TransJam Highway on the road to recovery as traffic rebounds
Transjamaican Highway operates the East-West section of Highway 2000 (50 km from Kingston to May Pen and the Portmore Causeway) through a concession agreement.
TransJamaican Highway Limited (TJH) says its traffic volume is improving under COVID-19 conditions.
The company, which listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) earlier this year, in its financial statements for the quarter ended March, disclosed that the COVID-19 pandemic was impacting traffic.
In a press release via the JSE on Tuesday, Thierry Parizot, Managing Director of TJH said usage has been going up since May.
In the first two months of 2020, there was a 2.1 per cent increase in toll transactions compared to the same period in 2019.
But by mid-March, national measures taken to limit the spread of the virus started weighing on motorway traffic.
The reduction in traffic volumes in March was 19.3 per cent following the closure of schools; all-island curfews and the work-from-home order issued by the Government of Jamaica for non-essential workers, Parizot outlined.
April 2020 saw a significant decrease (52 per cent when compared with April 2019) due to additional measures introduced such as the lockdown of the parish of St Catherine, which started on April 15.
However, Parizot stated, “the end of this confinement on May 1 was immediately followed by an increase in traffic on the motorway, as the decline fell to 34.2 per cent when compared to May 2019.”
June also, to date, is only down 20 per cent when compared to the previous year and “confirms a gradual recovery in traffic and is anticipated to continue throughout the month,” the company head said.
TransJamaican Highway is estimating that the overall decline for the first quarter of 2020 will near 20 per cent, subject to confirmation once the month has ended.
Parizot, however, noted, “given the uncertainties still hanging over the pace of economic recovery and the measures that could again be taken to stem the health crisis we are experiencing, it is difficult at this time to make a revised forecast for the second half of the current year.”
He stated, “It is to be noted that the initial forecasts for 2020 showed traffic growth of around one per cent compared to 2019 where the number of transactions was 24.2 million (66,223 vehicles per day).”
Transjamaican Highway operates the East-West section of Highway 2000 (50 km from Kingston to May Pen and the Portmore Causeway) through a concession agreement signed in 2001 for 35 years.
After the repurchase of TJH’s shares from its historic shareholders (notably the French companies Bouygues Travaux Publics and Vinci Concessions) by the National Road Operating and Constructing Company Ltd in December 2019, the company was listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange in March 2020.
As part of the refinancing of its former loans, secured notes for MUSD 225 were issued by the company at the beginning of this year, being rated B+ by S&P Global Ratings and BB- by Fitch Ratings.