KWL exploring light motor vehicle assembly as part of logistics initiative
Shipping Association of Jamaica member company, Kingston Wharves (KWL) CEO Grantley Stephenson, has indicated that the port and logistics centre operator is exploring entering light assembly for motor vehicles as part of its logistics centre initiative. Stephenson was speaking at the opening of the latest part of this initiative, the Total Logistics Facility 160,000-square-foot multi-use warehouse that will revolutionise the way business is conducted on the ports.
Kingston Wharves, which recently opened its Global Logistics Facility for motor vehicles, has already signed deals with ATL Automotive and Jetcon to provide storage for their vehicles as part of its special economic zone licence. This allows the operators to have just in time access service to other regional markets without having them landed. Having established this facility, the company is now examining the feasibility of offering postponement services for motor vehicles and other services, such as switching vehicles from left- to right hand drives. Negotiations are now ongoing with new entrants to the facility with a view to offering this service.
Postponement is a supply chain strategy that has been employed, particularly where there can be many variants of the final product. The strategy is employed where forecasting of demand may be difficult and it is more practical to delay the final product until an order is received. For the motor vehicle industry, this helps with customisation of particular specs such as seat colour and stereo systems, among others. Kingston Wharves executing this strategy would open a more efficient path to customisation for customers across the region.
Stephenson was addressing an audience which included Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who officially opened the building; Minister of Transport and works Lester Michael Henry; minister without portfolio with responsibility for water, works and housing, Dr Horace Chang; minister of state in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Fayval Williams; Opposition spokesperson on development and national physical planning, Anthony Hylton; CEO of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Prof Gordon Shirley; Commissioner of Customs Velma Rickets Walker; and members of the business community, who were also treated to a tour of the new facility.
Holness, in his address, commended KWL for being bold in investing in the vision of Jamaica being a global logistics hub. He was particularly pleased with the prospects of the manufacturing endeavour and the opportunities that would come from this, particularly in creating employment, especially for young men. The prime minister highlighted further that this was an indication of an economy that is performing well and that the outlook is positive.
Chairman of Kingston Wharves Jeffrey Hall stated that the Total Logistics Facility is a part of a big vision for the company. He outlined that this has been a part of a 15-year strategy which seeks to position the company to take advantage of opportunities in shipping logistics, including the expansion of the Panama Canal. The company, he further outlined, will continue being visionary in driving change in how we do business on our ports.
The Kingston Wharves Total Logistics Facility is a 160,000-square-foot intelligently designed warehouse housing integrated customer service support and customs processing. This development creates a one-stop logistics and warehousing solution intended for 24-hour operations. Additionally, this also relocates on dock warehouses.
Customers will realise benefits through efficiency in time and process, as they will only need to go to one point to identify their cargo and do the necessary paperwork. This is particularly better for retail customers, such as those who clear household effects and barrels, as well as commercial customers who clear less-than-container-loads carg. There will also be further improved services, as customers no longer have to go on a working port as part of their process.