEPA, told Sunday Business that the application is being assessed.
The company is investing about US$2 million (J$172m) in the development, said Valdez.
"We are in dialogue with commercial banks to seek funding. We will not be seeking government aid. The rest will come from private funding," he said.
"Building this wharf will reduce the cost of doing business since we will have our own wharf. We will be able to do all our operations in our own land. We will be able to accommodate larger vessels. This will represent large savings in freight and charges."
Valdez also said the new pier would also facilitate Newport Fersan's raw-material imports.