Improved Facilities Boost Petrojam’s Asphalt Export Capacity

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Jamaica’s economy stands to benefit from increased foreign exchange earnings, following Petrojam Limited’s improved infrastructural capability to export larger volumes of asphalt. On July 30, 2019, Petrojam, for the first time in the history of its operations, exported a shipment of 22,500 barrels of Performance Grade asphalt valued at approximately US$1.45 million. Petrojam’s General Manager, Winston Watson explained that this shipment represented a milestone in the company’s operation. “This is not the first marine shipment of asphalt for Petrojam. Previously we were only able to export smaller volumes of asphalt to several Caribbean territories (up to seven thousand barrels of asphalt from our Dry Cargo Dock). Today, with an improved loading facility, we are now able to load larger volumes of asphalt, up to 25,000 barrels of asphalt for export,” he noted.  

“We now have the opportunity to operate the asphalt unit to higher levels of capacity utilization, since we are now able to move the product in higher volumes, because of our enhanced asphalt loading capabilities at one of our docks, which can accommodate vessels up to 160 metres long requiring water depth of 10.8 metres,” he added.    The Petrojam GM said that there is a large market for asphalt both locally and regionally. Road paving, he stated, constitutes more than 50% of the asphalt market internationally and more than 80% locally. He pointed out that there was a growing demand for asphalt for the construction and real estate sectors for building construction repair, and waterproofing purposes. “The vast majority of the nation’ s roadways are paved with asphalt produced by Petrojam. All of the North-South Highway, as well as a significant portion of the East-West Highway, was paved using asphalt from Petrojam. In addition, most if not all of the current road improvement projects are being paved with asphalt produced by the company,” Mr Watson stated. 

“We are also exporting asphalt by ISO Tanks (20-foot container size) to regional customers. We will be maximizing every available opportunity to export and aim to have similar or higher volumes of asphalt exported every 6-8 weeks.”

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