By: Ainsley Brown
Jamaica’s Global Logistics Hub, ports and so much more
What is the role for ports and airports vs the role for Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Jamaica’s Global Logistics Hub Initiative?
The simplest answer is that ports and airports, while very important, in the main facilitate trade and economic activity while the SEZs are the drivers of economic activity, economic development and wealth creation for the people of Jamaica.
‘Provide a reason and they will come’
Ships and planes need a reason to stop in Jamaica; it is not simply case of ‘build it and they will come.’ No! The proper way of thinking and developing industry, investment and commerce in Jamaica is to provide a reason and only then will they come.
Jamaica needs to provide that reason or better yet reasons beyond what it currently offers; largely through transshipment and tourist visits. If Jamaica is to develop/grow its economy and provide prosperity for its people it needs to enhance its existing offerings but more importantly it needs to move beyond them and provide a suite of SEZ clusters through which cargo, people and data can flow seamlessly.
These SEZs clusters, be they supporting maritime, aviation or industrial activities will provide the impetus for the ships and planes to stop in Jamaica. The SEZ clusters will provide a ‘one stop shop’ environment that will incentivize the many ships and planes that currently pass through our waters or airspace and do not stop to make Jamaica a port of call. What is more, the SEZs will act as a diver for those that current don’t ply our waters or fly in our airspace to adjust their business models to meet the cargo, people and data flows from Jamaica’s Global Logistics Hub.
The Hub will make Jamaica the location of choice for a ship or a plane to get repaired , re-fueled, re-crewed, re-provisioned but more importantly to pick up and drop off more than just transshipped cargo but cargo coming in as domestic inputs for production and cargo leaving as Jamaican made or assembled products.
Special Economic Zones: the heart of Jamaica’s Global Logistics Hub
Special Economic Zones, are therefore the primary economic drivers and job creators within the Jamaican Global Logistics Hub.
They are geared towards value added activities, such as light manufacturing,ship/aircraft maintenance and repair, business processing outsourcing, warehousing, production planning, (re)labeling, to name a few, and will take Jamaica beyond simply being a regional transshipment hub to a value added center – a Global Logistics Hub. Jamaica’s ports and airport will serve as facilitation mechanisms for cargo and people flows coming in and out of the SEZs.