CMA CGM plans expansion at Kingston hub
The CMA CGM Group said Wednesday it plans to expand its use of a terminal in Kingston, timing improvements there with expansion of the Panama Canal.
CMA CGM said it signed a memorandum of understanding Aug. 4 “for the operation, equipment and expansion of the Gordon Cay Container Terminal in the Jamaican port of Kingston, for a minimum period of 35 years.
“The project to widen the Panama Canal will require a major reorganization of shipping, particularly in the Caribbean and North America region,” the company said. The new canal will nearly triple the size of containerships able to use the canal to at least 12,500 TEUs.
“Transport distribution will only be possible from a hub that can accommodate these giants, which is currently not the case for most ports in the Caribbean and on the United States East Coast,” CMA CGM said.
“Development of a central hub in Kingston will allow CMA CGM to take full advantage of these changes,” the French shipping company added.
While some U.S. ports have deepened or are seeking to deepen their harbors in order to allow direct calls by the larger ships that will be able to pass through the canal, some analysts think shipping companies may seek to offload cargo at terminals in Panama or other locations around the Caribbean and serve U.S. ports with smaller feeder ships.
In Kingston, CMA CGM said it would take over operations at current facilities and begin a phased expansion that would give the Gordon Cay Terminal a 1,300-meter quay after the first phase, with potential to develop an extra 1,700 meters of quay. The terminal will have 17 meters (55 feet) of draft to accommodate 'new Panamax' vessels. The expanded terminal will be fully commissioned in 2015.
'This project is a strategic investment for CMA CGM, and illustrates the group's willingness to be ahead of the game in anticipating changes that will result from widening the Panama Canal. This agreement confirms the CMA CGM Group's historic commitment to Jamaica and the region,' said Rodolphe Saad', chief executive officer of CMA CGM.