Sagicor Bank Jamaica has expressed satisfaction with developments in the dry dock shipping services industry in Jamaica, facilitated by the German Ship Repair Jamaica (GSRJ) shipyard.
The financial institution played a pivotal role in supporting the burgeoning industry by extending a multibillion-dollar loan to GSRJ.
As the lead arranger in raising the necessary funding for the dry dock project, Sagicor Bank committed over US$18 million towards the development of dry dock facilities and the importation of the floating dry dock. The project’s first phase is currently underway, marked by the arrival of the floating dock in Jamaica on August 24, where it now resides at the German Ship Repair Jamaica Shipyard in the Kingston Harbour.
This project has already begun to make a difference in the local job market. Fourteen Jamaicans, beneficiaries of training programmes such as GSRJ’s Dual Apprenticeship Programme, supported by the HEART/NSTA Trust and the Caribbean Maritime University, have been gainfully employed at the shipyard.
The significance of this training lies in its international recognition, which enables these trainees to seek employment in dry dock facilities worldwide. As the dry dock facility expands and more floating dry docks are introduced, it is expected that employment opportunities will grow in tandem.
The dry dock facility is on track to service its first ship in late November, and is slated for an official opening in January 2024.
Christopher Zacca, president and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica, emphasised the bank’s commitment to projects that enhance the well-being of the communities it serves. He stated, “At Sagicor, we are committed to stand behind projects that improve the lives of the people in the communities in which we operate. This project is directly linked to nation-building, so our support of the dry dock initiative was a no-brainer as the project creates a new revenue stream for our country. This project will bring high-end training and employment to our youths as we strategically seek to develop industries for the future. Our mission at Sagicor is to build a country with a strong future for our people.”
With approximately 16,000 ships navigating the region daily, the dry dock’s potential is undeniable. The shipyard’s current capacity requires less than one per cent of this number annually to operate profitably. Based on these calculations, the dry dock facility holds substantial promise. It is poised to offer a range of services including welding, electronic, mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic services.