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Free zone companies being audited for SEZ status

Sunday, June 24, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Chairman of the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA), Metry Seaga, says the entity is midway through an audit of over 200 free zone companies which are being transitioned to Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status.

Seaga noted that the transition process, which is being spearheaded by the JSEZA, has an October 2019 completion timeline.

He was addressing journalists at the JSEZA's offices on Wednesday where details of Chinese entity, Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company's (JISCO) plans to invest over US$3 billion to develop the Jamaica-Gansu Industrial Park and Special Economic Zone in Nain, St Elizabeth, where it operates the Alpart alumina refinery, were announced.

Meanwhile, JSEZA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Eric Deans, advised that the authority is actively developing SEZs in 10 parishes.

The SEZs, development of which is being spearheaded by the agency, are deemed pivotal to the Government's Logistics Hub Initiative (LHI) that aims to positon Jamaica as the fourth node on the global supply chain.

The other facilities are located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Rotterdam, Netherlands; and Singapore.

Deans said the 10 SEZs include the three largest facilities: Jamaica-Gansu Industrial Park and SEZ, and the Caymanas and Vernamfield Aerotropolis SEZs in St Catherine and Clarendon, respectively.

Other notable engagements under the LHI, he further said, include: privatisation of the Kingston Container Terminal to global shipping line - CMA-CGM - which has completed dredging of the Kingston harbour and installed additional new cranes.

“In terms of their commitment under that concession, they have completed about 80 per cent of the investments that they had promised under that project,” the CEO said.

Deans also highlighted the Kingston Wharves Limited Total Logistics Facility at Tinson Pen, Kingston, which, he said, “was fully subscribed, even before it was built.”

“That project was so successful (that) Kingston Wharves is now going to be building a second logistics facility which is twice the size of the current one… and that facility should be adjacent to Tinson Pen,” he informed.

Additionally, Deans said the privatisation process for the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston is now underway.

He informed that the operators of the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay have completed their master plan for that airport.

The CEO also highlighted a number of business process outsourcing projects being undertaken. Notable among these are developments at: 58 Half Way Tree Road and Garmex in Kingston, and Naggo Head, St Catherine.

“So, when we talk about the Logistics Hub, it's a complex range of things which are happening at one time. We are beginning to see the tangible fruits. But you would recognise and we repeatedly say that the Special Economic Zone represents the heart of the Logistics Hub Initiative,” Deans said.

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