Jamaica 2018 | TRANSPORT | REVIEW

As Jamaica continues to develop and expand its transportation infrastructure, government officials and private industry stakeholders are confident that the island can generate real and lasting economic development across a wide variety of industries.

As Jamaica strives to reach developed country status by 2030, transportation has become a key focus of the public and private sectors. While systemic deficiencies have hampered the area in the past, renewed focus and investment are paving the way toward a more robust transportation matrix. Leading the way forward is the country's Vision 2030 Jamaica - National Development Plan, a multi-pronged scheme developed by the government with consultation from many departments as well as the private sector and the community. Operating under the auspices of Vision 2030, the Transport Task Force completed a comprehensive Transport Sector Plan, which seeks to reimagine and repair the country's land, air, and maritime transport infrastructure.

According to the Transport Task Force, Jamaica boasts 15,394km of roadways; two international airports and four domestic aerodromes; 331km of publicly owned rail networks and six privately owned lines; and 14 seaports. According to government officials, Jamaica is working hard to foster long-lasting economic growth by developing an integrated multi-modal transport system.
With 14 seaports spread across the island, Jamaica boasts one of the best maritime transport systems in the region. One of the most exciting developments in recent years has been USD2.5-billion project aimed at re-developing the port at Montego Bay. This multi-stage project includes LNG storage and shipment infrastructure, new cruise terminal buildings and ground transport staging areas, a modified container freight station and new cargo-storage areas, new dedicated cruise ship berths, and a berth dedicated to handling fuels, according to Jamaica Information Service.
The recent expansion of the Panama Canal has stimulated growth at many of Jamaica's port facilities, and industry leaders expect to see growth across many cargo categories. In an exclusive interview with TBY, Olivier Tretout, CEO of Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL) explained the impetus behind recent effort to expand the port, noting, “KFTL is upgrading the infrastructure and investing heavily in a range of equipment and IT to make this facility suitable to accommodate Post-Panamax vessels." Jamaican firms are keen to take advantage of the new opportunities provided by the expansion of the canal, and they are working hard to ensure that Jamaica becomes a regional shipping powerhouse.
With millions of tourists arriving and departing through Jamaica's airports each year, the island's air transport system is one of the nation's most vital corridors of movement and sources of economic activity. With only two international airports, Norman Manley International Airport and Sangster International Airport, and six domestic aerodromes, the island relies heavily on this system. In recent years, the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) has made impressive gains in modernizing its air navigation system, and it plans to complete a nearly USD5-billion plan to upgrade the system by the beginning of 2018.
Jamaica's extensive roadway system is one of the densest in the world, and traffic volumes have been increasing in recent years. In order to meet growing demand and plan for the future, the government has initiated a number of new construction projects. Chief among them is the USD384-million Southern Coast Highway, which will include the refurbishment of more than 110km of roadway between Kingston and Portland financed by the China EXIM Bank.
While Jamaica's railway infrastructure is one of the oldest in the region, the system has been largely shuttered since 1992. Though more than 335km of public rail, owned by the Jamaica Railway Corporation, crisscross the island, the only lines currently operating are maintained by the island's bauxite mines. The government has plans to change this, however, and there have been recent efforts to reinvigorate the nation's railways. In December 2016, the government announced plans to invest USD250 million to resuscitate both passenger and cargo services. These plans include a mix of public and private investment, and an MoU was signed with the American firm Herzog International. The government hopes to have certain key lines up and running by 2018.