10 Major Ports in Jamaica

Jamaica is an island country of the Caribbean Sea, spread over 10,990 square kilometres, making it the third-largest island (after Cuba and Hispaniola) of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean.

The island country lies about 140 kilometres south of Cuba, 191 kilometres west of Hispaniola. The British Overseas Territory in the Cayman Islands lies 215 kilometres to its northwest.

Jamaica receives much traffic from shipping containers due to its strategic location in the Caribbean Sea and being the central shipping lane to the Panama Canal. Its popularity is also due to the relative proximity to large markets in North America and the emerging markets in Latin America.

In recent years, the container terminal at the famous port of Kingston has undergone an expansion to handle growth both already released and the projected figure in coming years.

Another major port, the Montego Freeport in Montego Bay, also handles various cargo similar to (though more limited to) that of the Port of Kinston, but primarily agricultural products.

Several other ports exist around this island country, including the Port Esquivel in St. Catherine (HINDALCO), Port Rhoades in Discovery Bay, Rocky Point in Clarendon, Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios, Port Kaiser in St. Elizabeth, and Boundbrook Port in Port Antonio.

Jamaica operates nine lighthouses to aid the navigation of shipping.

The Port Authority of Jamaica, an organization of the Ministry of Transport and Works, is responsible for maintaining the navigation of shipping and the ports.

The Port Authority of Jamaica

The Port Authority of Jamaica (PA), an agency of the Ministry of Transport and Works, is responsible for the following.

  • Safety and security of all vessels navigating the ports of entry
  • Regulation and development of ports and shipping industry in Jamaica
  • Regulation of tariffs on primary goods that pass through the public piers across Jamaica

The Port Authority of Jamaica was established as a statutory corporation under the Port Authority Act of 1972. A Commercial-Free Port Zone and Distribution Hub under the port for the Americans is under development.

The Port of Kingston is gradually expanding to improve its facilities and conditions in response to the Panama Canal Extension since 2008. Jamaica is becoming the central transhipment hub in the Western Hemisphere and ultimately becoming a developed nation.

In a recent development, the Port Authority opened a new port for cruise ships in Falmouth, Trelawny. This new Jamaican Port at Trelawny is home to many merchants and cruise liners like the Royal Caribbean.

The port allows tourists to view and enjoy the sounds and sights of the port and the surrounding natural beauty of Jamaica. The Port Authority invited Air Ambulance Jamaica to monitor and provide aid and emergency services to any local or tourists with urgent medical assistance.

Port of Kingston

The Port of Kingston in Jamaica sits on the world’s seventh-largest natural harbour. This port sits on the strategic north/south-east/west axis across the Caribbean. It is approximately 32 miles away from the active trade routes that pass through the Panama Canal- an almost landlocked water area approximately 16 kilometres long and 3.2 kilometres wide.

The Port of Kingston moved up eight places to attain 56th rank among the World’s Top 100 Container Ports in 2005 while retaining its position as the leading trans-shipment port in the Latin American and the Caribbean region.

Port of Kingston
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The Port of Kingston is also known as the cultural capital of the Caribbean. This port welcomes visitors wholeheartedly to the nation’s capital. Kingston also does double duty as the island’s cultural capital, home to Jamaica’s essence, providing its tourists with music, entertainment, academia, business, and gastronomy.

Port of Montego Bay

Montego Bay is Jamaica’s second-largest, and it can accommodate up to four vessels. It is also an award-winning cruise in Jamaica. At least four ships can dock at the pier in Montego Bay’s Freeport zone, about 3meters and 5 kilometres west of downtown. Montego Bay is spread east and north around the harbour from the Freeport zone past the town centre and the tourist district.

Port of Montego Bay
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The city is the island’s tourism capital, and it boasts the most transport facilities, most hotel accommodation. It is also a cosmopolitan centre that offers a wide choice of amenities.

Port Antonio

It is the capital of the parish of Portland and lies on the northeastern coast of Jamaica. It is about 100 kilometres from Kingston. Port Antonio is the island’s third-largest port, famous as a shipping point for mostly bananas and coconuts and one of its most important tourist attractions.

