Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says work is advanced in making Jamaica the premier logistics hub in the Caribbean.
He noted that the Special Economic Zones Regulations are now in effect, which are intended to drive the SEZs that are expected to open up significant economic opportunities for Jamaicans in terms of employment-generation, manufacturing, small-business development and foreign exchange earnings.
In addition, dredging of the Kingston harbour was completed one and half months ahead of schedule. This will facilitate the deepening of the nautical access to allow the Port of Kingston to accommodate larger new Panamax container vessels, which will now be passing through the region following the expansion of the Panama Canal.
Prime Minister was delivering the keynote address at the Caribbean Maritime University’s (CMU) inaugural Charter Day ceremony at the National Arena in Kingston on Thursday, September 28.
Mr. Holness said the Administration acknowledges that as global efficiency in the shipping industry increases, the need for specialised businesses to serve the growing demand in the maritime and general logistics sector is also increasing.
He said there is recognition of the need for Jamaica to leverage all of its advantages in the pursuit of sustainable economic growth and development and that the logistics hub sector is one in which Jamaica has comparative advantage.
“Consequent on the island’s geographical location, increased trade through the Panama Canal to the east coast of the United States and increasing trade between North and South America…the development of Jamaica as a logistics hub, therefore, presents a variety of opportunities ranging from the location of distribution centres; assembly and light manufacturing facilities for transformational companies; the establishment of centres of excellence in logistics expertise (among) other areas,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
Mr. Holness said the Government recognizes that the hub is not a confined discrete events or facilities “but the relationships among a range of goods, services, providers and infrastructure that will ensure the linkages for us to succeed.”
“The shipping industry plays an important role in our lives and for it to be safe, efficient, secure and seamless, connectivity must occur across all sectors providing for the movement of people, goods and commodities,” he added.
He pledged that as “we continue to build out our logistics facilities and capabilities, we are committed to a model that balances our development aspirations without sacrificing the environment.”
The CMU Charter Day ceremony marked the culmination of activities for the official establishment of the institution as a university.
These included: the installation of Suapolor of the Shai Traditional Area of Ghana, His Royal Majesty Drolor Bosso Adamtey I, as Chancellor; and Professors Fritz Pinnock and Ibrahim Ajagunna as President and Deputy President, respectively.
Photo: JIS Photographer