The Jamaica government, seeking to capitalise on the expansion of the Panama Canal that could result in a shift in global trade, says it has accepted a proposal to position the country as a global logistical hub.
Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister Anthony Hylton said Cabinet also approved the public/private partnership policy, which is critical to Jamaica establishing the hub.
He said the expansion of the Panama Canal will bring about a shift in global trade and increased trans-shipment traffic throughout the region.
"We aim to position Jamaica to take advantage of that flow of traffic," he said, noting that Jamaica is getting strong global interest from the French, Americans, Europeans, in addition to the Chinese and other Asian countries.
Hylton said the Portia Simpson Miller government will not be investing in the project, but would be providing critical support, and that any interested party coming to the table will have to provide "cold, hard cash”.
Chairman of the Logistics and Investment Task Force, Dr. Eric Deans, said the logistics hub initiative represents the next stage in the evolution of the nation’s seaports and airports.
“What we are embarking on is creating world class logistic zones around these facilities, so that our productive sector can be fully integrated into the operation of these facilities and then as a nation, all our industries can become fully integrated into the global supply chains," he added.
Dr. Deans said Jamaica’s transformation requires co-ordinated action to upgrade its logistics capabilities to realise its potential to become the fourth global logistics hub along with Singapore, Rotterdam and Dubai.
The proposed Jamaica transshipment and logistics hub will have six separate but complementary elements that will include the dredging of the Kingston Harbour and expanding port facility at Fort Augusta and Gordon Cay.
Hylton is this week heading a delegation to Panama where he said they will “engage the Panamanian authority, examine a number of their facilities, look at some of their approaches, learn some of the lessons, and (for them) to help us to negotiate our way in this arrangement”.