The use of technology has remained a staple in modern day industry because it creates an enabling environment, which promotes innovation that has propelled globalization. Maritime and tourism are two such critical sectors that have benefited from such technology and stand to benefit more in light of the fourth industrial revolution. The handcart has been used by humans for centuries as a mode of transportation. It has remained relevant to this day, more so a positive contributor to public market experience in developing countries. Notwithstanding, this phenomenon remained largely under-explored and informal with little to no integration in the planning of public markets or market districts. As such, little study or research exists to inform policies to improve and integrate the handcart profession in the overall planning and rejuvenation of downtown Kingston, Jamaica. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to understand the characteristics and benefits of the handcart logistics by investigating the socioeconomic and spatial dynamics surrounding the operations of this mode of transportation.
Qualitative and quantitative techniques were used to completely grasp the complexity of factors that influence and sustain the handcart trade within the coronation market as well as its contribution to Jamaica’s economy. Collection of data was achieved via the administration of questionnaires supported by observations and interviews. Geographic Information System (GIS) was used along with satellite images to integrate spatial representations in the analysis and discussions of results.
Consistent with the reviewed literature, the results and analyses revealed that, despite the handcart’s informality and inadequate infrastructural support, handcarts are generally perceived as beneficial to market districts. They fill the transportation gaps where formal governance operations failed and contribute to the local economy by providing employment for low-skilled persons. The handcart industry has been sustained because of the need for the service by mostly vendors and shoppers but more so because of the economic benefits that have been accrued by builders, owners and operators.
The research focused on handcarts used to convey goods and not carts used as mobile vending carts. In addition, the geographical scope of the research is restricted to the Coronation Market in Kingston. Obtaining knowledge about the sector poses a challenge because some or all aspects of informal activity are not recorded. Various opportunities exist for the improvement of handcarts. As such, they must be incorporated in any future transportation improvement plans in the city of Kingston, Jamaica.
Despite the attempts to regularize the handcart phenomenon in the downtown Kingston market district, the handcart operators are still not incorporated in various plans and improvement initiatives. Notwithstanding, the benefits to the transportation gap and local economy warrants the need to pay keen attention to this phenomenon and promote regularization. With the introduction of Kingston as a UNESCO Creative City in 2016 and the advent of Airbnb, the potential exists for exponential growth in cultural and community tourism in downtown Kingston. The use of the handcart can therefore be leveraged and integrated in the tourism package to facilitate the movement of tourist luggage from bus terminals and parking lots to their destination in the downtown communities.
The handcart system is a prominent feature of market districts in Jamaica and, as such, this research bears high levels of significance because it can be replicated or used as a basis to inform handcart policies and the design to improve logistics in any tourism destination. The research serves as a body of knowledge to “all and sundry” because it unearthed some of the handcart’s attributes and contribution to the local economy, can contribute to adequate layout of Market districts by government to incorporate the handcart system, facilitate their integration in cultural and community tourism and facilitate the handcart trade being viewed by society as a profession. At the advent of this Fourth Industrial Revolution, an upgraded design of the handcart may appear.
The author would like to thank: Professor Ibrahim Ajagunna acting president at the Caribbean Maritime University, Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), Handcart Operators and Builders in Coronation Market, Jamaica Vendors, Higglers and Markets Association.
Campbell, S. (2020), "The dynamics of handcart as a means of informal transportation in support of logistics and tourism: The case of downtown Kingston, Jamaica", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 48-55. https://doi.org/10.1108/WHATT-10-2019-0067Download as .RIS
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