Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 25th 2016 Contents A15
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The Port of Port-of-Spain does not have
the level of productivity to accommodate
business from the expanded Panama Canal
which is due to be inaugurated on June 26.
Acting general manager of the Port Author-
ity Charmaine Lewis, who admitted this
yesterday, said serious consideration is
being given to partnering with a foreign
investor to address issues facing the port.
"We feel they would bring their knowledge,
their expertise, their systems and their mar-
ket, because we are looking at the big players.
We feel there is an opportunity to partner
and we can leverage from their position in
the market," she said when she spoke at the
conference, Panchayat on the Panama Canal:
Business Opportunities and Challenges for
T&T, at the Arthur Lok jack Graduate School
of Business, Mt Hope yesterday.
Lewis said among the challenges facing
the port is its high overtime bill. She said
the Port Authority is working with the rep-
resentative union to implement new work
In terms of land and nautical matters,
Lewis said the port is unable to accommodate
"We can accommodate a vessel with length
of approximately 295 metres at this time.
We don't have the correct depth at this time
for the drafts of 15 metres," she said.
"The harbor should at least be a depth of
12.5 metres to accommodate the large vessels.
For those vessels with a draft of 15.2 metres
your harbor should be at least 17 metres.
"One has to be able to satisfy industry
standards in terms of productivity and cus-
tomer service. The shipping lines are inter-
ested in your productivity, how fast you can
turn your ships around."
Lewis said there are standards the port
has to achieve if it is "seeking to be in the
game" to get the container business.
The Panama Canal expansion project, dou-
bles the capacity of that waterway by increas-
ing the number of ships, adding a new lane
of traffic, and increasing the size of ships by
increasing the maximum allowed width and
height. The new larger size of ships, called
New Panamax, is about one and a half times
the current Panamax size and can carry over
twice as much cargo.
Set rules for
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Energy law consultant Hugh Howard
says there must be clear rules of engage-
ment for the US$50 million revolving fund
between T&T and Venezuela to ensure
T&T suppliers are paid.
"I think it is a good idea. T&T manufac-
turers would welcome any additional mar-
kets to sell their goods, so if Venezuela is
an accessible market that would help," he
told the T&t Guardian.
"However, Venezuela seems strapped for
cash as they owe many countries. Venezuela
owes CAL millions of US dollars. If goods
are taken from T&T there must be no
impediment from the Venezuelan side for
The fund, agreed to on Monday during
an official visit to this country Venezuelan
President Nicolas Maduro, will be used by
Venezuela to purchase manufactured goods.
Agreements were also signed for the mon-
etisation of cross border gas and other areas
of co-operation in energy, however Howard
said two countries have spoken about this
for years but Venezuela had never moved
with the urgency required.
"Loran Manatee field is something that
governments have been talking about. It
started out during the Manning regime and
everyone was hoping it would have come
to conclusion some years ago. It did not.
People in the industry said that it would be
important to T&T because of the volume
but in terms of gas reserves in Venezuela
that is a drop in the ocean. Venezuela did
not see any type of urgency in developing
that field," he said.
Howard said with Venezuela now in deep
recession the Loran Manatee field could
become important and they would want to
monetize it. He said T&T would also stand
to benefit if this happens.
"If Loran Manatee comes on stream and
that gas is channeled to Atlantic, gas going
from NGC to Atlantic can be re-directed
to some of the companies that need gas on
the Point Lisas Industrial Estate," he said.
SAN FRANCISCO---Microsoft is joining
other tech giants attempting to deliver
the Internet to remote parts of the
world. But unlike expensive and ambi-
tious plans by Google and Facebook
to use satellites, drones and balloons,
the software company is making grants
to businesses that provide online
access, software or related services.
Microsoft's smaller-scale approach
of grants, averaging about US$75,000
apiece in places like Africa, India and
rural Maine, is intended to better allow
local entrepreneurs to provide services
tailored to needs in specific regions.
The Redmond, Washington, company
announced 12 grants to small firms
around the world. Tech companies say
expanded Internet access will improve
life in rural or impoverished areas,
although it may also help their own
business in the long run. (AP)
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challenges for PoS Port
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