Planned KWL logistics facility already needs more space to meet demand

Planned KWL logistics facility already needs more space to meet demand

Friday, October 24, 2014

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KINGSTON Wharves Limited's (KWL's) planned Total Logistics Facility already has far more applicants for space than the square footage that will become available when construction is completed at the end of 2015.

Chairman and CEO of KWL, Grantley Stephenson, believes that the over-subscription for space is "a sign of confidence in the logistics hub initiative".

Strategically, KWL began meeting with international freight companies to fill the facility from early in its conceptual stage, which has largely driven the level of interest that they have gotten.

"We have a lot of customers who have already expressed their interest in filling the space," Stephenson told the Jamaica Observer.

Customers are expected to begin operating from what is expected to be "a modern 24-hour logistics complex with modular warehouse space" in January 2016, which is less than a month after its scheduled December 2015 completion.

The cargo handler is investing US$20 million ($2.2 billion) in the construction of the facility which represents the first of a series of infrastructural investments under the national logistics hub initiative.

Stephenson reckons that, "Customers are lining up to fill the space" because Jamaica's location in the centre of a hemisphere with 800 million people makes the facility ideal for "just-in-time shipping," which is a new trend in global logistics.

The facility will allow KWL to modify shipped items -- ranging from small appliances to motor vehicles -- repackage and ship to regional destinations, creating more value-added services to the operations of the cargo handler.

Conceivably, large stores with multiple locations like Walmart, will be able to order a container filled with the same item from China and have it shipped to Jamaica.

Each container can then be repackaged in Jamaica, with the precise mix of items required by each store and sent directly to them, thus eliminating the need for prolonged storage of excess items.

This is a relatively labour intensive process and is expected to create direct employment for 150 persons.

The construction of the warehouse facility represents the first step in phase one the national logistics development project.

KWL says this major investment in infrastructure is a game-changer for shipping and logistics businesses in Jamaica and forms part of the company's overall $7 billion slate of plans for expansion to be rolled out over the next five years.

The acquisition of gantry cranes, the closure of Third Street, the relocation of Berth 7 warehouse to a newly refurbished facility, the relocation of trans-shipment and domestic car parks, and the demolition of on-dock warehouse and operational buildings is expected
to follow shortly.

The second phase will see KWL making further preparation for the handling of larger post-Panamax vessels by extending the berth by 50 feet, dredging along the berth to over 15 metres, along with the installation of new cranes and, finally, the expansion of the port and motor vehicle transshipment operations to drive TEU throughput.

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