87,000 new jobs

Logistics hub to bring employment boom

Observer staff reporter

Monday, November 20, 2017

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APPROXIMATELY 87,000 direct jobs are expected to be created if Jamaica's Logistics Hub Initiative is realised, chief executive officer, Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority Dr Eric Deans has said.

A further analysis of the multiplier effect, done by Nathan Associates, a group of economic consultants headquartered in the United States, shows that each job can potentially create five additional openings, equating to an overall 437,000 employment opportunities.

The hub is regarded as crucial to generating higher levels of sustainable economic growth, greater fiscal stability and significant job creation over the next 20 years.

Its full build-out will comprise nearly 3,900 hectares of development islandwide from over US$28 billion of projected investments.

Speaking after the launch of the 422-page Logistics Hub Master Plan and Market Analysis at the Regional Headquarters of The University recently, Dr Deans told the Jamaica Observer that the first phase of the plan has already started.

“The consultants were required to identify existing projects, and there are over $1 billion worth of projects which have already started. So phase one has commenced already; it's well underway.

“For phase two, we're currently doing the Caymanas project and working on the feasibility study which will be completed in June, and then we will go out to get developers and that will follow the development,” Dr Dean said, though adding that this will be driven mainly by the investors who come.

He said that the country stands to benefit primarily through industrial diversification where new industries that were not previously in Jamaica will set up shop, and noted that the country will move away from an economy that is primarily based on base materials, primary agriculture, primary minerals and very low-tech type industries.

“[We will] move towards a very high-value industry in innovation, technology-based industries where our people and the country will be able to earn more. We will be able to fully achieve sustainable economic growth.”

Deans explained that this initiative is also aimed at diversifying the economy.

“To diversify the economy we have to attract foreign investors. These investors trade globally so they need to be able to be located in an environment that allows them to produce goods economically and get them to global markets.

“So, they need to get their raw materials in effectively; we need to have an efficient workforce on technology; for you to do that you need logistics to support that. You need airports, seaports because everything is interrelated,” Dr Deans shared.

This initiative, logistics hub, means creating a set of infrastructure that allows companies to connect to global supply chains. The hubs are expected to feature in 10 parishes.

In the meantime, Government has identified, for implementation, seven key strategic enablers, deemed essential to realising Jamaica's logistics hub.

These are: improving institutional effectiveness; instituting supportive policies, and legislative and regulatory frameworks; enhancing workforce capacity; developing efficient and productive infrastructure; providing efficient transport logistics systems; facilitating sustainable financing; and project promotion.

The enablers, which encompass 65 strategies and 105 actions, are contained in the Master Plan and Market Analysis. This document will serve the developmental road map to establish Jamaica as a global logistics hub.




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