Uirab calls for collaboration with Jamaica


27 July 2018 | Infrastructure

Leandrea Louw

The chief executive officer of the Namibia Port Authority (Namport), Bisey Uirab, said that progress can be achieved in various sectors if Jamaica and Namport could collaborate on similar fields.

During a recent visit to Namport by the prime minister of Jamaica, Andrew Michael Holness, Uirab said that a memorandum of understanding could perhaps be signed to explore the various benefits of both countries and share expertise.

"Both our countries rely heavily on the tourism sector, where we can collaborate. By this I mean we can work with tourism companies, that market the various tourism destinations, and they could market Jamaica along with Namibia, and we can sell a combined package. I know the passenger liners, like the Queen Mary, pass through the Caribbean, as well as here and move on elsewhere. Through this we could have a combined effort or initiative to make sure that both countries and regions benefit from this collaboration. There are numerous similarities and benefits both countries can tap into. Jamaica has also made remarkable progress in sport, and again Namibia stands to benefit. Jamaica is a small country, geographically, but has achieved so much despite the limitations, so why can’t Namibia do the same?” said Uirab

Holness visited Namport on Tuesday. During his remarks, he mentioned the various changes Jamaica has undertaken in their port operations.

“We have two primary ports, one in Kingston and one in Montego Bay as well as several smaller ports. Presently the port of Kingston moves about 1,6 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) per year. We recently divested the port to the third largest shipping company, CMA CGM and that divestment increased the capacity and we will now be able to accommodate post panamax vessels. With this new investment we should be in the region of 2,5 million to 35 million TEU’s per year, and that we hope to achieve within the next five years. This is quite a reasonable projection as Jamaica is in the centre of the Caribbean, and is right next to the main shipping lanes. We’re also in the process of developing logistic facilities for light assembly, as well as packaging and redistribution. We’re aiming to become the main logistic operator for used motor vehicles coming from Japan and for redistribution to the rest of the Caribbean,” said Holness.

He explained that the divestment of the port of Kingston was a well-assessed, lengthy process.

Uirab said Namport is also looking into the process of divesting the port to private terminal operators.

"Nothing has been decided yet, but we are looking at those who have walked the same path so that we can approach challenges differently. The prime minister touched on issues we are also battling with and contemplating. We are working towards making our operations more efficient, and more productive, especially now with the port expansion," he said.

Holness mentioned that he is very impressed with Namibia.

“We’re very impressed with the beauty of the country as well as the hospitality of the people and all that you have managed to achieve thus far. You have utilised your independence to create economic freedom and that speaks to the people I represent here today.”

His visit concluded with a tour of the port, specifically the container terminal and fuel import facility which is currently under construction.

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