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11

BPO JAMAICA: NEWS

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2018

T

HE MONTEGO Bay Free Zone

(MBFZ) is set to surpass 10,000

workers by year end.

The historic feat will become a reality with

National Pen Jamaica’s planned expansion

of its labour pool from the current 175 to

235.

The 665,000-square-foot business park

has been supporting a generation of

success since inception in March 1985,

when Akom Garment Manufacturer opened

its operation, occupying the first available

building of 35,000 square feet of space.

During the peak of the ‘807’-garment

manufacturing era, the zone had over

430,000 square feet of space being utilised

for garment production and more than 6,000

persons employed, but production would

wane by the year 2000, just as the demand

for more space for the outsourcing sector

saw the Port Authority of Jamaica increasing

its acreage at the MBFZ with a 20-acre plot.

Four buildings have been constructed on the

20-acre plot, with the most recent one

completed in March of this year.

The outsourcing sector was developed

through a partnership between MBFZ and

the former Cable and Wireless (now FLOW)

subsidiary Jamaica Digiport International

(JDI) prior to the liberalisation of the telecom

sector.

This began with data operations and

reservations services in 1990. The

restructuring of the telecommunications

sector paved the way for the development of

the business processing outsourcing (BPO)

sector, with the MBFZ being the prime

mover in the Government-driven shift to

information and communication technology.

Since then, the MBFZ has provided

facilities for BPO, starting with data

operations, and later on software

development, electronic assembling,

reservation services, and, since the last

decade, customer support services, sales,

finance and accounting, admin and HR

support and technical support.

The MBFZ now boasts 32 service

providers and has the largest concentration

of BPO companies in Jamaica, including

global operators Conduent (formerly Xerox)

and Teleperformance.

In keeping with the service-oriented

environment that characterises western

Jamaica, the MBFZ continues to provided a

nurturing environment for private-sector

development in BPO, where companies

have expanded to occupy spaces in private

sector-owned facilities. One such example is

Vistaprint, which opened its first centre in the

MBFZ in 2003 and has grown into a

multinational public company and expanded

in private sector-owned land in its own

building in 2013. Conduent Jamaica, which

has its genesis in the MBFZ (through various

acquisitions), has done the same kind of

expansion into private sector-owned facilities

in Montego Bay and Kingston.

The MBFZ’s supporting environment

also creates critical linkages in

telecommunications, supporting the growing

BPO businesses.

MBFZ to surpass 10,000

worker mark by December