Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 17th 2015 Contents Transformation
Bachew said the company has identified
four pillars upon which to base the transfor-
mation of the Port of Port-of-Spain.
These are customer service, equipment and
infrastructure, processes and employees.
In the area of customer service, he said port
has set up targets for their marketing employees
in terms of how many customers they will
He admitted that over the last year, the port
has lost 30 per cent of its customer market
and said they must become more aggressive
and focussed to recapture that market.
"We intend to rebrand so the port will be
the first choice among competitors. That will
not happen by waving a wand but will come
from clear strategic initiatives. We have been
accused of not doing enough interfacing with
customers in the past. When the chairman
and I visited Miami a few weeks ago, the first
question they asked us is where have we been
for so long. Marketing cannot be done by sitting
behind a desk, we have to be out there in the
field, interfacing with people and listening to
what their concerns are. We need to put our-
selves in the shoes of our customers."
In the area of equipment, he said it is no
secret that the port has equipment that is 20
to 30 years old.
"Some of this equipment is obsolete and
the maintenance is very challenging. We have
to design programmes of how we are going to
manage that old equipment and then acquire
new equipment. We are looking at ship-to-
shore (STS) cranes, then our tractor trucks
which are key elements of our operations. We
have ordered 25 new tractor trucks so our cycle
time can be better. Those trucks are due by
The Port Authority has already ordered a
new STS crane which should arrive in the first
quarter of 2017.
"We recognise that if we are going to play
in the global arena we must we must be on
par with what our global competitors are doing.
We are also seeking outside help to supplement
what we are doing," he said.
In terms of the port s processes, he said that
there are bottlenecks.
"We have now broken up the processes into
segments so that we can see where the bot-
tlenecks are. There are some hiccups with our
NAVIS IT platform but we are working with
it. We want to optimise efficiency and benefits
of NAVIS. Up to this time we are not getting
the full use of NAVIS," he said.
He said an error the port made in the past
was not sending their management team to
other ports internationally to see how they
plan and manage their systems but this has to
change. In a competitive market they need to
learn international best practice.
New work practices
Bachew said employees are an important
part of the port s transformation and a new
relationship between the port and the SWWTU
is a part of their plan to bring greater efficiency
to the port.
He called the labour relationship a "game
"We agreed that our work practices many
years ago have served the port in a certain
stead but we have reached that point where
we need to revisit and we need to enter into
the global arena where the real action is and
we have to get with the programme. The world
is moving ahead of us. If we stand still we are
going to be left behind," he said.
He referred to the famous British biologist
Charles Darwin, who said: it is not the strongest
or the most intelligent species that survive,
but it is the one most responsive to change.
"At the port we recognise the need to change
and we are at that point where we are ready,"
He said that the signing of the most recent
collective agreement with the SWWTU in early
September was a milestone.
"We have drilled into our hardcore work
practices for the last 40 years and the time
has come for a new dispensation. It was the
first time that the collective agreement was
signed so early. We have also agreed to mod-
ernise our work practices and that will result
in increased efficiency."
Bachew said sometimes people compare the
Port of Port-of-Spain to other first world ports
but this is not fair.
"Sometimes we believe we are third world
and not as good as the Port of Singapore or
the Port of Dubai because we have been con-
ditioned like that. But we are not third world,
we are first world. Whatever is done outside
of T&T, we can do it. We must start believing
in ourselves because we are just as competent
and just as capable. We probably do not have
all the technology or equipment but that we
can get it."
SEPTEMBER 17 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COVER STORY | BG7
From Page 6
Port operations and inter island ferry subventions
and subsidies 2004-2013
'Improved relations with union'
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