Jamaica ‘ready’ for Panama Canal Expansion


Real Admiral Peter Brady, the director general of the maritime authority of Jamaica (MAJ), has announced that the country is already prepped for the larger vessels expected after the opening of the Panama Canal expansion.

During a JIS think tank last Wednesday, Brady said that the MAJ already has the necessary personnel to carry out mandatory inspections on Panamax ships.

Under the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, a minimum of 15 percent of all ships that visit Jamaican ports must be inspected.

However, during the think tank, Brady stated that the port state control inspectors often exceeded targets.

Speaking to the Jamaica Observer, Brady said: “We need vessels to come here uninterrupted in a predictable regulatory environment that's globally recognised so the MAJ, through the Shipping Act, provides for that.”

“When the ships are in transit, in Jamaican waters and even while in port, through the provisions of the Port Authority Act, we must ensure that they are operating in a harmonised system with the rest of the world.”

Brady went on to note that shipping lines were more likely to consider entering into trade relationships if they were certain about all clearance procedures issued by the MAJ in regards to safety, pollution protection and inspection procedures.

With the expanded Panama Canal now set for a December 2015 open-date, to some, the announcement may appear rather hasty. However, given that nearly 93 percent of all Jamaica’s trade is ocean borne, being prepared could give the country a head start in its quest to build large-scale relations.

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