CHAIRMAN of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee Keith Duncan has joined the call to Jamaica’s private sector to consider nearshoring opportunities as international events such as the Russia-Ukraine war, global inflation and high freight charges continue to frustrate supply chains.

“So the whole supply chain and logistics architecture is changing and Jamaica is perfectly positioned, based on our location, for nearshoring opportunities and I believe the private sector is very much seized on that fact,” Duncan said at an EPOC press brief last week.

He said that Jamaica has been a beneficiary of nearshoring as companies in North America invest in the local business process outsourcing sector and higher-value information and communication technology operations.

“In fact, we got a report from the Global Services Association [of Jamaica] that there is need for over 160,000 square feet of business process outsourcing space in Kingston and St Catherine. So that means that investors are looking at Jamaica,” he shared.

Nearshoring exports

Duncan believes, however, that in addition to being a beneficiary in nearshoring, Jamaica can play a more significant role in nearshoring through exports to countries in the region, echoing calls from Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Senator Aubyn Hill and Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association President John Mahfood.

In particular, he pointed out nearshoring opportunities for players in the agriculture and agro-processing sector, which has seen an upswing in output in the January – March 2022 period.

According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin), the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector led growth within the goods-producing industries during the first quarter of 2022 with an 8.2 per cent increase in output. Director general of Statin Carol Coy attributed this uptick to fair weather conditions.