The government of Jamaica is demonstrating its commitment through the Global Logistics Hub Initiative (GLHI), to building a competitive business environment and supporting growth-inducing economic activities that will stimulate sustainable economic growth and development. This initiative has gained much momentum and investor interest in recent time. This is due to the enormous value proposition the country offers the global economy in light of the prospects arising from changes in international production, growing world trade and the expansion of the Panama Canal.
The implementation of the GLHI brings into sharp focus the importance of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs). SEZs represent a wide variety of geographically-demarcated areas that offer simple and efficient business regulations and procedures to investors. Under the new SEZ regime, these zones will be promoted and facilitated as a strategy to attract and retain targeted investments and will catalyse and sustain economic activity across various sectors of the Jamaican economy.
Jamaica will enhance synergies of sea-air connectivity and provide nearshore opportunities for value-added industries. In other words, through the use of a logistics-centric model that is similar to what is used in global logistics centres in Dubai, Rotterdam and Singapore, Jamaica will be able to offer quick turnaround through ‘near shore’ value-added logistics services that will reduce the time to Latin American and other markets within the western hemisphere. The SEZs will also benefit from superior market access arrangements through a network of trade agreements that will minimise trade duties in the major trade lanes.
An even closer look reveals an open, diversified market economy and a world-class financial services sector supported by a large pool of highly qualified professionals, globally connected by a robust ICT platform. With these endowments, Jamaica is well poised to become the financial and business logistical support centre of the Caribbean. This centre will be an important source of funding and will create the vehicles for the transnational corporations setting up in the SEZs. These transnational corporations can look to finance their aviation and maritime operations from financial entities
The SEZ platform will be built on four pillars, namely:
- World class infrastructure
- State of the art technology
- Workforce skills qualifications framework
- Conducive business environment
In this regard the JSEZA and by extension the GOJ view Jamaica’s seaports and airports as economic engines with special economic zones in their immediate hinterlands providing the fuel.
The SEZ landscape once fully developed will consist of the nation’s fourteen (14) seaports and three (3) international airports; world-class large scale township type special economic zones such as Caymanas Special Economic Zone and Portland Bight Industrial Park; smaller multi-tenant zones such as Montego Bay Free Zone along with specialized stand-alone zones e.g. for ship repair (wet and dry dock), petroleum storage and distribution just to name a few of the areas of opportunity.