Port Antonio
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Tourism is one of the significant contributors to the town’s economy. The island capital featured in major Hollywood films like Club Paradise, Cocktail, and James Bond films, and the Ken Wright Pier at the Errol Flynn Marina is the only one of Jamaica’s cruise ship ports. A few small cruise ships that visit Port Antonia tie up at the Ken Wright Pier in the West Harbor.

Port Kaiser

Port Kaiser
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Port Kaiser lies in the region of St. Elizabeth, located in Jamaica, 87 kilometres West of Kingston. Port of Kaiser is a tiny port in Jamaica that mainly handles general cargo at a small finger pier. The port of Kaiser has one main pier with depth alongside 11.5m.

Port of Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios is a port town located in Saint Ann parish on the north coast of Jamaica. One of the most popular ports in Jamaica lies the north coast, 60 kilometres North West of Kingston and 85 kilometres east of Montego Bay.

The port mainly comprises a cargo quay that handles sugar and other dry bulk cargoes and a passenger quay and anchorage that handles cruise vessels. The dock in Ocho Rios has two piers for cruise ships.

Port of Ocho Rios
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The main pier is Turtle Bay Pier which has enough space for two mid-sized ships to moor, but in reality, most of the time is used only by one mega-ship. This dock houses cruise ships and is the nearest to downtown. The other docking spot in Ocho Rios is known as the Reynold’s Pier, famous as James Bond Pier. This pier is within walking distance to downtown and has both cargo and cruise ships.

Facilities for small craft, including fishing, leisure, and tourist boats, are also available in this port.

Port of Lucea

Coastal town Lucea of Jamaica is the capital of the parish of Hanover. Lucea, the town and Caribbean port in the far northwestern Jamaica and northwest of Kingston, is a tiny port in Jamaica. The harbour in Port Lucea is well sheltered. Bananas and yams are the primary exportables, and there are phosphate deposits around the town.

Port of Lucea
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Rocky Point is a tiny settlement in Jamaica with a low population of 3,183 (tallied in 2009). Rocky Point has a small community and sits on the southern coast of Clarendon, Jamaica. The Port of Rocky Point is a tiny port in Jamaica that comes under the Port Authority of Jamaica’s direct control.

Port of Rio Bueno

Port of Rio Bueno
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Rio Bueno is yet another tiny settlement in Jamaica with a population of 1,096 as of 2009. It is a small seaside village on the border between the parishes of St Ann and Trelawny. Rio Bueno owes its importance, history, and livelihood to the Rio Bueno Harbor. The Rio Bueno Harbor is the deepest of all in Jamaica.
The Port of Rio Bueno is significantly tiny in Jamaica, maintained by the Port Authority of Jamaica.

Port Esquivel

Port Esquivel is a settlement on the south coast of Jamaica that primarily deals in handling aluminium oxide. The original Puerta de Esquivel was a harbour completed in 1959 and earned its name from the first deputy governor of the country Jamaica- Juan de Esquivel.

Port Esquivel was established as a loading port in the 1950s by Alumina Jamaica Limited. Port Esquivel is an alumina-handling facility located 35 kilometres west of Kingston. It is the only port on Jamaica’s south coast capable of accommodating large ships. The 645 feet pier is of concrete and steel and 35,000 tons of goods are regularly loaded and processed in a span of 38 hours. Two vessels can berth at a time at the port concurrently.

Port Esquivel
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There is a 23 km long channel that allows for the export of alumina and molasses and importing fuel oil and other alumina-related products like bauxite. In addition to this, Port Esquivel has its fire brigade.

Port of Morant Bay

Port of Morant Bay
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Port Morant is a small town in Saint Thomas Parish in southeastern Jamaica. It was once of the chief ports of the European settlement with heavy exports of bananas and production of rum being the primary industries here. The town at present is the trade centre for an area producing bananas, sugarcane, coconuts, vegetables, and livestock.

Ports in Jamaica Map

Conclusion

Jamaica- the exquisite island country of the West Indies, is also the third-largest in the Caribbean. We list out the principal and most essential ports in Jamaica controlled by the Port Authority of Jamaica.

Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendations on any course of action to be followed by the reader.

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