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Sugar company to get its own port

Published:Friday | April 27, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer


SHOULD PAN Caribbean Sugar Company (PCSC) get the go-ahead to market and sell its own sugar in the 2012-2013 crop year, the Chinese-owned company will have no choice but to construct a port of its own.

Come next year, the PCSC is expected to be granted agent status, which will give the organisation the authorisation to sell its own sugar. However, with the Reynold's Pier in St Ann only configured to accommodate the current pooling arrangement under which sugar is now sold, PCSC will need to acquire its own port.

"There certainly will be a challenge to export sugar if we only have one export facility," said Karl James, general manager of Jamaica Cane Product Sales. "What we have there (at the Reynold's Pier) is a silo, so once the sugar goes in, there is no way of separating it."

While not wanting to go into any extensive discussion on the company's plans ahead of its acquisition of agent status, Francis He, the PCSC's chief executive officer, said his organisation was making the requisite preparations.

"We will need our own port, and we have all our plans," he told The Gleaner. "The marketing, storage and distribution plans throughout Jamaica are in place, but I will not make a declaration until I get my licence in my hand."

Possible locations

Pressed as to likely locations for the port, should the Government grant them a licence as agreed, He said Montego Bay or Monymusk are the likely areas they would choose.

Prior to the completion of the Government's divestment of sugar factories last year, both private and publicly owned factories pooled their products and authorised JCPS, who markets the product.

The PCSC, however, negotiated with the Jamaican Government for the right to sell its own sugar when it bought the Frome and Monymusk factories.

He said his company pushed for the marketing concession as part of the divestment deal because it feels it can negotiate better export prices in the European market than Jamaica currently fetches.

Ambassador Derrick Heaven recently revealed that the PCSC would be designated an agent under Section 6 of the Sugar Industry Control Act. However, the payment system to be used to compensate sector players is being reviewed.

The PSCS has spent over US$60 million to develop the factories it has acquired. Tractors, loaders, harvesters and trucks have been acquired from China and large sums have been invested in cane planting.