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Shipping Association of Jamaica

SAJ priorities for improved port and trade facilities

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The Shipping Association of Jamaica has set clear goals for 2013 including improved security for Newport West, the business district in the port area of Kingston.

Among its priorities for the year ahead, the 73-year-old Association has listed works on the drainage and road infrastructure within the business district; and advancement of the Port Community System, an electronic single window. 

Transport issues

The SAJ will also tackle transport issues facing workers across the port. Anticipating growth in business at the port, the SAJ will continue its skill training programmes. It will also expand the use of information technology through its subsidiary, Advantum. 

According to the SAJ, Jamaica can increase its earnings by expanding its business offerings to include logistics parks. This opportunity is largely dependent on the completion of the Panama Canal expansion, which is expected to bring about a shift in global trade and an increase in transshipment traffic. 

The SAJ noted that Jamaica’s Minister of Investment and Commerce had announced that China, Singapore and the Netherlands had pledged technical support to help the country to accelerate plans to establish itself as the logistics hub of the Americas. This project is the centrepiece of the government’s growth strategy for the Jamaican economy.

Logistics hub

The logistics hub is expected to increase Jamaica’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 17 per cent over six to eight years. The project will have six separate but complementary elements, including the dredging of Kingston Harbour and the expansion of port facilities at Fort Augusta and Gordon Cay.

The SAJ has a lot to contribute to the industry and is committed to supporting the government’s plans to establish the logistics parks.

“The industry worldwide is changing,” said Kim Clarke, the recently elected President of the SAJ. “We must adjust to maintain our relevance in the global supply chain for the long term.”

Mr. Clarke, who is managing director of the Maritime and Transport Group of Companies and who previously served as vice president of the SAJ, will lead the Association’s charge as Jamaica readies itself to face the challenges and opportunities ahead. 

Many challenges

Addressing members of the Association at the SAJ’s annual general meeting in November, Mr. Clarke said 2013 would bring with it many challenges but also opportunities.

“I look forward to the support of the membership,” said the new SAJ President. “We have a lot to contribute. In order to do so, we the members must maintain unity in order to meet resolutely the demands of industry.”