San Francisco: When the dust settled on Wednesday, French consortium CMA CGM emerged as the new owner of Kingston Container Terminal (KCT), acquiring a 30-year concession to operate what is one of the Caribbean’s foremost transshipment ports.
The deal worth $509m is effectively a temporary but quite long-term privatisation of what had been a majority state-owned Jamaican asset, under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) Model.
Jamaica’s political opposition had registered their disapproval by not attending the divestment ceremony on Tuesday, claiming they had been left in the dark about details of the deal.
CMA CGM will invest $600m to upgrade and expand KCT and operate it for 30 years under the banner of a newly formed company – Kingston Freeport Terminal Ltd (KFTL) – before transferring it back to Jamaica.
This will see the terminal expanded in two phases, with capacity taken successively up to 3.2m teu and then 3.6m teu, and the port’s draught deepened to 14.2 metres by the end of 2016, and then to 15.5 metres.
The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) revealed that there had been three shortlist contenders for the concession – DP World and PSA as well as CMA-CGM – but the other two dropped out.
CMA CGM, headquartered in Marseille, is one of the world’s largest container transportation and shipping companies.