Jamaica and China sign preliminary agreement for transshipment hub

Chinese ambassador Dong and Omar Davis

The government of Jamaica has signed a preliminary framework agreement with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for the development of the controversial Goat Island transshipment hub, southwest of the capital Kingston, Jamaica's state information service said on Tuesday. 

Dr Omar Davies, Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, signed the agreement with China Engineering Company (CHEC) for the development of a transshipment hub in the Portland Bight and for a feasibility study of the damming of the Bog Walk Gorge on March 28.

Dr. Davis said: “We treasure the preservation of the environment, as much as any other group, and we are concerned about the human beings and the plight of poverty, and the impact which that has on the environment.” 

Davis said the project does not harm the environment and will improve people's living standards and that after the required studies, including environmental studies, are carried out the project would be going ahead.

The proposed transshipment hub is projected to create as many as 10,000 jobs when completed and as many as 2,000 during the construction phase.

The project is controversial because the Portland Bight Protected Area locally called the Goat Islands, is inhabited by insects and small reptiles and serves as a breeding ground for fish and other marine species, which has led to opposition to the project by local environmentalists.

CHEC estimates that the project will take five years to complete.