Kingston Wharves’ big plans ‘ONLY SIN­GA­PORE CAN COM­PETE WITH OUR STRATE­GIC LO­CA­TION’

Jamaica Gleaner - - GROWTH & JOBS - Mcpherse.thomp­son@glean­erjm.com

One of the great ob­sta­cles to the coun­try’s aim of achiev­ing its ‘five in four’ growth ob­jec­tive is the de­lays that peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence do­ing busi­ness here. You wait in long lines at the banks. In govern­ment agen­cies, you move from one depart­ment to the next, and then you wait some more. The doc­u­ments needed to fa­cil­i­tate the pro­cesses are not al­ways, if at all, cen­trally lo­cated and the faces you must en­counter are less than friendly. But at least one com­pany that is cen­tral to the Govern­ment’s suc­cess at ‘five in four’ recog­nises that if the coun­try is to re­alise this stated goal, then it can­not be busi­ness as usual. Kingston Wharves Lim­ited has big plans. Here’s a story that we car­ried on­line a cou­ple of days ago about those plans.

... Mak­ing Cus­toms clear­ance eas­ier

will be taken out of stor­age and taken into the cus­toms in­spec­tion ware­house in the same build­ing. So we can make it a one-stop shop, very ef­fi­cient and hope­fully they can get through in a cou­ple of hours whereas, at the mo­ment, they use three ware­houses on the berth and it can take them all day”.

Speak­ing to The Gleaner dur­ing a re­cent tour of Kingston Wharves, which in­cluded the lo­gis­tics fa­cil­ity now un­der con­struc­tion, the project man­ager em­pha­sised that “this is to be a new, mod­ern fa­cil­ity, the one-stop shop for any­body who’s bring­ing in small goods into Ja­maica”.

The re­cent tour also took the me­dia, board mem­bers, man­age­ment and staff to the trans-ship­ment car park.

“About four to five years ago, we started this busi­ness of bring­ing cars here and then we trans-ship them to 23 dif­fer­ent des­ti­na­tions in Cen­tral Amer­i­can and the Caribbean,” Grant­ley Stephen­son said.

Trans-ship­ment is han­dled on be­half of Ja­panese, Korean and other car car­ri­ers, but the main busi­ness is for Nor­we­gian firm Hoegh.

“Ja­maica has one of the most strate­gic lo­ca­tions any­where, com­pa­ra­ble per­haps only to Sin­ga­pore. And you know how they have lever­aged their lo­ca­tion; and that’s what we are seek­ing to do here,” he said.

Kingston Wharves has now added grain si­los to the main port ter­mi­nal be­cause, ac­cord­ing to the CEO, “we are a mul­ti­pur­pose port. As you see, we han­dle cars, con­tain­ers, lum­ber, steel; we han­dle sul­phuric acid, cook­ing oil, bar­rels, ev­ery­thing.”

Stephen­son said one ware­house has al­ready been de­mol­ished as part of the process to shift some of the port busi­ness to the lo­gis­tics fa­cil­ity, and oth­ers are ex­pected to be de­mol­ished within the first half of 2017.

Kingston Wharves has in­vested about US$30 mil­lion over the last 18 months on equip­ment, pur­chase of land and other ac­tiv­i­ties and is set to in­vest sig­nif­i­cantly more in other phases of the de­vel­op­ment.

“Our goal is to trans­form this area into an in­dus­trial com­plex and to take full ad­van­tage of the lo­gis­tics op­por­tu­ni­ties which ex­ist, trans-ship­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, not just for con­tain­ers but for cars, aris­ing from the ex­pan­sion of the Panama Canal,” Stephen­son said.

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