Port expansion

The project to expand the port in Kingston will allow Jamaica to remain competitive in the region’s maritime trade sector following the launch of new canal locks in Panama. Under this EPC contract, works will be carried out by VINCI Construction Grands Projets and EMCC (VINCI Construction) in consortium with the Belgian dredging company, Jan de Nul. This consortium was selected by CMA CGM, a major player in the global maritime transport industry and the concession-holder of the port of Kingston since July 1, 2016. The project calls for the rehabilitation, reinforcement, and upgrade to seismic standards of 1,200 metres of docks as well as dredging operations in the access channel and port of Kingston.


The Kingston port expansion initiative stems from the Panama Canal expansion project. On June 26, 2016 – following nine years of construction work – the Panama Canal expansion was inaugurated. The facility has doubled its capacity and now accommodates increased traffic. Two lock systems were built, new canals were excavated, existing channels were widened and deepened, and the maximum operational level of Gatun Lake was raised.
The expansion and rehabilitation works at the port of Kingston carried out by the consortium represent a strategic issue for the region: they will increase vessel draught to accommodate the very large Post-Panamax container ships (for which the Panama Canal was expanded).


Technical overview

The Kingston port expansion project consists, among other tasks, in changing all dock equipment, dredging the access channel, reinforcing the soil, recuperating 50,000 square metres of land for traffic purposes, and anchoring new, larger port cranes – all of this work to be carried out at a busy site.
To conduct this mandate, VINCI Construction Grands Projets is relying on EMCC’s specialised knowledge in maritime works and on Sodraco International for its dredging expertise.
The consortium was selected for the project on the basis of its enhancement of the basic initial solution that called for micropiles. Having to meet seismic standards and install cyclone-resistant port cranes dictated the need for an especially robust solution. That is why a variant – a pile-driving approach requiring the use of tubular and H piles – was put forward for this port-rehabilitation project.
To reinforce existing structures and protect them from the “instability” created by dredging operations next to the dock, an underpinning structure consisting of a fully immersed contiguous pile curtain was installed. Innovative methods and tools were required to implement the underpinning structure – truly a technical challenge.
The infrastructure was designed to withstand earthquakes and cyclones and bear the weight of the port cranes. In addition, it was scaled to accommodate Post-Panamax container ships in complete safety. Speaking of which, safety was a priority throughout the project, right from the design phase. That is why the initiative was designated as a pilot project for the deployment of our Safety in Design approach.

Following the expansion of the Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, the project will allow the port of Kingston to welcome the world’s largest container ships, operated by CMA CGM.


The Kingston port expansion project represents a major asset for the development of maritime trade in the region since the port is ideally positioned in proximity to the Panama Canal at the nexus between north-south and east-west shipping lines. As a result, the port of Kingston will become one of the three leading terminals for container ships in the Caribbean Sea. CMA CGM, the port’s new concession-holder, aims to make the port of Kingston a hub in the Caribbean.
This contract allows the VINCI Group to pursue its development in Jamaica, a country where it has been present for nearly 30 years. VINCI Construction Grands Projets has achieved several water-management projects (sanitation and water treatment) in Jamaica in the past 15 years. This project also allows the VINCI Group to pursue its partnership with the CMA CGM Group for which VINCI Construction developed and delivered a head office in Marseille, namely, the CMA CGM tower designed by architect Zaha Hadid.

Project participants

Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL), consortium formé de CMA CGM et Terminal Link (CMA CGM)

Project Management
Egis Port

Key figures

Implementation dates
November 2016 to November 2018

Sea dredging
7 million cubic metres

ranging from 15.85 to 18.5 metres

Water-management projects in Jamaica

Kingston-Lucea-Montego Bay-Mona & Hope-Bogue