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Relocation for Cow Bay?

Plans progressing for logistics hub in St Thomas

BY INGRID BROWN Associate editor- special assignment browni@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, February 03, 2014    

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RESIDENTS of Cow Bay, St Thomas, are nowhere closer to learning whether or not they will have to be relocated in light of the logistics facility planned for the area.

Chairman of the Logistics Taskforce in the Ministry of Industry Investment and Commerce Dr Eric Deans said the project, which is being led by private investors, is now in the due diligence and technical study phase and as such, no final decisions have yet been taken.

"I can't say now [if relocation will be a part of the process] because no final plans or decisions are yet on the table," Deans told the Jamaica Observer North East during a recent Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue offices in St Andrew.

In an Observer article last April, residents in the neighbouring Albion complained that while the industry minister had met with the St Thomas business community to update them on the proposed initiative, they were in the dark as to how the establishment of a logistics operation so close to their community would impact them.

But in the recent interview, Dr Deans said meetings with the community were in fact convened.

"We had community meetings in Cow Bay very early in the process, where we met with many of the business and community leaders and had a town hall session that went on for several hours, where we outlined the whole logistics hub concept and particularly how it would impact St Thomas," he said.

Making the case for Cow Bay, Deans said it has one of the deepest natural harbours in this hemisphere, measuring about 50 metres. That, he said, makes it ideal to accommodate bulk carriers.

"They can therefore accommodate the largest bulk carriers and the economies involved in bulk shipping require you to have very large ships.

"For example, the Port of Kingston is only about 12-13 metres deep, and it is going to about 15-17. However, the largest bulk carriers that carry bulk minerals or liquid products are up to 22-23 metres deep," he said.

Industry minister Anthony Hylton previously said the vision was for Cow Bay to become a commodity port in which "huge volumes of grain and wheat and energy, oil, natural gas can be stored or even processed".

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