Turning Jamaica into a US$8 billion trans-shipment hub will do much to improve the island's business environment and enhance its global economic competitiveness — the two goals of the ministry of industry, investment and commerce.
Competition and the ease with which business is done are "critical to the mission of stimulating economic growth and job creation", industry minister Anthony Hylton said at First Global Bank's executive breakfast last week.
The "flagship" project will include the dredging of the Kingston harbour; the expansion of Fort Augusta and Gordon Cay to accommodate a growth in volume of containerized cargo; and the establishment of a trans-shipment commodity port facility near Yallahs, St Thomas and a dry dock facility at Jackson Bay in Clarendon.
"The long-term sustainability of Jamaica's economy lies in its integration with the global economy," Hylton said. "This project will anchor the country's growth strategy [helping] to restore our fiscal capacity and generate the jobs required to ensure social stability".
But becoming a gateway for cargo destined for Europe and the North, South and Central American markets is not a cure-all for the country's ills, he said.
"The impact of this project is to create opportunities for Jamaican businesses across a broad range of sectors," he said, adding that it is critical to growth in the short, medium and long terms and "will allow Jamaica to elevate its role in the global supply chain".