A Simple Truth, Jamaica Best Positioned for Global Logistics Hub, Part II

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.

supply chian dimesions

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?

Stay tuned.

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One Reply to “A Simple Truth, Jamaica Best Positioned for Global Logistics Hub, Part II”

  1. Steve

    It is not just about positioning within the region. the distances between Cuba and the US for example are shorter, which makes the other more southern & eastern ports not as appealing for transshipment cargo. At issue is also the assessment of the existing infrastructure. It is worn out and will take millions of dollars to get it back up and running. Currently the Kingston Container Terminal is not able to run at full capacity due to the lack of maintenance of the necessary equipment to operate the port.

    The proposed transshipping hub for the Portland Bight Protected Area/Goat Islands, has had many shifts in what was first being touted as a deep water port and then to be told it would harbor equipment needed for the regional developments by CHEC/China as well as economic zone with value added manufacturing.

    The issue is that there is no guarantee for Jamaica that any of the shipping companies will use the port(s). There are many like kind projects in the region and this gives the shipping lines more choices, regardless of location which in the grand scheme is not that big of a deal.

    Larger ships means less shipping. The common belief is that with the post Chinamax ships that these ships will bring with them wealth for the countries they dock in. Given the world economy that is not necessarily true. What it does mean is that larger shipments with more goods all at once and fewer of the shipments to cut shipping costs. This could equate into months of idleness between shipments, as these larger ships will not sail unless they are completely loaded.

    It is imperative that Jamaica find a specialty within the logistics chain, and focus on developing that aspect, based on an assessment of the assets they currently have in place and the ability to build off of them.

    The idea of build it and they will come is a long shot at best and will be of no benefit to the people of Jamaica.

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