By: Ainsley Brown
Part one of this piece began with the following proposition: The simple truth is that Jamaica is best positioned of all the nations in the region to become a global logistics hub. What follows is a further elaboration on this point.
What Jamaica represents is a centralized location in the Americas where logistics and related activities can all be clustered on one island. Jamaica is an ideal location for the intersection of various global value and supply chains to coexist and support each other. Jamaica will become a platform for the use of digital technology to plan the design, production, packaging and distribution of goods; financial services; a strategic depot for the storage of natural resources; ship and airplane repair; legal services; tourism and so on
Global value and supply chains are not anything new to Jamaica as we all participate in them in one form or another on daily basis. To name a few, these can range from mail delivery, coffee production, banking, rum production, tourism, parcel courier services, lumber treatment, the cleaning of bulk rum tankers, seafood processing or bread production. What the logistics hub is intended to do is deepen and expand this participation.
Jamaica has many positive elements which make us suitable for a hub:
- The third largest English speaking country in the Americas, English being the language of international trade;
- Just the right size to accommodate simultaneously the activities important to maritime, aviation, information communication technology and manufacturing interests
- The island sits between two large land masses (North/ South America) which represent an 800 million person market
- Blessed with being located close to two strategic waterways in the form of the Panama Canal and the Windward Passage, which sits between Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba and is the preferred route in/ out of the region
- A readily trainable workforce, naturally deep water harbours and existing port, airport and digital infrastructure while at the same time having great developmental potential.
This list of course is only a small sampling of what Jamaica offers to the world as a logistics hub.
It is important to note that while “what Jamaica has to offer to the world” is critical to its success as a hub, equally important is what the world has to offer to Jamaica. It is in this intersection that we will find the benefits of this Global Logistics Hub accrue to the people of Jamaica.
But what exactly are these benefits and when will the people of Jamaica start seeing them?