By Ruel Reid’s reckoning, the additional earnings from the maritime industry could come from “new remittances, maritime and port services, with net local jobs of 10,000 and between 20,000 to over 70,000 in seafaring jobs”.
Reid, who is the principal of Jamaica College, was supported by CMI executive director, Fitz Pinnock, who added that it was critical to expand and properly resource the institute which is “the only international maritime organisation (IMO) in the English-speaking Caribbean”.
The sense of urgency to exploit businesses opportunities in the maritime industry has been heightened by the expansion of the Panama Canal scheduled for completion in 2014.
Given Jamaica’s proximity to the strategic waterway, tremendous spin-off economic activity from its expansion is anticipated.
Earlier this year, Minister of Industry Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, put forward a package of investment projects in shipping and logistics, which he said, had the potential for transforming the country’s economic landscape.
The projects include: dredging of the Kingston Harbour and expansion of the port facilities; establishing a Dry Dock facility at Jackson Bay in Clarendon; establishing a bunkering facility at Cow Bay in Yallahs, St Thomas; and the construction of a cargo and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) facility at Vernamfield in Clarendon.