Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 16th 2015 Contents APRIL 2015 • WEEK THREE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
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the green light to start the process in earnest
as far as having the port expansion commence,"
Plipdeco, which is 51 percent owned by the
Government and 49 percent private sector, is
the landlord of the port and a 860-hectare
industrial estate with over 100 companies with
some of the major ones being involved in the
downstream sector, which are the manufac-
turers of methanol, ammonia, melamine
among other products.
"T&T is the largest producer and exporter
of methanol in the world and is also one of
the largest exporters of ammonia. The port
has continuously grown over the last decade.
We are considered the second major port in
T&T after the Port-of-Port-of-Spain. There
is a 50/50 per cent divide between domestic
and transshipment cargo but for Plipdeco it
is 85 per cent domestic and 15 per cent trans-
shipment," he said.
Taylor spoke to the Guardian on Monday
at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain.
According to Plipdeco's website, the port
is often referred to as the "Gateways to the
Americas" catering for containerized cargo
from the US, Europe, United Kingdom and
the Far East. Port Point Lisas is a multi-purpose
cargo facility operating on a 24/7 basis.
With its six commercial berths, the port
handles a wide range of traffic including dry
and liquid bulks, containers, general cargo and
break bulk servicing both the individual and
business sectors alike. The port also has expert-
ise in handling project cargo, mainly for new
plants on the adjacent industrial estate.
According to its website, today, the estate
is home to 94 companies involved in a range
of activities. The petrochemical sector is dom-
inant, however, with many multi-national pro-
duction plants operating on the estate. Ease
of access to vast resources of natural gas has
been a strong incentive for some of the world's
leading manufacturers of ammonia, urea,
methanol, other petrochemicals and steel.
Taylor said the focus during 2014 was spent
improving the way they do things.
Plipdeco's financial year is the same as the
calendar year which is from January to Decem-
ber and Profit Before Tax for 2014 was TT
He said one of the major issues to impact
on their bottomline was wage negotiations.
"It would have been one of our better years
if not for the conclusion of the salary nego-
tiations with the Seamen and Waterfront
Workers Trade Union (SWWTU). This impact-
ed directly on our financial bottomline but we
needed to maintain a stable industrial relations
environment," he said.
Restructuring in other parts of the operations
softened the blow of the large wage settle-
"Due to us being able to do cost restructuring
as well such as a realignment of our tariff
structure, would have reduced the overall
impact on our profitability. In October last
year we rationalized out tariff structure which
is the handling of containers and storage of
containers," he said.
In 2014, Plipdeco also commissioned a new
harbour crane which is a part of their phased
replacement programme for their aging equip-
ment infrastructure purchased at the cost of
Given international organized crime and
contemporary threats like international ter-
rorism, he said Plipdeco has invested in security
cameras and other modern safety devices to
protect operations at the port.
"Ports around the world are generally sus-
ceptible to illegal activities like transshipment
of drugs or possibility of attacks. From a secu-
rity perspective we must have an eye on what
is going on. We embarked on a comprehensive
programme outfitting the major parts of the
port with CCTV cameras. The port has about
150 cameras strategically located on the com-
pound," he said.
He said one of the Plipdeco's major achieve-
ments is their attempt to develop their own
technology and technical skills of their employ-
"The installation of the cameras were done
in house. During 2014, we ran a major fibre
optic link between the ports and Plipdeco's
head office. That enables a direct connection
for transfer of the data between both locations.
This will also diminish our dependence on
companies like TSTT which eventually reduce
our cost. The majority of work was done in
house by our IT personnel," he said.
Taylor said in 2015, the company plans to
focus on strategic initiatives on how Plipdeco
can re-invent itself and diversifying away from
simply being looked at as a "port."
"We are in the process of completing a new
three year strategic plan which will be com-
pleted by the end of the month."
He said Plipdeco is looking at starting addi-
tional services to customers.
"We have launched our demurrage and
detention services for shipping lines. Tradi-
tionally a service like this would be provided
by private sector companies. We have realized
the benefits of us providing that service for
shipping lines. Not only from a revenue per-
spective but from the perspective of a suite
of services we can offer," he said.
He added that the software for the demur-
rage and detention service was developed by
"This is an area that we are looking at devel-
oping in the long term to the extent that we
have two Caribbean ports who have expressed
an interest in procuring this software. Part of
our long term vision is not just as an industrial
estate and land lord of just a port, we want
to see ourselves as more as a logistics services
provider," he said.
He regrets Plipdeco not being able to get
into value added services in the past for the
100 tenants presently on the estate.
"There are 25 or so pretty large tenants that
are involved in major manufacturing and heavy
industries. The remainder of the tenants pro-
vide services for the larger tenants. We want
to now provide them with a range of services
whether it is from receiving the cargo for them,
storing for them and ultimately distributing
for them. Right now we are in the process of
doing the relevant feasibility studies to see
what are the suite of services that we could
provide for them," he said.
He said Plipdeco is also looking at the pos-
sibility of providing bunkering services for
vessels that come to Trinidad.
"We want to be able to facilitate that while
the vessel is berthed and cargo operations are
ongoing, we want to be able to receive bunker-
ing services while being tied up. Bunkering
operations can take up to six to eight hours
so if a shipping line can do both operations
simultaneously, one can imagine over the peri-
od of a year how much time ships can save
which will go their bottom-line. This is seen
as a potential revenue stream for us by part-
nering with the right partners," he said.
There are also plans to modernize infra-
structure at the port, which Taylor described
as being "costly."
"One of the big projects that we are doing
is the rehabilitation of our berth infrastructure
as well as our storage base. The berth repairs
have already started. We are also going to
acquire new equipment like six new yard trucks
and one empty container handler. To acquire
one empty container handler costs US
$300,000 and cost of one truck is roughly US
$110,000 ," he said.
Continued from page 6
The port has continuously grown over the last decade
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