Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 10th 2017 Contents AUGUST 10 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG13
The following article represents find-
ings and recommendations taken from
an SATT commissioned White Paper on
Container Port Strategy, completed by
The SATT commissioned the White
Paper to substantiate the association's
position on the matter of Container Port
Strategy for T&T.
Both container ports in T&T---
the Port of Point Lisas and
the Port of Port-of-Spain---
suffer from infrastructure
limitations, such as vessel
draft and length of berth, as
well as inadequate operating practices and
equipment condition. As a result, both ports
are losing ground to other container ports in
the region that have greater berth capacity,
better operating practices, and a willingness
to invest in new equipment and technologies.
The Government is considering options
to increase container capacity in T&T, in-
cluding the relocation and expansion of the
Port of Port-of-Spain container terminal,
the expansion of the Point Lisas container
terminal, and more recently, the develop-
ment of an inbound and outbound port and
logistics hub in T&T.
What do the recent and expected devel-
opments in the container shipping industry
mean for smaller nations that have devel-
oped largely in isolation of global trade de-
How can T&T be expected to compete with
regional mega-ports in Panama and Jamaica
for transshipment cargo destined for the east
coast of the United States or South America?
Impetus for container
The container shipping industry has seen
rapid advancement across several impor-
tant areas leading to higher productivity,
shorter port calls, and the introduction of
fully automated terminals. The most recent
evidence of this is the growing use of "mega"
container ships that are beginning to ply the
world's busiest trade routes.
While containerised freight traffic has
grown at a robust average rate of five per cent
per year since the early 1980s, the market
has not always experienced smooth sailing.
The Global Recession of 2008-2009 actu-
ally witnessed a decline in global container
volumes, as measured in 20-foot equivalent
Currently, the global container shipping
market is experiencing over-capacity, slug-
gish demand in key markets, and strong
competition. Furthermore, changes in ocean
carrier alliances have had a direct effect
on vessel deployment strategies, terminal
operational strategies and transshipment
strategies, which all directly impact T&T.
The overall result is a decline in profitability
and a push for consolidation in the shipping
and port operator industries.
Container ports in the Caribbean will face
an added challenge (or opportunity) as a re-
sult of the Panama Canal expansion, which
could disrupt container traffic patterns for
vessels in the region. Regional competition
among container ports is fierce, exacerbated
Ocean carriers are reducing the number
of port calls and concentrating their service
on a select few core container ports. The
port selection process is driven by several
factors including port capacity, throughput
rate, berth draft, ability to expand, access to
market, and cost.
With the ever changing landscape of ocean
carrier alliances and growing competition
among ports, many terminals are turning
to productivity enhancements with more
automation, greater use of technology in
terminal operating systems, and use of more
sophisticated container handling equipment
instead of physical expansion.
Additionally, several port locations in
North America are shutting down existing
terminals and consolidating operations to
compete. A recent example of this is the
decision by Ports America, the largest ste-
vedore and terminal operating company in
the United States, and Terminal Investment
Ltd (TIL) to cease their operations and turn
their terminal back to the Port of Oakland.
T&T has the opportunity to further devel-
op its container port presence in the region,
and several global and regional trends are
working in its favour. However, without a
focused national strategy for container port
development, it will be very difficult for T&T
to compete with powerhouse countries in
the region such as Jamaica and Panama,
who have demonstrated the willingness
and ability develop growth strategies and
make significant investment in the container
If properly developed and implemented,
a national port strategy can help ports be-
come more efficient and effective in serving
markets for which they already hold an in-
herent strategic or competitive advantage.
A national port strategy---as opposed to a
single port strategy---can identify the most
appropriate market coverage for each port
within the national maritime system and,
in doing so, encourage ports to develop the
capabilities to serve their specific markets
while discouraging other ports from com-
peting in the same space.
Ultimately, the development of a Nation-
al Container Port Strategy should be based
on a consideration of several factors. These
should include quantitative factors such as
development cost, construction schedule,
environmental impact and inland trans-
port costs from each port to access the
producing and consumer markets in T&T.
They should also include qualitative factors
such project risk, ability to accommodate
future expansion, opportunities for interplay
with other port and transport development
plans in T&T, alternative land use options
for container ports, and requirements of the
container shipping lines and the shipping
The following is a summary of
recommended short-term and me-
dium-term actions to advance the
development of a container port
strategy in T&T.
1.Perform a comparative study to determine
estimated cost and schedule to develop or
expand each of the container terminal options.
2.Perform a study to map existing inland con-
tainer traffic in T&T, and the expected shifts
in container traffic under various port development
scenarios in T&T at Point Lisas, Port-of-Spain and
La Brea to develop the estimated impact on inland
costs and transit times to the major consumer cen-
tres and from the major manufacturing centres to
each port or proposed port.
3.Determine the operational and commercial
feasibility of the development of an inland
logistics centre near each of the existing (or pro-
posed) container ports.
• Conduct stakeholder engagement to gauge the
support for a potential logistics centre at various
locations in T&T
• Identify the potential services and functions
that a proposed logistics centre could provide
• Identify potential users of each facility
• Propose potential locations for the facility and
the required transportation network to meet the
demands of the facility
Estimate the direct and potential benefits to the
logistics centre, in terms of the economic benefits,
job creation, ability to attract new manufactur-
ing, environmental benefits, and impact on traffic
4.Perform a study to determine most feasible
alternative land use options for existing and
proposed container ports in Trinidad & Tobago.
Determine the value that could be obtained for the
land at each port for the most feasible alternatives.
Develop a preliminary master plan for the devel-
opment of property at the Port of Port-of- Spain.
5.Conduct stakeholder interviews with mem-
bers of the shipping community (shipping
lines, manufacturers, importers, exporters) to gauge
current satisfaction with the existing transportation
infrastructure and operations. Identify trouble areas
and development strategies and tactics to improve
the efficiency and competitiveness of T&T's trans-
portation infrastructure and operations.
6.Establish a body to monitor logistics and
supply chain performance in T&T and create
a forum to share results with shipping community
stakeholders. Use as possible benchmark models
the Productivity Commission in Australia and the
Canada Gateway project.
7. Review current customs procedures at
both container ports and identify areas of
improvement needed to standardise customs pro-
cedures across both ports, and to bring the customs
processes in line with global benchmarks.
8.Develop a container port strategy which
incorporates the results of the studies and
research performed above.
To the extent that any recent studies commis-
sioned by GORTT covers any of these areas, then
those aspects can be disregarded in any proposal
for further study. At any rate, addressing the en-
tire list will result in a much more informed and
Links Archive August 9th 2017 August 11th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page