Above: the port of Kingston
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The development of Jamaica as a global logistics hub could mean a 17 percent bump in GDP over the next six to eight years, according to Industry Minister Anthony Hylton.
The figures were baseline estimates from the Planning Institute of Jamaica, he said this week.
Jamaica’s cabinet has now approved the development of the hub, and charged a Logistics and Investment Task Force to implement the plan.
Dr Eric Deans, the chairman of the task force, said Jamaica is in the middle of an 800-million-person market, one that includes the United States and Brazil.
“The trade opportunities are about to expand exponentially with the expansion of the Panama Canal, and also with the 2014 World Cup being held in Brazil and the Summer Olympics in 2016,” Deans said. “There is a stimulus package of $880 billion by the Brazilian government to improve their infrastructure, which will result in quite a lot of movement in goods which we can tap into.”
Of that funding, $26 billion is logistics-related activity that flows by Jamaica.
“From a maritime perspective, we can reach all the destinations in two to three days,” he said. “What that does is, it opens up the 600,000 manufacturers in China and the others in the Asia Pacific region to the Jamaican market in a very short and efficient way.”
In order to achieve that, however, it will require a strengthened public-private partnership, he said.
“Our existing facilities need some amount of upgrading to improve their performance, and it will also require, very critically, broadening the private sector participation,” he said. “Our objective is not just to stimulate growth in the economy but to totally transform the Jamaican economy.”
Jamaica currently ranks 124th out of 155 countries on the Logistics Performance Index.