Port Authority to help push growth of BPO sector

“The potential for that (information and communication technology industry) development is one which the Port Authority is going to be exploiting and again, Falmouth represents one of the key areas where there is going to be focus from the Port Authority,” Davies said.

The transport and works minister was delivering the keynote address at the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of a new state-of-the-art market in Falmouth.

He pointed out that, in its quest for much needed growth, Jamaica should concentrate on more than one area.

“I have charged Professor Shirley and his team at the Port Authority to start looking at other ways in which the Port Authority can impact on the development because one of the problems we face historically, is that when there’s one thing doing well, everything is focused on that, like sugar. And if you go into the sugar areas, now with the decline of sugar, now everything declines,” Davies said.

“It’s important that we have a range of activities so that we are not totally dependent on one. And one relates to what they call the BPO industry,” Davies added.

He argued that the privatisation of the Kingston Container Terminal will allow the Port Authority room to tackle other ventures to push economic growth.

“Now, you may say that is Kingston. What that has to do with us? It means that the Port Authority now has the opportunity to deal with other developments, which can stimulate economic growth, not just in Kingston, but elsewhere. And as Professor Shirley hinted today (Thursday), Falmouth features greatly in the Port Authority’s plans for this economic development,” Davies said.

Meanwhile, North Trelawny MP Patrick Atkinson said that he and the councillors in the parish will have to now avail computer training for people in the parish, particularly the youth, in preparation for the employment opportunities that will open with the establishment of an IT industry in the parish.

“The councillors and myself will be seeking to set up computer training centres at strategic points so that when the opportunity arises, we will have a workforce that is trained to man this job and don’t have to rely on giving more employment to Montego Bay and St Ann’s Bay. So let me thank the Port Authority,” Atkinson said.

“We are begging, we are advocating and we are hoping that pretty soon… that it won’t take another three years, but sometime in the early future… that there will be a business processing outsourcing [company] – what is called a call centre – set up not too far from here (market construction site) which will provide significant employment, particularly for our young people,” Atkinson added.

The Port Authority of Jamaica operates the Montego Bay Free Zone (MBFZ), one of western Jamaica’s most successful business facilitators and a nursery to the rapid and positive growth of the ICT sector in Montego Bay, St James.

The MBFZ contributed over US$1 billion to the Jamaican economy over the last 10 years, while currently employing more than 10,000 people within the zone and outside.


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