By the Caribbean Journal staff
Jamaica is prioritizing the expansion of its seaports, according to Works Minister Mike Henry.
The country is aiming to capitalize on the country’s location in relation to other countries in the hemisphere, especially given the ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal.
“The Ministry is positioning Jamaica as a hub for port activities, especially when widening of the Panama Canal is completed in 2014, which will see significant growth in the amount of cargo handled by our ports and will in turn lead to significant revenue and employment increase[s],” he said.
The major ports on which the government is focusing include the Kingston Container Terminal, Montego Bay and Port Antonio.
According to Permanent Secretary Dr Alwin Hales, the Port Authority of Jamaica recently signed agreements with cruise ship operators, including Carnival Cruise Line and CMA/CGM Group.
“It will involve significant investment and they are still in the negotiation phase,” Hales said.
The Kingston Container Terminal is a “major player” in the regional transshipment market, Hales said.
“The terminal has maintained its commanding position in the region through sustained efforts and marketing,” he said. “We are positioning the port of Kingston to be the primary transshipment location in the region after the expansion of the Panama Canal is completed.”