German Ship Repair Jamaica (GSRJ), through a partnership with Sagicor Group Jamaica, today (January 24) launched a multibillion-dollar ship repair facility at the Shipyard site along Sir Florizel Glasspole Highway in Harbour View, St Andrew.
The first phase of the project will feature a Floating Dry Dock with steel fabrication and engine workshops as well as significant infrastructure valued at a total of US$37 million, half of which is being offered as a loan from Sagicor Bank.
The ship repair facility is set for completion between October and November of this year and is expected to attract customers from the 3,000 commercial vessels that visit Jamaica’s ports annually.
Lieutenant Colonel Martin Rickman, CEO of German Ship Repair Jamaica Limited, who was speaking at the launch, said Jamaica’s geographic location makes it ideal to provide maintenance and repair services.
“Jamaica is in an excellent geo-strategic location for the shipping industry being at the crossroads of the trade out of the Panama Canal and already home to one of the major transshipment hubs in the region,” Rickman said.
“It is therefore fitting that we establish a Shipyard to provide the maintenance and repair services that they need.”
He also noted that this venture was a great opportunity to boost the country’s economy because it provides opportunities for foreign exchange earnings, training opportunities and job creation.
Said Rickman: “There are but a handful of other shipyards in the region and ships often have to travel as far as Europe to get repairs done. This new industry to Jamaica will bring training and jobs to international standards, provide opportunities for spin-off businesses, earn foreign exchange, and contribute to the economic growth of the country. GSRJ is proud to be partnering with Sagicor to bring such wide-ranging benefits to Jamaica.”
Similarly, Christopher Zacca, president and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica, noted that the project offers several avenues for employment, skills development and earnings for Jamaicans.
“Sagicor Group Jamaica, primarily through Sagicor Bank providing the commercial loan for the project, is pleased to support this major thrust toward national development in the transshipment industry. We anticipate that this project will provide avenues for employment, skills development and revenue for thousands of Jamaicans and their families, along with a chain of other opportunities in the construction and operational stages,” he outlined.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness who was also in attendance, outlined that “the project is a significant investment and will bring more economic growth and job creation to our country for the benefit of our people.”
He further noted that Jamaica is blessed to be ideally located along the east-west shipping traffic region which makes it inevitable for ships travelling from north to south America to come into close proximity to Jamaica.
The shipping facility is set to accommodate vessels up to 20,000 gross tonnages and up to 215 metres (over 700 feet) in length. Likewise, it will provide a wide range of maintenance and repair services to ships coming into the country’s ports.
The transhipment industry in Jamaica is expected to see growth in the next few years with an increase in the number of ships coming into the island.