Sat | Jun 25, 2022

Letter of the Day | Logistics is important to Jamaican economy

Published:Monday | June 20, 2022 | 12:09 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Recently, we were in discussions with a corporate executive on logistics management and its importance to the Jamaican economy. We were quite taken aback to learn that they did not have knowledge about an existing logistics hub in Jamaica. It is unfortunate that we must admit, this is the case with many Jamaicans. Many of us believe that logistics and supply chain management in Jamaica is limited to the Goat Islands and Kingston Wharves.

Jamaica has been a logistics hub from the days of the transatlantic slave trade. Over the years, we have grown into a country that is recognised for how to implement logistics operations. We have heard of how Jamaica has influenced the logistical modelling of countries like Singapore. How is it, then, that Singapore has outpaced Jamaica in economic growth? We share sentiments with Audley Shaw that Jamaica has a lot of ‘catching up’ to do.

It is our belief that Jamaica needs to become more transparent in its logistical operations. We need to become savvy and more futuristic in the implementation of our logistics strategies to be the top logistics hub in the world. More investment and awareness should be made in our logistics industry, in an effort to stimulate an economic upswing.

TRANSPARENCY IN LOGISTICS

Promoting transparency in logistics and applying strategic operations will maintain the growth of Jamaica’s economy. This includes the management in the movement (flow and storage) within the supply chain of goods, information, products, and services. Transparency limits many risks such as corruption, and limits unnecessary assumptions of the process, cost, time and safety among others in shipping. It goes even further in allowing us to tap into new markets for all things Brand Jamaica to thrive. Improving the country’s logistics capabilities will play an important role in curbing the high crime rates, fraud and corruption that plague us.

Since the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016, Jamaica has experienced a chain reaction of increased trans-shipment within the Latin America and the Caribbean region. The million-dollar question is, what has the GOJ done to capitalise on this? With an improved and efficient logistics hub, Jamaica can be positioned to compete with a robust digital network to support an efficient global value chain. Can the island emerge as a global logistics hub? Today, there are still many who do not believe it is possible, despite the marketing efforts and the vast array of literature on the subject. Logistics is not limited to ports, but the interconnectedness of the distribution networks results in wide-scale national development. Very recently, the Post and Telecommunications Department made mention of its intention to reposition the institution as a logistics giant, despite the rapid growth in the courier service industry. This perfectly reflects the notion that logistics is the lifeblood of all industries.

COVID-19 has impacted production and trading across the world, but even so, small economies like Jamaica have managed to weather the storm. We continue to see increased growth in the country’s gross domestic product. We have adopted to digitalisation to carry out business. There is the emergence of new jobs in the service industry, some of which have the ability to enhance and reshape the way we do business.

How can we deny the benefits that have spiralled Jamaica’s logistics performances throughout all sectors?

SHANAE HARRISON

SHAVONIQUE

MORRISON-SMITH

JHOVELLE HUTCHINSON

KERI-ANN NEWMAN

Students of MSc Logistics and

Supply Chain Management

Mona School of Business and

Management