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Kingston Wharves to increase capacity to one million containers

Port operator Kingston Wharves Limited plans to increase its yard space by 25 per cent over the next 18 months to handle one million containers.

It is part of the ongoing US$60-million investment in the terminal and logistics operations at the port in Kingston.

“We believe in the next 12 to 18 months we will be able to move the boundary of the terminal by one block, that will have 25 per cent more capacity for berthing and yard space, to expand the business,” said Kingston Wharves CEO Mark Williams at the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday.

The port company operates logistics and terminal services which includes nine docks or berths for ships to offload cargo. The terminal growth includes expanding Berth 7 to allow for larger ships to dock, expanding the terminal’s boundary towards Marcus Garvey Drive, and also demolishing and relocating some buildings away from the terminal.

“When we couple all of that, then we will be able to manage one million TEUs [twenty-foot equivalent containers] in KW. Now we are about 500,000 or 600,000 TEUs,” he said.

Kingston Wharves has had a years-long programme of investing in expansion, which has served to grow its capacity threefold since 2015 when its capacity was 200,000 TEUs.

The latest round of investing in cargo-handling capacity will surpass US$30 million. The current investment programme also includes US$25 million for build-out of the logistics centre operated by Kingston Wharves.

The plans include installation of 60,000 square feet of cold storage and 70,000 square feet for dry goods.

“Nearshoring is a real opportunity for countries like Jamaica. We are putting our money down and realising those opportunities,” said Williams.

In the quarter ending March, KW generated revenue of $2.3 billion, while profit rose to $684 million. Both the top and bottom lines grew two per cent relative to March 2022.

“We feel that after investing US$60 million in our terminal and logistics, we must grow the bottom line of our business,” said Williams.

“Our terminal business is well structured and well invested. We feel there are opportunities to grow in our logistics business. We feel that as a company, we want to get into every area of logistics and transportation,” he said.

The company, in conjunction with major international carriers, connects to some 45 destinations in the Caribbean and Latin American and to select ports worldwide.

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