Business

ATL unlocks prime properties with Kingston Wharves deal

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, December 22, 2017

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ATL Automotive has signed a deal with Kingston Wharves Ltd to provide bonded warehousing and logistics services for all its brands.

The operation is expected to begin February 2018.

The announcement of the partnership comes days after Shipping Association of Jamaica member company Kingston Wharves Ltd formally commissioned its Global Logistics Centre at Tinson Pen in Kingston. When completed, the centre will span 18 acres in the first phase, with the potential for further expansion.

Chief executive officer of Kingston Wharves Ltd, Grantley Stephenson, has advised that the first phase of the investment will be focused on the auto logistics market for new and used car dealers. Jetcon Corporation Ltd has already secured its space to provide services for the local and regional markets. ATL Automotive will be the next major client to occupy space at the centre which forms a part of the Jamaica Logistics Hub Initiative.

Commercial director at ATL Automotive, Wayne Cummings, told the Jamaica Observer that the company has agreed to lease three acres of land on the wharves. What's more, the automotive company is now planning the construction of Pre-Delivery Inspection facility (PDI) on site to provide initial diagnostics among other services of all its brands.

It means that instead of having the cars come off the ships and ATL clearing them instantaneously, Kingston Wharves will bond the vehicles for the entire period until the duty is paid on the vehicles. Kingston Wharves will also take on the responsibility of moving the cars on site for the PDI process and will also take on customs brokerage, which is new for both companies.

“It absolutely means more efficiency for customers. The intention is that with the buildout of the PDI facility, we are going to be working with Kingston Wharves on a continuous basis; getting all cars prepared, ready for sale and delivery; whether they have been purchased already or otherwise.

“Once a sale is made in the dealership then that car will be duty-paid and taken from the logistics centre to the respective dealership,” Cummings reasoned.

As for the lands across Kingston currently being used by ATL Automotive to warehouse cars, Cummings told the Caribbean Business Report that the new partnership will facilitate the “release of these lands” to facilitate further investment by the Group as it sees fit.

“Today we are sitting on quite a number of parcels of land around Kingston – Oxford Road, Hagley Park Road, behind ATL on Half-Way-Tree Road. These are prime real estate that are being held as car parks.

“I can imagine that other car dealers have the same situation. The requirement to put cars in bond is an important one. If they can be consolidated in a wharf-type special economic zone, and Kingston is not creating any new land the last time I checked, we should as a country look to better utilise our prime property,” Cummings said.

The new partnership will allow ATL to bond 400 vehicles at the facility on a rotating basis.

The automotive company is also looking to employ 20 technicians and a PDI manager cutting across Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Honda, BMW, Mini and Kia brands in its portfolio.

As part of its offering, Kingston Wharves has also spoken to the possibility of bonding and warehousing parts as well as the trans-shipment of cars from Jamaica to other parts of the Caribbean. Cummings said while both are businesses the company is keeping its option open, as further partnership is dependent on how Kingston Wharves grows it business.

“But if the need ever arose for us to buy cars centrally for the BMW operation as we, master dealer for another nine dealers in the Caribbean, we could do it on the facility. The contract was negotiated with that in mind,” he said.

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