Sat | Mar 25, 2023

US$37-million shipyard project pushes Jamaica closer to logistics target

Published:Tuesday | January 31, 2023 | 12:42 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness paints the hull of a docked vessel at the launch of the German Ship Repair Jamaica shipyard project last week.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness paints the hull of a docked vessel at the launch of the German Ship Repair Jamaica shipyard project last week.
The first phase of the shipyard, a floating dry dock with steel fabrication and engine workshops, is scheduled for completion by November.
The first phase of the shipyard, a floating dry dock with steel fabrication and engine workshops, is scheduled for completion by November.
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Jamaica’s thrust towards becoming a global logistics hub received a major boost with the launch of a multibillion-dollar shipyard on Monday, January 23.

The project, which is being spearheaded by German Ship Repair Jamaica (GSRJ) on the Sir Florizel Glasspole section of the Kingston Harbour, signals a US$37-million (J$6-billion) injection towards improving the island’s competitiveness in the maritime sector.

The first phase of the shipyard, a place where ships are built or repaired, will be a floating dry dock with steel fabrication and engine workshops that is scheduled for completion by November of this year.

The floating dry dock, which has been named JAM-DOCK 1, will allow for commercial vessels of up to 20,000 tonnes and 215 metres in length to be lifted from the water for servicing, including the overhaul and repair of main and auxiliary engines, propellers, ship structures, and painting of the hull.

German Ship Repair Jamaica began operations in 2016 and is a joint venture between Harren & Partner, Kloska Group, Hat-San Shipyard and Jamaica Dry Dock.

Already, it has confirmed its first dry dock booking for November.

What’s more, the coming developments mean additional employment and training opportunities for some 100 workers, who must operate at international standards to carry out the necessary functions. Jamaicans are being trained at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) and HEART/NSTA Trust to fill roles that will become available.

Colonel Martin Rickman, chief executive officer of GRSJ, said, “The GSRJ had started some time ago and we have done a certain amount of training. For some of the trainees, we have raised their standard of training from working onboard vessels to very high standards. Some have even got to international standards already, and it is our intent to continue with this programme with HEART and CMU to get more people in the training.”

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the investments being made in improving Kingston as a logistics hub will close some existing gaps and spur more vessels operating within the region to come to Jamaica.

The launch happened a year to the month that Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL) unveiled US$60 million in infrastructural development initiatives, part of its expansion of port terminal and logistics services business.

The KWL projects include a US$30-million redevelopment of its Berth 7 and a US$25-million construction of its integrated modular logistics complex at Ashenheim Road in Kingston, and the commissioning of a state-of-the-art Gottwald Mobile Harbour Crane valued at approximately €5 million.

At the time, KWL CEO Mark Williams said, “When completed, the 300,000 square feet Ashenheim Road Logistics Complex will enable KWL, and by extension Jamaica, to begin taking advantage of nearshoring opportunities, which are emerging due to the shifts in the global supply chain, as companies look for warehousing and logistics solutions closer to their target markets.”

These major expansion projects are expected to further position Jamaica among the ranks of the world’s leading logistics territories, along with the 2016 implementation of the Port Community System (PCS) which supports the secure and reliable exchange of information to optimise, manage and automate numerous port and logistics processes. Jamaica is a leader in the application of the PCS regionally and was tapped by a Barbadian delegation to share its application and experience with the system during a visit last year.