TransJamaican Highway records traffic increase in December

TransJamaican Highway Limited (TJH) has indicated that while traffic volumes for 2020 are still below par, the December quarter saw a seasonal increase which benefited the company.

TJH Managing Director Thierry Parziot, in a release on January 8, 2021, said that for the fourth quarter of 2020, the decrease in the number of toll transactions on Highway 2000 East-West, when compared to the same period of 2019, was limited to 10.2 per cent and similar to that of the third quarter 2020 (-10.1 per cent).

The Portmore leg of the East-West Highway 2000 (File photo)

This result was mainly due to the much-improved levels of traffic observed in December 2020 (-3.1  per cent compared to December 2019).

The company’s core business activity is the development, operation and maintenance of a toll road network that forms “Highway 2000 East-West”, a 49.9km tolled motorway with two distinct corridors: T1 – 43.45km between Kingston and May Pen, and T2 – 6.5km between Portmore and Kingston.

It operates four toll plazas, located at May Pen, Vineyards (at Old Harbour), Spanish Town, and Portmore.

Vineyards Toll in St Catherine, Jamaica (File photo)

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 listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange in March 2020.

2020 financial performance

TJH saw revenues of US$53.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Parziot outlined that operations have, in general, been affected by the continued closure of schools and the additional measures put in place after the September 2020 General Election, which included tightening of the curfew hours and reintroduction of the “work from home” order issued by the Government for non-essential workers. 

He recalled that the measures implemented to fight the pandemic earlier in the year resulted in a drop in traffic of 34.5 per cent over one year in the second quarter of 2020. 

(File photo)

Toll volumes for October and November 2020 fell by 16.3 per cent and11.8  per cent, respectively.

“As [with] every year, the traffic peak was reached during the Christmas holidays (90,000 transactions on December 24, 2020). For the full year 2020, a total of 20.6 million toll transactions were recorded (i.e 56,268/day), down 14.8 per cent compared to 2019 (24.2 million),” the release stated. 

As part of the refinancing of its former loans, TJH issued secured notes for MUSD 225 at the beginning of this year, with ratings of B+ from S&P Global Ratings and BB- from Fitch Ratings.