Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill (centre), in discussion with IGL Limited Managing Director, Peter Graham (left), during Wednesday’s (March 16) commissioning ceremony for the firm’s pressure swing absorption (PSA) plant at Ferry, St. Catherine, which was developed at a cost of nearly $100 million. Listening (from second left) are Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz; Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives, Anthony Hylton; and Opposition Spokesman on Health, Dr. Morais Guy.
Jamaica’s ability to produce medical-grade oxygen has been further bolstered with the commissioning of IGL Limited’s pressure swing absorption (PSA) plant at Ferry, St. Catherine. The plant was developed at a cost of nearly $100 million.
The facility was formally commissioned into service by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, who represented Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, during a ceremony on Wednesday (March 16).
The plant’s development will boost IGL’s production capacity for oxygen by more than 40 per cent.
Its introduction will reduce the risk of supply disruptions previously occasioned by the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection surges and serve to mitigate similar occurrences in the event of other high-demand situations.
The new plant complements the existing air separation unit that manufactures liquid oxygen and nitrogen, which was built in 2018.
This expansion now positions IGL to be an exporter of medical-grade oxygen, among other industrial gases, and a net earner of foreign exchange for Jamaica.
Senator Hill, who was the keynote speaker, lauded IGL’s management, led by Managing Director, Peter Graham, noting that “our health sector and economy will undoubtedly benefit from this investment”.
Senator Hill pointed out that prior to IGL making oxygen available, Jamaica relied on imports to supply the commodity, particularly to hospitals.
He posited that the full value of having the commodity available locally was amplified during the pandemic, “as the global supply diminished and many countries scrambled to fill the very heightened demand occasioned by the virus”.
“As our nation grappled with the coronavirus and oxygen was needed to save our lives… IGL stepped up. Your responsive leadership and dedicated service was noticed and appreciated by many, many Jamaicans… . I would dare to say, all Jamaicans,” the Minister added.
Senator Hill, who noted oxygen supply challenges experienced during the course of the pandemic, pointed out that IGL, through “firm commitment and with a strong sense of service”, was able to address these “in a very timely manner”.
“Your quick and careful action went a long way to help control Jamaica’s mortality rate and reduce the stress occasioned by the pandemic. On behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, I extend sincere appreciation to you and your staff who have ensured that this critical commodity was delivered to our hospitals across the island,” he added.
Senator Hill reaffirmed the Industry Ministry’s commitment to assist local businesses to grow and expand their operations to supply domestic and export markets, while emphasising that “[now] is the time to invest… in Jamaica”.
Also attending the commissioning of the plant was Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz.
In his remarks, he said the occasion of the commissioning “should be marked with celebration”.
“This feat is not one to be taken lightly, especially in the face of the pandemic, which continues to cause significant strain on resources of many organisations,” he noted.
He emphasised that IGL’s development of the plant “speaks to sound vision and good leadership as well as a deep commitment to Jamaica and its people”.
In this regard, Mr. Vaz said IGL should be lauded for its effort, while describing Mr. Graham as a “true son of the Jamaican soil”.
Mr. Graham said IGL, in recognition of the importance of the entity’s products to Jamaica, proceeded with the programmed investment and expansion of its operations, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, citing the decision as “important and significant”.
He also hinted that the expansion forms part of IGL’s vision of building out a high-tech industrial park, featuring cutting-edge state-of-the-art technology that would form the nucleus of what he described as the ‘New Ferry’.
IGL’s Chairman, Bevon Francis, said the commissioning was a “historic occasion” for the entity, coming in its 60th year of service to Jamaica.
“This is all the more significant in the context of Jamaica’s celebration of 60 years of Independence,” he added.
Mr. Francis noted that over the past six decades, IGL has grown and, in the process, earned the “coveted reputation” as Jamaica’s leading distributor of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and primary manufacturer and distributor of industrial and medical gases.
He maintained that IGL is a manufacturer, distributor, and valuable member of the industrial sector, and employer of more than 438 team members, adding that ‘we have grown steadily over the years, and we are still in expansion mode”.
Among the guests was Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives, Anthony Hylton, who delivered brief remarks.
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The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is described as Jamaica's "Business Ministry." It's mandate is to lead the development of policies that will create growth and jobs, while achieving social inclusion and consumer protection. The Ministry, working its stakeholders is primarily responsible for business policy development, monitoring and evaluation, while giving direction and oversight to a cluster of implementing departments and agencies.
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