Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 9th 2015 Contents Laparkan chairman, Glen Khan,
says while he supports having
one set of Customs rules and
regulations for the Caribbean,
this topic has been discussed
for more than a decade but
no decision has been made.
Laparkan---a shipping company---has been in
existence since 1983. It employs more than
1,000 people and has operations in T&T, Cana-
da and United States.
Khan, along with chief executive and vice-
chairman Hussein Haniff, spoke to the Business
Guardian in an interview held at the Hyatt
Regency Trinidad hotel in mid-March.
In early March, Customs officers met in
Antigua to discuss regional rules and regula-
tions. They are expected to meet in Port-of-
Spain but a date has not yet been set.
"We ve been hearing about this for donkey
years. Since Caricom integration, that was the
intention; a common Customs Union and that
"There are so many vested interests in the
whole programme. I think it is a great thing
as things will move easier within the com-
munity," Khan said.
The need for border protection has also
been a much-talked-about topic.
In a June 2014 interview with the Jamaica
Observer, assistant Secretary of State for Inter-
national Narcotics and Law Enforcement
Affairs for the United States, William Brown-
field, said the Caribbean was a transshipment
hub for drugs.
"The United States government calculates
that the amount of cocaine that enters the
United States through the Caribbean has
increased in three years from five per cent to
16 per cent. Now, while this is a tiny, tiny
fraction of the 80 to 90 per cent that processes
through Central America, it is a growing trend
and it is a worrisome trend."
As world trends change so, too, must stake-
holders in the shipping sector.
"The world is evolving and things are
becoming a lot more transparent. For example,
the invoicing on the valuing of shipping prod-
ucts. You can get into serious problems in the
United States if you contribute to a system to
do wrong. It is the same thing here."
Dealing with Customs at the Port of Port-
of-Spain (PPOS) forms part of its work as a
shipping company and Khan said he has no
problem with Customs at that port since it
means being proactive when it comes to dealing
"We try to take care of all those issues in
advance. Here, in Port-of-Spain, we have set
up operations at the port. We are the only
organisation that has a container office. This
is because we try to simplify the process (for
clearing a container). We are dealing with
human beings and, at the end of the day, we
have to make it easy for them."
Khan added that the company has one of
the best systems to accommodate individuals
coming to clear their cargo. Dialogue only
begins when there is a problem.
Referring to clearing of barrels by individuals,
he said, even though the barrel has come in
one person s name, an entire family comes to
collect it sometimes.
"If you understand the dynamics of personal
effects, when people are coming to clear their
barrel, it is not an individual coming, they are
coming with a whole tribe of people to clear
that barrel because they all want to see what s
in that barrel, there is an excitement."
Dealing with delays
Given the nature of the shipping, business
delays cannot be controlled but the company
works with the customer to ensure that the
container finally arrives.
"Delays happen. Sometimes we have the
challenge like everything else in an LTL (less-
than-truckload shipping) container. We have
20 to 30 customers (goods) in one container.
If, for some reason, the shipping line messes
up and drops off the container inadvertently
in a wrong location instead of coming to T&T,
it will take quite a bit of time to get that con-
tainer back to T&T. You have to depend on
the cycle of that shipping line to get that con-
tainer. That creates distress.
"It is rare for things like that to happen (for
Laparkan) but it is part and parcel of the busi-
ness. You are going to have issues of that
nature. The main thing is not to bury your
head in the sand. Confront those customers
and let them know what the issues are and
explain to them how we are taking care of it."
Retaining labour is an ongoing challenge
even though the company pays top-of-the-
"We have challenges throughout our net-
work. We are dealing with a very mobile labour
force, sometimes you train people, they get
to know your system then they migrate (to
other companies). Then you have to start the
process all over again."
Overall, finding labour is not an issue for
the company. Retaining staff requires a holistic
"We leave it (recruitment and selection) to
our local management team to determine their
own needs to get the business done. We, gen-
erally, are vey competitive in the market place;
part of it is a good compensation. There is
training and we treat our people well."
Khan said one of the lines of business that
the company wants to look at is the perishable
goods market. Supermarkets are geared to the
masses and no supermarket would carry niche
items, he said. If they do carry perishable
goods, the price would have to be high because
this market is "limited," Khan said.
"How can we service perishables for those
customers who want to order their prime steak
(or any other perishable goods available on
the international market). There is a market
"As the middle class grows, people want to
be able to get what they desire. If you want
steak, that is human nature. As you get better
in life, you want the finer things."
APRIL 2015 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
Chairman, Laparkan, on regional Customs:
We waiting 'donkey' years
GLEN KHAN, chairman, Laparkan
PHOTOS: ABRAHAM DIAZ
T&T, Antigua, Jamaica, Aruba, Panama,
Barbados, Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands,
St Kitts and Nevis, Curacao, St Lucia,
Dominica, St Maarten, French Guiana,
St Thomas, Grenada, St Vincent,
Guadeloupe, Suriname, Guyana and
California, Georgia, New York, Florida,
Maryland, New Jersey
HUSSEIN HANIFF, chief executive and vice-chairman, Laparkan
Links Archive April 8th 2015 April 10th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page