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Three Miles work hits businesses

Shutdown looms at Texaco Station

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Traffic changes to facilitate road rehabilitation works at Three Miles in Kingston have forced business operators to improve or find new methods of staying afloat, as they seek to avoid a sharp decline in profits from inconveniences caused by the development.

In fact, two companies have already confirmed with the Jamaica Observer about increasing delivery capabilities to maintain their customer base, as frequent changes to access points for businesses has frustrated customers.

Last week, the National Works Agency announced motor traffic changes across Kingston in anticipation of increased traffic flow for the new school year, in addition to congestions already faced by motorist from roadworks.

Motorists travelling towards downtown Kingston were at first required to use either Washington Boulevard, through to Bay Farm Road, and on to Waltham Park Road, and Spanish Town Road; or Olympic Way through Mahoe Drive on to Hagley Park Road.

Last Friday, the agency advised that the Three Miles intersection would be closed to through traffic, restricting access to staff, customers and suppliers of businesses in the vicinity.

“Staff and customers have experienced significant delays in getting to our location — up to two and a half hours. The frequent changes of access points to businesses in the area have caused problems in accurately communicating access routes for our customers, suppliers and staff — but customers can now access our business from Bell Road via Development Road,” Derrick Cotterell, CEO of Derrimon Trading Company Limited, which operates the Sampars Cash and Carry retail business, told the Business Observer.

Sampars operates from seven locations across Jamaica, one of which is located at 233 Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston.

Cotterell added that while the company welcomes the road development project for the Three Miles area, the past two days have proved very challenging for the company with the closure of the Three Miles intersection.

“In order to properly service its customers, Sampars had to increase its delivery capability. We would like to encourage customers to utilise our web store for more convenience and efficiency,” he said.

As a self-service wholesaler Sampars provides basic grocery items, meats, personal care items, liquor, stationery and frozen novelties. In 2016 Sampars' parent company, Derrimon, announced plans to rebrand and upgrade the physical layout of the grocery outlets as well as improve shopping from its online grocery store.

The company delivers islandwide.

Logistics company MD Courier has also been affected by the roadworks from its location at 127 Hagley Park Road. Still, the company has found a way to secure its customer base and is pushing for customers to utilise its delivery service in collecting goods.

“Is the traffic causing delays in getting your packages? MD Courier has a solution! Pay only $300 JMD for delivery services anywhere around the town. Please call, email or WhatsApp us for further details,” the company said in an email to customers.

Meanwhile, fuel supplier, Texaco Jamaica has already seen sales at its Spanish Town Road service facility plummeted by 90 per cent.

CEO for Jamaican operations, Mauricio Pulido anticipates that there will be further decline in sales from the closure of vehicular traffic, making it “almost impossible to continue operations at the location”.

“The on-going bridge construction and road works have resulted in a significant reduction in both fuel and convenience store sales. Customers, suppliers and staff have found it difficult to access our petroleum filling station, being that the facility is located immediately adjacent to the Three Miles roundabout,” he said.

Pulido that the company is trying to adapt to the new reality by concentrating on convenience store sales to pedestrian traffic.

“Although, based on the increased level of construction, pedestrian traffic is also coming to a standstill Nothing we have done or will do will be able to compensate for the massive losses now taking place at the facility. Nevertheless, we understand the need for the new bridge and enhanced road network, and we look forward to seeing the entire project completed on time so we can go back to normal business,” the CEO continued.

The Three Miles closure is expected to last for the next eight months, the NWA says.