Sun | Dec 4, 2022

Holness hails Kingston Logistics Park as ‘big deal’

Published:Thursday | August 4, 2022 | 12:13 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) cuts the ribbon to the new Kingston Logistics Park at Kingston Freeport amid a shower of confetti on Wednesday. He was accompanied by (from left) Gloria Henry, vice-president, BPO and logistics, Port Authority of Jama
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) cuts the ribbon to the new Kingston Logistics Park at Kingston Freeport amid a shower of confetti on Wednesday. He was accompanied by (from left) Gloria Henry, vice-president, BPO and logistics, Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ); Gordon Shirley, PAJ president and CEO; PAJ Chairman Alok Jain; and Elva Williams-Richards, the organisation’s senior VP of finance.

The Government is banking on the newly opened US$17-million Kingston Logistics Park (KLP) to boost economic growth as the island positions itself as a global destination in cargo trans-shipment and logistics services.

At Wednesday’s opening of the facility, which falls under the wider Logistics Hub Initiative (LHI), Prime Minister Andrew Holness predicted increased foreign exchange earnings and higher-quality jobs.

“This is a significant investment and will bring more economic growth and job creation to our country for the benefit of our people and it demonstrates us, as a people, leveraging our God-given ideal location and using our natural assets to create prosperity for our people,” he said.

He explained that with the COVID-19 fallout in tourism revenues, Jamaica could rely on the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector for foreign exchange.

“We are trying to develop another industry similar to BPO, but it is a distinct industry in terms of logistics. This is a big step in that direction, in creating a new industry that will create for us a new stream of foreign exchange revenues that will make our economy stronger and more robust to withstand shocks, and that’s why this is such a big deal,” Holness remarked.

The park is located on lands adjacent to the Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited, which serves 12 major shipping lines and has weekly connections with over 100 ports facilitating cargo movement in and out of the region. It is also in the proximity of the other major terminals at the Port of Kingston, including Kingston Wharves Limited, and two of the island’s largest free zones – the Kingston Free Zone Ltd and the Jamaica International Free Zone Ltd.

The 18,000-square-metre modern warehouse was designed to accommodate up to four clients and is tenanted by international and local clients interested in taking advantage of Jamaica’s location and connectivity to the region.

It will also serve as an incubator as its design contemplated international firms wishing to test out the situation in Jamaica, which enables them to establish operations and start doing business quickly.

The park includes a border-protection centre, which houses the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) and the Container Security Initiative, a collaboration between the JCA and the United States government.

The facilities are designed to better accommodate the work of these agencies, which are critical to combating the flow of contraband, arms, and unwanted chemicals and equipment across Jamaica’s borders.

Port Authority of Jamaica President and CEO Professor Gordon Shirley heralded the investment, noting that Jamaica sits directly on the East-West trade route and is the major trans-shipment port closest to the Panama Canal.

“Today’s project launch signals our belief in our ability to catalyse the rapidly growing logistics sector. As we look to the next 50 years as an authority and the next 60 years as a country, we are convinced that the best is yet to come,” said Shirley.