Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 19th 2013 Contents BG10 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt SEPTEMBER 2013 • WEEK THREE
Ashley Taylor, president of
the Point Lisas Industrial
Port Development Cor-
poration (Plipdeco), has
assured exporters there would no disruptions
on the Plipdeco port for the Christmas peri-
od.He said it is wrong for stakeholders to describe the period
between August to December as a traditional time for port
workers to protest.
Taylor was speaking to the Business Guardian at the Sep-
tember 11 consultation on the Shipping (Amendment) Bill,
held at the Capital Plaza hotel, Wrightson Road, Port-of-
He said in March 2012, a new collective bargaining agree-
ment was signed, which would have brought out a lot of
"harmony" in relation to labour on the Plipdeco port.
"I don t think it is really true to say every Christmas there s
upheaval. I think as far as Plipdeco is concerned, there was
upheaval in 2011 due to the delay in concluding the bargaining
agreement. Going forward, I don t anticipate any major prob-
lems this Christmas and throughout the peak season, therefore,
the effect on exporters would be minimal," Taylor said.
Referring to the measures outlined for the ports in T&T
and new proposals for ports in T&T mentioned in the
2013/2014 budget statement, Taylor said: "Things have been
mentioned in budgets before and have not been implemented.
I remain positive, I expect that this time around that measures
mentioned (in the budget) would be executed this time
In the budget statement, Finance Minister Larry Howai
said efficient port and dry-docking facilities are key com-
ponents for a buoyant maritime industry. He said the Gov-
ernment planned to execute a memorandum of understanding
with the China Engineering Company Ltd to develop additional
port and dry-docking facilities in T&T.
"The ministry will also sign a mem-
orandum of agreement with Trinidad Dry
Dock Company Ltd for the establishment
of comprehensive dry-docking facilities and services which
would open new economic space in the Gulf of Paria near
the city of Port-of-Spain. The materialisation of these facilities
would not only support economic development in T&T, but
also in the Caribbean region.
"In our marketing efforts for the maritime sector, we will
ensure all investors are aware of the range of incentives avail-
able under the Free Zones Act."
Plipdeco surpasses Port of Port-of-Spain
Taylor said Plipdeco is strategically positioned to increase
its volume for the next quarter.
"I think we would have seen about a 20 per cent increase
in our overall volumes. The transshipment (figures) have
been up slightly, but we are really seeing the big increases
in imports and exports more so in our export bag. That big
jump---20 per cent---is due to improvements in the economy
and part of it is due to our increase in our market share for
"We are now in excess of 50 per cent of the domestic
cargo trade. I believed we have now surpassed Port-of-Spain
in terms of being the leader, in terms of our volumes for
Though the port is on a path of growth, Taylor said the
change in minister would not affect the performance of this
port since Trade Minister Stephen Cadiz is familiar with the
stakeholders and the issues.
In early September, the Kamla Persad-Bissessar-led People s
Partnership reshuffled the Cabinet which saw Chandresh
Sharma and Stephen Cadiz switching roles of transport and
For the next quarter, one of the biggest challenges Plipdeco
faces is ensuring there is sufficient funding for the port
"The Panama Canal expansion is due for completion in
the first quarter of 2015. A lot of ports in this region---Latin
America, United States and the Caribbean---are putting the
provisions in place to have expanded operations to facilitate
the size of vessels; Plipdeco is no different. "We have started
our studies, which are to be completed soon, which would
put us in a position to commence our expansion programme.
But at the end of the day, it comes down to dollars and cents
and the ability to put the required infrastructure in place."
About the Shipping (Amendment) Bill
As the new Parliamentary session continues, Cadiz is
expected to pilot the Shipping (Amendment) Bill 2013.
Taylor, who is also president of the Shipping Association
of T&T (SATT), said: "The fact that the bill is being discussed
now is quite timely. This year there is renewed interest in
the industry. There is talk of a port in La Brea. KPMG has
developed a plan for the maritime industry, so I think the
plans are in place for the enactment of this new bill, combined
with the Maritime Services Authority, it will have cohesions."
Joanne Edwards-Alleyne, general manager of the SATT,
said her membership is concerned about whether or not
associated legislation was taken into account in the Shipping
(Amendment) Bill, such as legislation for Customs and Excise
Division and other related areas.
She said it would make little sense if other legislation is
not updated in tandem with this bill. Another issue is there
should be a separate bill for the establishment of the Maritime
Authority. She said it should not be included in the Shipping
(Amendment) Bill because it s too important and there should
be consultation for the Maritime Authority Bill.
Plipdeco president assures exporters:
Ashley Taylor, president,
Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation.
PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
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