Portmore Informatics Park expansion under way

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) breaks ground for the development of 150,000 sq ft Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) space at the Portmore Informatics Park in St Catherine on February 16. He is joined by (from left): President and CEO of the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), Professor Gordon Shirley; Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Dr Horace Chang; PAJ Chairman, Ambassador Nigel Clarke; and Portmore Mayor, His Worship Leon Thomas. The US$23 million project is being implemented by the PAJ and will create 3,000 jobs.

The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) yesterday broke ground for an expanded Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) cluster in Portmore, the Portmore Informatics Park (PIP), a project valued at $2.2 billion.

The 157,000-square-foot expansion, set for land near the new Portmore Town Centre, is to be constructed by China Harbour Engineering Company over 12 months. It will see the build-out of a mini campus, catering to the needs of stakeholders involved in the outsourcing sector and services industry.

President and CEO of the Port Authority, Professor Gordon Shirley, said at the event that while plans for the informatics park were 17 years old, the current design had been tweaked to meet the needs of the industrial sector.

Facilities will serve both BPO workers and support services. The Development Bank of Jamaica was mentioned as a financing partner.

The PIP is currently home to Alorica, formerly West Corporation, a United States-based company, which is also in expansion mode and has approximately 1,000 employees within the park.The PAJ earlier this month broke ground for a 63,000-square-foot campus in Montego Bay, St James.

The authority is increasing its investment in space for BPO, which is valued for its employment and foreign exchange revenue earning potential.

The Port Authority currently has investment of more than $10 billion in BPO facilities (office, factory and paved areas) in Kingston, Montego Bay and Portmore. Currently, facilities are 93 per cent occupied with 83 companies and 10,145 employed.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who was present for the groundbreaking in Portmore, said that the BPO sector was key to reaching the country’s employment goals of 200,000 new jobs by 2020.

Employment, he said, was needed to cure crime and also provide Jamaicans with greater independence.

He said that the informatics park was a project long in the pipeline and it was his job to reach for such projects and “dig them out, cutting through the bureaucracy that sometimes becomes self-serving”.

Jamaica’s BPO industry has more than 40 companies operating in the ICT/BPO sector. It currently employs 22,000 people. Revenues from the industry grew from approximately US$230 million in 2012 to US$400 million in 2015.

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