Linkages Combines Logistics with New Supply Hub Initiative

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A supply center for the resort sector is to be developed under the SEZ regime.

Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism.

The The Jamaican government is set to develop the island as a logistics supply hub for the local resort industry and other tourist countries in the region.

In May, Wilfred Baghaloo, Partner: PwC Southern Caribbean Deals, was named the new president of a new logistics center designed to address supply chain challenges specific to the hospitality industry.

The terms of reference (ToR) of the project are being developed by the Ministry of Tourism, the Jamaica Observer was informed.

Baghaloo told the Business Observer that the logistics hub is a natural extension of tourism linkage efforts and broader efforts to revive the hospitality sector post-pandemic.

He said: “The idea for the logistics supply hub for Jamaica and the other Caribbean islands grew out of the tourism recovery task force that I chaired between March 2020 and September 2020, which resulted in the reopening of our tourism sector on June 15, 2020 through the creation of a tourism corridor and very strong COVID protocols throughout the industry. These protocols have been adopted/recommended by many multilaterals and possibly many other countries.

“In addition to lobbying/recommendations to the GOJ, the rationale and mechanisms for reopening the sector in June 2020 [the earliest in the region, I believe]a report was produced and delivered to the GOJ addressing a host of issues affecting the sector, including the need for new laws dealing with harassment and the need to refocus a supply center for local and regional needs.

Local supply chain coordination

The Ministry of Tourism is now moving forward with the idea of ​​the supply hub. Baghaloo said, “We already have companies with the base to grow or mold into this role, such as Kingston Wharves, Caribbean Producers Jamaica, GraceKennedy, Mussons, Neal and Massy, ​​Lasco, Wisynco, Rainforest, des spice companies, furniture suppliers and others. to local hotels and many of our local farmers and cosmetics producers.

The business management specialist said: “The basic idea is to improve linkages in the tourism sector, and in doing so we will give Jamaican entities the muscle to grow regionally and internationally. It will also allow Jamaica to use our assets such as our ports and our location.

He underlined that the creation of the supply centre(s) will allow a constant supply to the sector and minimize any future risk of supply problems; reduce costs for the sector; and create more local connections.

He said he should also extract revenue from the sector for Jamaica, with the private and public sectors to benefit; and also, “Hopefully create an infrastructure that will facilitate the transformation of Jamaica into a hub or mini-hub for some cruise lines.”

Baghaloo noted that the hub will use the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) regime to create these sourcing hubs, saying, “I think Jamaica is at a point where we need to stop being afraid to think big and think differently. and, most importantly, stop being afraid to take calculated risks. We cannot grow the economy in the same spirit over the past 60 years.

End the fear

He added: “Our young private sector leaders are well educated and willing to take calculated risks. So we have to create this platform for them. Our public sector, Cabinet and Parliament must act now to create an expansionary environment for the new breed of young entrepreneurs and stop being afraid by constantly looking over their shoulders.

In April 2022, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said a tourism logistics supply hub was planned under the Special Economic Zone regime. The intention, he said, was to facilitate continued recovery in the resort sector.

Bartlett, during a meeting with industry players in Montego Bay, said the creation of a tourism logistics supply hub, through the special economic zone, will bring together the necessary supplies first for Jamaica, then for the rest of the region.

At another meeting in Kingston, the Tourism Minister explained how the pandemic has created a stifling challenge in the global demand and supply of goods and services.

He said creative willpower was needed “to pull Jamaica out of this disruption that has happened.”

Willfred Baghaloo, president of the station’s new logistics supply center being planned..

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