Find Transport expertise in Jamaica
- Industry bodies
Jamaica has almost 19,000 km of roads, about 70% of which are paved. The country’s main ports are in Kingston and Montego Bay in the north-west, with adequate facilities for bulk cargoes of petroleum, flour, cement, gypsum and lumber. In all, there are around 14 seaports in Jamaica.
The country’s international airports are Norman Manley International, 17 km south-east of the capital Kingston, and Montego Bay International, 3 km north of the capital. Jamaica also has four domestic aerodromes.
The railway network covers about 350 km of track and is run by the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC). The track is principally for goods transportation and after announcing the return of passenger services in 2011, JRC stopped the service in 2012.
There are multiple bus and taxi services in the country. Those vehicles registered with the Jamaica Union of Travellers Association (JUTA) have a red number plate and are considered more accountable than some private transport services. As an island nation of one landmass ferry services, although used by locals, are also popular with tourists and not a key aspect of quotidian transportation. Commuting tends to be by road either on public transport or in private cars.
The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report (2012-2013) measures the quality of infrastructure in various areas on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 indicates that infrastructure is extremely underdeveloped and 7 that it is extensive and efficient by international Standards. In quality of overall infrastructure Jamaica scored 4.2, just below the world average of 4.3, placing it in 76th position out of 144 countries. Jamaica came in a similarly moderate position (83rd) in quality of roads with a score of 3.6, but it came lower in quality of railroad infrastructure in 117th place with a score of 1.3, well below the world mean of 3.1. Quality of port infrastructure (39th) and quality of air transport infrastructure (37th) are similarly good both scoring above the world mean with 5.1 and 5.5 respectively. The report also records that there were 134.8 million seat km per week originating from Jamaica.
The Jamaica Infrastructure Development Programme which sees collaboration with Chinese investors in transport infrastructure redevelopment has proved controversial due to a perceived lack of transparency at the top level. It is hoped that a 2012 audit of the programme will resolve these concerns.
The Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing is responsible for the country’s land, sea and air transport.
The National Works Agency maintains and develops Jamaica’s road infrastructure and whilst the Jamaica Transport Authority (JTA) is responsible only for the monitoring and regulation of public transport services in urban and rural Jamaica. The JTA issues licences and schedules routes and timetables amongst other responsibilities. Licenced taxis and buses with a red number plate must be registered with The Jamaican Union of Travellers Association (JUTA).
Under the Highway 2000 Project Jamaica saw the introduction of toll roads which are now overseen by the Toll Authority of Jamaica.
The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority oversees the air transport sector and is the regulatory body responsible for the licensing of flight crew, maintenance engineers and air traffic controllers.