By the Caribbean Journal staff
May 7, 2014 | 5:11 pm
New planned ferry service in Jamaica will connect the country’s three main tourism hubs: Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios.
The $30 million project is being led by US-based Paradise Ferry, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the service with the Port Authority of Jamaica in Kingston on Tuesday.
The service is expected to be introduced by February 2015, according to a government statement.
“The big winners arising from this investment will be Jamaica’s tourism industry, with a brand new attraction; the resort towns of Ocho Rios and Negril and the city of Montego Bay, which will benefit from the commercial and aesthetic revitalization of the Montego Bay waterfront, and of course the people of Jamaica, who can look forward to another vacation option, jobs and the new skills to be created from this venture,” said Industry Minister Anthony Hylton.
Garry Johnson, CEO of Paradise Ferry, said the company was looking to begin “detailed negotiations” with the Urban Development Commission towards acquiring property in Montego bay to build a 30-foot terminal.
Johnson said the project would create around 170 jobs in the country.
“We are not a cruise ship coming in to drop people off and depart. We are here. We are buying our resources, we are buying our fuel, we are catering, providing security, IT, accounting, and legal help, all from Jamaica,” he said. “So, this is a complement to the first class tourism product that is here in Jamaica.”
He also said the terminal itself would be an attraction.
“Some people view this as transportation, but it really is an attraction, it is an excursion,” he said. “You can take the ferry from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios or from Montego Bay to Negril and back, and see the island in a way you would never have seen it before and for that you are going to have to be transported to and from the terminal by existing ground transportation providers.”
Johnson, who was born in Hanover and grew up in the United States, said the project would be “an attractive force in Montego Bay.”
The government said the negotiations were facilitated by JAMPRO, the country’s investment promotion board.