PM Holness Says Jamaica is Positioning Itself as a Globally Competitive Logistics Hub

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (center) in discussions with UNCTAD director, James Zhan (left) and Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce (JIS Photo)

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica's government says it is strategically positioning the country as a globally competitive logistics hub, and an efficient investment destination in a bid to take advantage of a new wave of US multibillion-dollar investments projected for the Caribbean region, which will create myriad opportunities for economic growth and development.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, addressing the Eighth Annual International Conference and Exhibition (AICE), said that Jamaica, by way of investments in several key sectors, is on course to capitalize on the projected investments.

“I met with most of the world leaders of this hemisphere and heard from the Inter-American Development Bank how nearshoring and friendly shoring will attract more than US$78 billion of new investments and exports, which will create more than four million direct jobs.

“Jamaica is ideally located at the intersection of the east-west and north-south trade routes. Kingston Harbour is the seventh largest natural harbor in the world. Our mission is to leverage these natural assets and position Jamaica as the fourth global logistics mode, comparable to Singapore, Dubai and Rotterdam,” Holness said.

He told the conference that significant investments have been made to improve the transportation and telecommunications infrastructure.

 “We have made significant investments and continue to make transformational changes in our human capital development, equipping our workforce for industry needs and now strategically positioning Jamaica as a globally competitive and efficient investment destination,” Holness said, citing the Kingston Logistics Park and the Flagship Caymanas Special Economic Zone as key projects that will further advance Jamaica’s global competitiveness.

Prime Minister Holness told delegates attending the conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James, that countries can use special economic zones (SEZs) or free zones as drivers to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other global crises.

“There is a natural thrust towards free zones. I would say free zones are at this point critical to the future growth of the world economy. This is the time for free zones to work together to leverage these conditions. And this conference is about working together to take advantage of the new global developments, which are creating opportunities,” Holness said.

Representatives from 60 countries including senior policymakers, academics, multilateral organizations and global business leaders, are attending the conference, which ends on Friday.

SEZs are areas within a country that are created to facilitate rapid economic growth, by leveraging tax incentives as a way of attracting foreign investments and technological advancement.

Holness said SEZs locally and globally are continuously being challenged to innovate and adapt in these “new times”, to better serve home nations.

He said that with tensions across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis and the war in Europe (Ukraine and Russia), Governments and companies are recognizing the risks and challenges associated with long-distance supply chains.

As such, he pointed out that countries and entities are exploring nearshoring and reshoring options via SEZs.