Sunday, 19 April 2015

Divestment Of The Kingston Container Terminal

Government of Jamaica's push to divest the port of Kingston (Kingston container terminal) by way of concession is now complete. In a deal worth US $510 million, France-based CMA CGM shall operate the KCT for 30 years.

Kingston container terminal. Source of image: Timeforfamily

The divestment process was not all smooth sailing, initially, three bidders expressed interest in the port; PSA international out of Singapore, DP world out of the United Arab Emirates and CMA CGM out of France. However, DP world and PSA international pulled out, citing concerns regarding a possible rival container port to be built at the Goat Islands in St Catherine. This meant that CMA CGM was the lone bidder, and eventually got the go-ahead to operate the KCT on April 7, 2015.


CMA CGM was founded in Marseille, France in 1978. Internationally, CMA CGM is rated as the world's third largest shipping company, MSC and Maersk are ranked second and first respectively.

CMA CGM has in excess of 440 ships in operations, serving 400 of 521 global container ports. Additionally, CMA CGM handles 12.1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), employing approximately 20 000 individuals. Furthermore, latest revenue data are relatively impressive; US $16.7 billion at the end of 2014. In June 2013, China merchants holding international (CMHI) acquired a 49 percent stake in the company. The figures and the ownership structure, suggests that CMA CGM has the financial capability and know how to operate the port of Kingston.

Kingston Container Terminal (KCT)

Located in the world's 7th largest natural harbour, KCT commenced operations in 1975 at port Bustamante. KCT has grown markedly in size over the years. It has a rated capacity of 2.8 million TEUs, making KCT among the largest regional port, and the largest container port in the Caribbean.

Under the concession agreement, It's envisaged that annual capacity of KCT shall increase to 3.6 million TEUs. Additionally, KCT shall become CMA CGM's regional hub, and foresees the aforementioned KCT becoming a top five port in the region.

To achieve their dreams, CMA CGM seeks to increase the draught at the terminal to 15.5m prior to the opening of the new locks at the expanded Panama canal. The Panama canal shall allow the passage of post-panamax ships to transit the canal, KCT and Caribbean ports are positioning themselves to become major beneficiaries of the expanded Panama canal.


Major ports, Port Authority of Jamaica.

General overview, KCT services LTD.

The CMA CGM Group obtains the Kingston Containers Terminal concession and makes Jamaica its hub in the Caribbean, CMA CGM.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

President Obama's Visit Bode Well For Energy Security In Jamaica

Following significant beautification and road repairs across the city of Kingston to welcome president Obama on April 8, 2015, It is safe to say the visit went remarkably well. On his visit to Jamaica, president Obama had bilateral talks with the prime minister of Jamaica, the honorable Portia Simpson Miller.

President during a recent visit to the Bob Marley museum in Kingston, Jamaica. Source of image:

In addition, the president met with various Caribbean heads; discussions focused on security, trade and energy. Not to forget, president Obama wow the crowd at a university of the West Indies (UWI).

On January 18, 2015, I wrote an article entitled Could The US Help To Solve Jamaica's Energy Woes?, it spoke to possible benefits of the ongoing shale boom in the US. This, in turn, may help to diversify Jamaica's energy mix, thereby reducing the rate of electricity.

This is a necessary step, as Jamaica seeks to replace up to 300 megawatts of antiquated power plants. These plants have significantly burdened Jamaicans with electricity rates hovering in the region of 40 US cents/kWhr four times the figure in the US, and up to eight times the figure in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Efforts to secure lower energy costs have long eluded Jamaica; from a failed push to secure liquefied natural gas out of Trinidad and Tobago, to the EWI debacle. Likely spurring the creation of the electricity sector enterprise team (ESET), the team includes public and private sector individuals, with the aim of securing up to 360 megawatts of new capacity. 

It is important to note that commitment was given by two entities to construct 330 megawatts of the aforementioned 360 megawatts of new capacity; Jamaica public service (JPS) has been given the go-ahead to construct a natural gas powered 190 megawatts plant in St Catherine, and 140 megawatts by Aluminum partners of Jamaica (ALPART) in south east St Elizabeth. It's envisioned that both plants should be completed by 2017 or 2018.

A statement of intent was signed on the 8th of April with the US (same time as the presidential visit), the statement of intent is intended to facilitate energy cooperation between the US and Jamaica. The statement of intent can be seen as an overture to something of greater significance. If all goes well, Jamaica should eventually source the long elusive LNG, a commodity (natural gas) that US has in abundance. Plus, the US is said to have the cheapest available natural gas. However, petroleum exports out of north America is restricted by the US, but energy experts foresee a lifting of the restriction  by the time aforementioned power plants are completed.

It will be interesting to see what pans out.


ESET approves 330 megawatts of additional power for Jamaica. RJR News

Jamaica, US sign energy cooperation agreement. Jamaica Observer.