When it comes to its long-ranging and dynamic plans to develop as an international logistics centre, failure is not an option for Jamaica, according to the country’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce.
Addressing the Jamaica Parliament as his contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate and speaking to the theme of Achieving Transformational Growth, the Hon. Anthony Hylton said: “Let me make it clear that, in this mission, failure is not an option.”
During a comprehensive address, Mr Hylton gave details of how Jamaica is establishing a growth and development strategy “that changes our present reality and transforms the Jamaican economy”. Outlining the growth agenda he explained that the core components of this drive are “strategic investments, improving the business environment, macro-economic stability, entrepreneurship and innovation, energy efficiency and human capital development”.
Jamaica has already attracted significant investment interest in its project as it prepares to become the “fourth node” in the global logistics chain, following in the footsteps of Rotterdam, Singapore and Dubai. Minister Hylton said: “The same investors who developed the other three logistics hubs are now at the table with us, seeking to carve out individual mega projects and to acquire and upgrade existing assets through public/private partnership arrangements.”
Minister Hylton said the objective of the Logistics Hub Initiative was to “integrate the Jamaican economy into the global value and supply chain” and pointed out that the Initiative is a “central plank in Jamaica’s overall growth strategy”.
He advised the House of Representatives that the Jamaica Logistics Hub will host a cluster of shippers, freight forwarders and couriers together with large global businesses with substantial cargo flows. Speaking of Jamaica’s “competitive advantage” particularly in the shipping sector, Minister Hylton said the key factors benefiting the Hub were the expansion of the Panama Canal to carry larger vessels and volumes of cargo, the “paradigm shift” in global trade corridors from North to South thus benefiting the BRIC emerging countries, Jamaica’s robust telecommunications infrastructure and the country’s strategic geographical position on major sea and air routes. He vowed the Logistics Hub Initiative would transform the Jamaican economy and benefit its people.
Jamaica has plans to construct an ultra-modern technology park at Naggo Head with 750,000 square feet of space and the potential to employ 13,000 people. The first 100,000 sq ft of space has been booked by a fast-growing business processing outsourcing (BPO) company which will employ some 600 staff in the coming months. Construction is scheduled shortly on 200 acres of land within the Caymanas Economic Zone which will form the first phase of a potential 1,700 acre logistics centre. Further plans are being developed with the Port Authority of Jamaica.
Minister Hylton said: “The Logistics hub will not only bring in excess of $US nine billion and tens of thousands of jobs for our people, especially our young people, but also transform Jamaica’s position in the global economy.”