A Memorandum of Understanding paving the way for the resumption of passenger and cargo rail service, was signed today at the Ministry of Transport and Mining, between the Jamaica Railway Corporation and Herzog Limited, out of the USA.
According to the terms and conditions of the MOU, Herzog will use the opportunity to undertake additional due diligence, including but not limited to securing financing prior to making a final business plan submission. Additionally, both JRC and Herzog will enter into the negotiations on a good faith basis to realize the objective of unlocking the value of JRC’s assets and creating economic activity. The MOU also sets out the principal terms and conditions under which the parties are willing to enter into a Concession Agreement to lease, purchase, finance, rehabilitate and/or operate the JRC assets.
Speaking at the Signing Ceremony, Transport Minister Mike Henry says the restoration of rail service is in alignment with the Ministry’s integrated, multi modal transport system which is aimed at seamlessly connecting air, sea and land. The Minister says that the vision for the re-start of the service is outlined in the National Transport Policy which speaks to the provision of a safe, economic, reliable and efficient transport service for the movement of passengers and freight across the island. He noted that the revitalization of the rail system has the potential to significantly transform the economic landscape along the rail corridor through tourism, freight, land development, communications and commuter services.
Herzog representative Dr. Sean Matthew hailed the signing of the MOU as a testament to his company’s interest in doing business in Jamaica. He said that Herzog plans to spend in excess of US$250M in developing the rail service and that they looked forward to strengthening the partnership with brand Jamaica as they moved forward.
The proposed rehabilitation of rail services is scheduled to be implemented as follows:
• Phase 1 Montego Bay to Appleton
• Phase 2a Spanish Town to Ewarton, Spanish Town to Clarendon Park
• Phase 2b Appleton to Clarendon Park
• Phase 3 Spanish Town to Kingston and
• Phase 4 Connectivity of existing line to Vernamfield
Meanwhile, chairman of Island Routes, Adam Stewart; chairman of Chukka Adventure Tours Ltd, John Byles and chairman of J. Wray and Nephew Ltd Clement Lawrence all endorsed the impending re-start of the service, noting that it will provide a fillip to the nation’s tourism and freight service capabilities.