Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL) will soon be able to accommodate two super post-Panamax vessels at the same time. This follows the implementation of expansion and capacity-building initiatives valued at US$60 million. The investment, which includes three initiatives, supports KWL's thrust to establish Jamaica as a global logistics hub, a feat which CEO Mark Williams said the company is well on its way to achieving.
“Right now Kingston Wharves is the regional hub for one of the largest auto liner in the world in fact we moved over 150,000 car units last year. 70-80 per cent of that is for international markets. Last year, for example, we accommodated seven large auto liners within three days and that is phenomenal for any terminal in the world, more so in the Caribbean.”
The three initiatives are: The Redevelopment of Berth 7, Ashenheim Road Warehouse Complex and Kingston Wharves' Crane #8 which was commissioned on Wednesday.
Williams stressed that the combined expectation of these initiatives is to underpin Kingston Wharves' move into logistics services.
“We've been in there before, what we're doing now is to have 300,000 sq ft of additional warehouse space. We'll be doing order fulfilment which we weren't doing before. So, we're going into the full suite of logistics and this will be a global business for us,” he said.
In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Williams noted that there's growing interest from countries who are looking to Jamaica as an ideal nearshoring territory.
“The Americas, US, Canada, etc, are looking again at the Caribbean to hold that type of inventory, do that light manufacturing, etc, and Kingston Wharves is preparing itself to facilitate that type of economic development.”
That's why he said KWL isn't settling where it is, he highlighted that the expansion will be continuous.
“We've always been able to accommodate super post-Panamax vessels, what this will do is allow us to accommodate two at the same time. We've done previous work for berth's 8 and 9, so now we'll have 550 metres of berth space.”
Kingston Wharves' Crane #8, which is the newest addition to KWL's fleet, is an eco-efficient Konecranes Gottwald Model 8 Mobile Harbour Crane, which increases the KWL fleet to seven. Acquired at a cost in excess of €5 million, it has the capacity to service container vessels up to super post-Panamax class and boost KWL's capacity to handle general and heavy project cargo.
Some of its other features include:
• Maximum lifting capacity = 125 tons from 12m-26m hook operation
• Maximum radius (reach): 61m (20 container across)
• Maximum lift height: 60m
• Lifting height below quay level: -12m
• Features driver cab close to base
• Tower cab operator viewing height: 32.4m
Meanwhile, the redevelopment of berth 7 is an investment of US$30 million. The planned works are aimed at reconstructing and re-operationalising important berthing space on the KWL terminal. It will see the reconstruction of some 183 metres (600ft) of berth, further boosting berthing capacity and the company's ability to service additional vessels in line with growing international demand. The construction contract has been signed with Brahman Construction Corporation/Shoreline Foundation Incorporated of the United States, with works expected to be completed within 12-15 months.
The Ashenheim Road Warehouse Complex will see the construction of KWL's state-of-the art modular warehouse complex on Ashenheim Road, St Andrew, a key pillar in the expansion of the company's logistics services offering and positioning to realise nearshoring opportunities. The company said this development is critical, given the reconfiguration of the global supply chain post-COVID-19 and Jamaica's ongoing drive to establish itself as a major logistics hub for the region. The multi-purpose built facility is envisaged to be a 300,000 sq ft facility available for lease or joint venture partnership. Located in a Special Economic Zone, the warehouse complex will provide efficient freight handling facilities, easy access loading bays, ambient and temperature controlled distribution centres, and access to secure and organised pallet racked storage. This facility is an investment of US$25 million.
While KWL is moving full speed ahead with its expansion plans, Williams made a call for the Government to move swiftly in implementinig policies which will be conducive to the company's growth. Among the policies the KWL CEO highlighted was the need for legislation for an industrial port zone.
KWL credited Scotiabank for bringing capital for the berth and CIBC FCIB for equipment financing.