Things looking up at Kingston Container Terminal


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12 Nov 2010

conteiner-terminal-1234.pngMANAGING director of Kingston Container Terminal (KCT) Henry Lee says there are signs that business is picking up at the port, which has seen significant increases in transshipment volumes over last year -- dubbed the worst period

in modern shipping.

According to Lee, the port last month handled approximately 800 loads more than it did in September.

"Things are looking better and we have been blessed again," Henry said
while addressing last week's Jamaica Chamber of Commerce Customs Annual
Customs Seminar in Kingston.

Lee said the positive turnaround began in May, following the significant downturns in that industry in 2009.

"I would say that by the end of the month we will be at 6,900 volumes way ahead of last year," he disclosed.

He said that inbound domestic cargo also increased over the last four months compared to the similar period last year.

He, however, pointed out that things were still not where they were before the decline.

According to data released by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ),
transshipment cargo in the June quarter of 2010 was up 14 per cent over
last year's levels and resembled levels observed at its peak in 2006.

For the year to June 30, 2010, transshipment cargo volumes were up 7.6
per cent, showing that growth in the first quarter of 2010 was marginal.

The recovery in volumes does not reflect any new long-term contracts
being inked between the managers of KCT and shipping lines but more
derived from increased trade activity as the global economy creeps out
of the recession.

In 2007 volumes declined from 2006 peaks by 2.7 per cent before
dropping 8.8 per cent in 2008 from year-earlier levels. But that
fall-off surrounded drop in volumes associated with shipping line
Maersk's decision to stop using Kingston as its regional transshipment
hub in late 2007.

The move was part of a reduction the Danish shipping line implemented
on its weekly AC1 loop connecting ports in Japan, China and Korea with
the Caribbean and Mexico.

Then, Maersk also dropped direct calls to Manzanillo in Panama and
instead continued using Balboa, Panama, as a feeder hub to the
Caribbean markets.

The PAJ subsequently pushed back the development of the Fort Augusta
peninsula in 2009 to 2011, but blamed the recession as the cause. That
plan was to include a large-scale freeport facility on the peninsula to
provide assembling and duty-free shopping comparable to that which
exists in Panama, and would have complemented plans to develop Port
Royal as a major cruise ship destination to be interfaced with the Fort
Augusta freeport.

One other factor contributing to the increase in transshipment activity
at the Kingston port in recent months is the commencement of servicing
new generation mega vessels -- two of which were received in the June

Lee insists that Jamaica should be the logistic centre for the world because of its excellent location.

According to him, if a circle is drawn around the region going through
Puerto Rico and Columbia, etc, Jamaica would be exactly in the middle.

"The major shipping lines are aware of this and in this time of high
fuel prices, Jamaica's position at the centre of the network had the
potential to make it the logistics centre for the world."

Meantime, he said that due to the foresight of the port Authority, the
KCT will be ready when the Panama Canal is widened in 2014.

Source: Jamaica Observer


Maersk Line is one of the leading liner shipping companies in the world, serving customers all over the globe.

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