(CMR) Jamaica is entering the global ship repair industry with a US$37 million investment in the German Ship Repair Jamaica shipyard project along a section of Kingston Harbour.
The project, which is being developed in partnership with Sagicor Group Jamaica and other local entities, is expected to provide hundreds of jobs and generate millions in foreign exchange, Jamaica Observer reported. The project is expected to be completed between October and November.
“We already have a first booking for a dry dock for November this year, a ship named Mexican Giant,” Colonel Martin Rickman, GRSJ's chief executive officer, told the Jamaica Observer.
It is expected to cost about US$500 million to work on the Mexican Giant, with the work taking place over approximately two weeks.
According to the Observer, three of the world's leading shipping industry companies are foreign partners on the project. They are Harren and Partners Ltd, a global conglomerate based in Germany which owns about 70 vessels; Kloska Group, a German firm that specializes in ship supplies and provides engine repairs; and Hat-San Shipyard from Turkey, known for building fishing trawlers, floating docks, maintenance and repairs of ships, and dry docking operation.
“These partners that we have are high-level, experienced experts who will bring value to us in Jamaica,” Rickman told the Observer.
The first phase of the shipyard will feature a floating dry dock, along with steel fabrication and engine workshops. Jamaicans are currently receiving training at HEART/NSTA Trust and Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) for jobs at the shipyard.
Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the development will contribute to the positioning of Kingston Harbour as a global logistics hub, pointing out that each year, Jamaica receives approximately 3,000 port calls while about 180,000 vessels operate within the region.
“With the investments that are being made in improving Kingston as a logistic hub, we are certain that we have now closed one of the major gaps that have existed and that more ships passing through the region will be inclined to come to Jamaica,” he said.