KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and Canada-based maritime company, Ocean, have signed a 10-year concession agreement, which will result in an improvement in towage services in the Port of Kingston.
Towage is the pulling of ships and other vessels along the water, usually by means of a small steamer called a tug.
Aimed at meeting the growing demand for harbour towing services, the agreement will result in three of the latest generation of tugboats, capable of approximately a 70t bollards pull, being deployed from Ocean's fleet to the Kingston Harbour at the end of this month.
“We will have no challenge in handling the very large vessels that now transit the Panama Canal into our region,” said PAJ President, Professor Gordon Shirley.
“We know they (Ocean) have deep experience in this particular field (so) they are an ideal partner,” he added at the contract-signing ceremony at the PAJ headquarters in Kingston today.
Shirley said the undertaking is among steps being taken to develop the port community since the 2016 signing of a 30-year concession agreement with the Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL), a fully owned subsidiary of one of the world's largest shipping lines – CMA CGM.
“Since then, they have been spending $500 million in the upgrade of the KFTL facility. The access channel to the harbour has been dredged, Gordon Quay is being reconstructed, already a half of it has been completed – over 600 metres – to take larger ships and to withstand environmental conditions that we now know are frequent,” he noted.
Shirley said Ocean will ensure that Jamaica has a “world-class harbour towage service in Kingston,” which underpins the PAJ's commitment to the important shipping lines that have been serving Jamaica for years.
They include ZIM, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, COSCO and Hamburg Süd.