Freight stakeholders are urging the Jamaican Government to sort out issues related to intra-island transport of cargo, even as it pushes to make Jamaica a global logistics hub.
Denise Lyn-Fatt of Freight Handlers Limited raised the issue during a Jamaica Chamber of Commerce breakfast forum yesterday, where the guest speaker was Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton.
Hylton and Dr Eric Deans, chairman of the Logistics and Investment Task Force, were presenting the plans to establish Jamaica as the world's fourth logistics hub, following Rotterdam in The Netherlands; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Singapore.
An impassioned Lyn-Fatt pointed out, though, that there were hindrances just to move cargo from Montego Bay to Kingston.
"We are not allowed to move that cargo over land. It has to go coast-wise, which means waiting one week," she said. "That's the kind of bureaucracy we're talking about."
Taking too long
Lyn-Fatt felt some in the gathering who represented overseas companies would want to make Jamaica a hub for their goods, but the hurdles were too many and Jamaica was taking too long to clear them.
"Miami is ready. They have their warehouses, free zones ready. And they are able to take advantage of the opportunity," she said. "We need to be able to move that cargo and move it expeditiously."
Lyn-Fatt said Jamaica had people qualified to do the job, and the stakeholders were willing to work with the Government to get it done.
Hylton assured the gathering the task force was aware of the concerns and noted all sectors, including the railways, would be incorporated.
CAPTION: Ambassador Paola Amadei, head of Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, greets Anthony Hylton (centre), minister of industry, investment and commerce, during the recent Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) Breakfast Forum held at The Knutsford Court Hotel in St Andrew. Also pictured is JCC President Francis Kennedy. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer