Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, is encouraging members of the Consular Corps to assist in attracting investment from the global trading community, in the development of Jamaica’s global transshipment and logistics hub.
Mr. Hylton extended the invitation during an awards dinner hosted by the Consular Corps of Jamaica for visiting directors of the World Federation of Consuls at the Wyndham Hotel in Kingston on Friday (January 25).
“We know that this logistics hub, will extend the reach and borders of our traditional industries while facilitating the growth and development of new and diversified industries that will move the country further up the global value chain.
We invite your partnership and support as we seek to take our big idea to the world,” he said.
“You can help us in a number of ways, spread the word, tell your network of influencers in your respective jurisdictions that Jamaica is a global asset. Tell them that we are open for their ideas and their investments; tell them that there is a first mover advantage if they move now and if they do so quickly,” he added.
Mr. Hylton said the development of the hub, which is estimated to cost between US$7 billion and US$8 billion, over a five to 10 year period, is being spearheaded by the Government in an effort to position Jamaica to take advantage of the anticipated increased maritime activities, expected to result from the expansion of the Panama Canal by 2015.
The Minister said the development of the hub would make it the fourth such facility globally, along with those in Singapore, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Central to the development are: dredging of the Kingston Harbour; expansion of the Port of Kingston; development of the Caymanas Economic Zone, a transshipment commodity port, and Vernamfield in Clarendon as an air-cargo and passenger facility; and establishment of a dry dock facility.
The Minister highlighted that Jamaica is ideally positioned for the establishment of the hub, based on its location, midway between North and South America, and in relative proximity to the Panama Canal.
He said the island is already a major transshipment corridor and is the leading transshipment point for containerized cargo to the Caribbean, North and South America.
Mr. Hylton said the plan is to expand the current infrastructure and to add new facilities, services and arrangements in order to create a cohesive network of logistics and shipping facilities that will position Jamaica to become the fourth such facility.
“Jamaica’s surplus of professional and skilled workforce will be a primary factor in the success of Jamaica’s logistics hub and the corollary initiative such as the establishment of an international financial services centre. We will also be relying on our robust and expansive telecommunications infrastructure across the island as well as our extensive subsea fibre network,” he added.
The newly elected board of directors of the World Federation of Consuls, a global network of Consular Associations created to support and improve the status, legitimacy and effectiveness of all consular officers in all receiving States, has been in Jamaica from January 23 to 26 for its second board meeting of which Arnold Foote has been presiding over.