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Opportunities outweigh challenges – Hall

JP CEO says latest acquisition shows commitment to investing in Caribbean logistics

Published:Tuesday | April 27, 2021 | 12:06 AM
One of the five vessels of Geest Line that connects the Caribbean with Europe
One of the five vessels of Geest Line that connects the Caribbean with Europe

Jamaica Producers Group’s recent acquisition of Geest Line Shipping is part of plans to expand its regional logistics objectives.

That is according to CEO Jeffrey Hall who said the joint acquisition with the Seatrade Group is part of its commitment to invest in Caribbean logistics and identifying opportunities to do so.

Noting that the region is “highly exposed to international trade”, Hall said the move – which sees JP Group and Seatrade each claim half of the British shipping company – was identified as a strategic opportunity because of its importance to the region.

Hall explained, “This acquisition is directly in line with JP’s strategic priorities,” adding “We are identifying market leaders in Caribbean logistics and Geest is such a company, and so it is very consistent with our strategic objectives and therefore it is a high priority for us.”

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has impacted the global shipping industry, the executive said it presents both prospects and difficulties.

“Worldwide shipping prices are increasing in line with changing trading pattern. This presents an opportunity for us. In the short term, some tourism-dependent islands in the Caribbean will have challenges. We believe the opportunities outweigh the challenges and this is a good time for us to do this acquisition.”

Under its new owners, Geest - which facilitates trade between the United Kingdom and the Eastern Caribbean ports using five reefer vessels - will continue to operate as an independent company, said Hall, highlighting its strong customer base and “excellent management team”.

“Geest Line is a company with a rich history of delivering excellent service to its customers on both sides of the Atlantic over the last 65 years. We look forward to working alongside Captain Peter Dixon, Geest Line managing director, and his highly professional team in the UK, as we continue this legacy and support Geest’s next stage of growth,” Hall said.

Jamaica Producers owns and operates interests in logistics, port terminal operations, food and drink production and agri-business, including Kingston Wharves Limited, JP Shipping Services, JP Snacks and Tortuga International.