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Shaw favours stock market listing for Port Authority

Published:Sunday | January 24, 2010 | 12:00 AM

In this January 2005 Gleaner photo, four Super Post-Panamax Ship-To-Shore Gantry cranes are delivered to the Port Authority of Jamaica at the Kingston Container Terminal.

The Government is leaning towards floating the Port Authority of Jamaica on the stock exchange to raise equity capital for the over-leveraged firm, while broadening its ownership.

The Port Authority is one of 15 to 20 state-owned businesses and assets up for privatisation or merger.

"We ought to look at public ownership, look at giving a stake of the ownership in the Port Authority to the people of Jamaica," said Shaw.

"Put it on the stock market, and let the people of Jamaica own a share in the Port Authority of Jamaica," he added.

Once one of the high performers of the government public bodies, the Port Authority's profits dipped from $1 billion to a loss of $6.3 billion last fiscal year, some due to foreign-exchange risk, but also due to rising debt-financing charges and falling revenues as throughput declines.

The port's debts are expected to rise to $42 billion this year.