Site logo

PAJ’s trans-shipment volumes increasing

The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) continues to benefit from an increase in regional nearshoring activities, with the handling of trans-shipment containers accounting for approximately 85 per cent of the total 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) at the port of Kingston in 2022. Domestic containers accounted for the remaining 15 per cent.

Trans-shipment relates to cargo originating internationally which is temporarily stored for transit and destined for another port. A TEU is a shipping container whose internal dimensions measure about 20 feet long, eight feet wide, and eight feet tall. It can hold between nine and 11 pallets.

During 2020, Kingston ports, the PAJ reported, saw the highest number of vessel calls as well as container volumes in the month of May. Previously, such numbers were only seen in 2016.

In 2021, there was a 26 per cent increase in the container volumes year-over-year, indicating that volumes passing through the Panama Canal increased and that Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL) continued its upward trend from the increase in volumes.

There has been even greater advances in 2023, with CEO of the PAJ, Professor Gordon Shirley, sharing with Wednesday Business that for the first nine months, the port has processed 1.73 million TEUs when compared to 1.62 million TEUs at a similar point in 2022. He said the growth indicates that volumes have grown by approximately seven per cent for this period.

“The growth in volumes is being driven by increased activity at the KFTL, with average monthly visits of 134 when compared to 114 in 2022,” he said.

Previously, the PAJ head attributed the uptick in traffic – marked by increased volumes – to the reopening of economies within the region, as well as the associated consumer demands.

Cargo volumes processed at the port of Kingston have grown steadily since the privatisation of the Kingston Container Terminal in 2016. In 2022, KFTL and Kingston Wharves Limited processed approximately 2.17 million TEUs, representing an eight per cent increase in container volume over the previous year (2021: 2.00 million TEUs).

Trans-shipment hubs play a crucial role in facilitating the movement of goods between different countries and regions. Domestic cargo may flow into and out of these trans-shipment hubs — including private wharves across the island known as sufferance wharves – as part of a larger logistics strategy. Among the sufferance wharves are Carib Cement, Jamaica Gypsum, Petrojam, Port Esquivel, Old Harbour, Rio Bueno, and Port Rhodes. However, the majority of cargo flows through Kingston.

Domestic cargo may also benefit from trans-shipment hubs by gaining access to a wider range of transportation options and global trade/shipping routes.

In the meantime, the PAJ has applied technology through its PCS system to reduce port congestion in the capital city. However, Shirley says that other things need to be done.

“Encouraging local manufacturers/distributors to retrieve their containers timely; expansion of the port area to create additional space; and equivalent loading and unloading, which means that the number of containers unloaded should be the number of containers loaded,” he pointed out.

Failure to move cargo in a timely manner puts pressure on storage facilities. The Port Authority of Jamaica has approximately 729,050 sq ft of building space dedicated to factory, warehousing and distribution.

Currently, 97 per cent of the space is leased.

“We continue to collaborate with stakeholders to determine the need for additional space,” the PAJ head noted.

Read More


  • No comments yet.
  • Add a comment