Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 9th 2015 Contents APRIL 2015 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COVER STORY | BG5
The annual meeting of the Shipping Asso-
ciation was held at the Radisson Hotel, Port-
of-Spain on March 27.
WorleyParsons is a global operator that
delivers projects in infrastructure in the mar-
itime sector and has offices worldwide includ-
ing one in T&T.
The company also delivers projects, provides
expertise in engineering, procurement and
construction and offers a wide range of con-
sulting and advisory services. It covers the full
lifecycle, from creating new assets to sustaining
and enhancing operating assets, in the hydro-
carbons, mineral, metals, chemicals and infra-
WorleyParsons has extensive mineral, metals,
chemical and infrastructure in Chile and across
Their Latin American operations have also
contributed to major and mega-project wins
for execution hubs outside the region, with
support provided by their local offices. Such
projects include contracts for the Petrobras
COMPERJ project in Brazil and
Pequiven/Braskem Jose Olefins project in
The principal strategist at WorleyParsons
advises on optimal strategies for ports, port
operators, shipping lines in Latin America
concerning plans for the future.
Increasing global trade
Contrary to what some people said about
the poor outlook after the great financial crisis
of 2008-2009, West argued globalisation is
alive and well.
"Companies are still moving around. It is
just that systems are being built that are closer
to home but trade is on the increase. We see
the trend going forward as being a little more
normal than what we saw in the past. We are
optimistic about trade in general. This is total
trade and not just containers. Trade as a share
of economic growth is still growing."
He spoke about the "silk road" connecting
China to Europe during ancient times and its
revival in the 21st century.
"The Chinese Government is in the process
of revitalising the old silk road. They call it
the new economic belt and it is both a railroad
and ocean shipping as well. They have actually
moved a train from China to Madrid in Spain
to test out the rail. It will take 15 days but
there is no word on the cost. The Chinese
government is allocating a little over US$30
billion to improve this long highway."
He also said another trend is that ships are
getting bigger worldwide.
"This is nothing new. Ships have been get-
ting bigger for the last 30 years but we do
have the expansion of the Panama Canal
underway, scheduled to be completed next
year, which is roughly two years behind sched-
ule. Eighty per cent of the container ships on
order are over 10,000 TEUs. These are big
ships being built in South Korea or China. The
trend is in place and the bigger ships are com-
ing. So if you are accustomed to smaller ships
calling at your ports, those ships tend to get
bigger and bigger," he said.
He also spoke about the Caribbean Trans-
shipment Triangle with three ports being
Panama, T&T and the American East Coast.
"In this triangle, we see a lot of transship-
ment. Last year alone it was about seven
million TEUs. From this area you can actually
serve the east coast of the United States, the
Gulf of Mexico and Central America, the whole
northern coast of South America, from anyone
of these particular ports."
He also spoke about the future of Cuba
being a transshipment point.
"In many ways, Cuba is the perfect trans-
shipment point, but it has a long way to go.
Geographically speaking, Cuba is perfectly
placed. There are some locations in Cuba with
deep harbours. Right now, there is Port Mariel
that has just been built by the Brazilians. It
is serving as a domestic cargo port. Given the
size of the port they are thinking of trans-
shipment in Cuba."
Panama vs Nicaragua Canal
West spoke about the canal that will be built
in Nicaragua and there is growing debate on
how important it will be and if it will serve as
a competitor to the Panama Canal.
"There is a concession awarded to a Hong
Kong company with some mysterious back-
ground. It is a concession for 50 years and
renewable for an additional 50 years. The key
thing is the amount of territory of Nicaragua
that has been awarded to this Chinese company.
I want to call the company obscure. The canal
would be about 15 miles wide and a 178 miles
long, so it is a lot of land."
He said, instead of being industrial, this deal
with the Chinese could simply be geopolitical
and alluded to those who argue that it is simply
a "land grab" on the part of the Chinese.
"The deal was signed with the President of
Nicaragua. Is this the result of 100 years of
thinking of the Canal and finding the Chinese
here to make it a reality or is it something else?
Or is it just a land grab by the Chinese to obtain
more and more territory? Why would they
want to grab more land? If you look at the
components of this project, first of all it is a
canal between the Caribbean and Pacific, a
new port facing the Caribbean and another
port facing the Pacific and a railway. The canal
itself is supposed to cross the lake and the last
time I knew trains do not float so I am not
sure how they are going to physically do that."
He pointed to other commercial projects
that would be associated with the Nicaraguan
"There will also be an oil pipeline to carry
Venezuelan crude to the other side, a free trade
zone on the Caribbean coast, at least one new
international airport, which could serve the
Chinese and other things that are needed like
highways. Also, a very large project management
contract to make sure that the whole thing
West said there is a team of 4,000 people
working on the project and most of them are
"They have set aside US$900 million just
for studies, many of which are not done by
the way including environmental impact studies
which is causing the Nicaraguans a lot of dis-
comfort. No one knows how it will affect the
water and the lake. There will be 25,000
Nicaraguans working and quite a number of
Chinese. To make it all work, they need 100,000
pounds of food everyday to keep the workforce
He called the Nicaraguan Canal Project an
"enormous undertaking" currently priced at
around US $50 billion and said the Chinese
have hired world-class companies for the proj-
"There is also a new lake to be built on the
Caribbean side to provide enough water to
feed the lochs. The Chinese have bought the
best of the best. Environmental Resource Man-
agement is doing all the environmental impact
statements and is a very solid company. SBE
is from Belgium, they are designing the lochs
and they are the premier company to design
He argues that it is not money that the Chi-
nese want from the project and what they really
want is land and its geographical position in
"The Panamanians have asked how can the
Chinese ever get their money back. In order to
compete with the Panama Canal they cannot
charge a whole lot more than what they are
already getting in Panama. I do not think the
Chinese care if they get the money back.
"First of all money to them is a different idea
to what it is to you and me (Western culture).
I do not think they want the money back, they
simply want land and the right to do anything
with it that they really want. So the money is
not in the canal; it is in all the other services.
"So, like in Panama with all the ships going
through, you can provide all kinds of services
and make money there. They can bunker the
ships, they can repair the ships, they could add
value with the cargo. It is about all these serv-
He believes T&T should not worry about the
"I really do not think it will get built. There
will be a lot of investment but I do not think
it will turn into a canal. Maybe it will turn out
to be something different."
From Page 4
Port at Point Lisas
has growth potential
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