Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 20th 2014 Contents BG4 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MARCH 2014 • WEEK THREE
More than one port
in La Brea would
not create a
mare, but rather
add to the infra-
opment of the
So said Vasant Bharath, Minister of Trade,
Industry and Investment, who accompanied
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissesar on her
two-week trip to China prior to Carnival.
He spoke to the Business Guardian on the
benefits of the trip, one of which was a $5
billion loan application.
In a post-Cabinet press conference in early
March, Persad-Bissessar said the loan would
be used for six new special economic zones,
a new transshipment port and a dry dock.
In an interview on Monday, Bharath justified
the need for a new port: "There is sufficient
space. We have already done the feasibility.
There is more than enough space to accom-
modate what Mr (Deo) Gosine is doing and
what we are doing."
Deo Singh is managing director of Labidco
Port Services, La Brea.
In a February 20 interview with the Business
Guardian, Gosine, who operates a deepwater
port in La Brea, said he had a proposal to
develop a neighbouring transshipment port
to handle 2.5 million containers annually at
an estimated cost of US$100 million.
Bharath said the port the Government is
proposing would cater for very large vessels
ranging between "10 and 15 thousand TEUs
(20-foot equivalent units). Currently, the vessels
that come through the Panama Canal range
between 3,000 and 5,000 TEUs. There would
be no other facility in the country or in this
part of the world that would be in a position
to handle 10,000, 12,000 and 13,000 of TEUs."
Bharath said the construction of the port
and the drydocking facility is expected to begin
in this fiscal year. And investments in ports
"generate, on average, about three times the
amount in revenues subsequently. Plus thou-
sands of jobs would be created with the port
facility and the dry docking facility as well as
the ancillary industries that would spring up
in that particular area.
"We know that La Brea is a depressed area
socially and economically, and it would bring
huge benefits to that particular part of the
Regarding the drydocking facility, he said
it would be the only of its kind in this part
of the world since "it will take into account
servicing or maintaining these large Panamax
vessels which would be coming through the
Panama Canal after its expansion at the end
of 2015. It will save thousands of dollars in
energy costs for these large tankers to have to
go back to Asia for maintenance and repairs,
which is what they do now."
The Government aims for T&T to become
a hub in the Western Hemisphere for dry-
Industrial parks are also to be constructed
throughout T&T to facilitate the growing
demand for commercial space.
"There is not a day that the ministry has
not been approached for space for economic
development, retail, distribution, commercial
industrial and we just physically don t have
the space allocated to do that.
He said the World Bank has done an assess-
ment indicating that T&T needs 135,000 square
metres of industrial space for long-term eco-
"What we are doing now is building out
these seven industrial parks that will give us
access to that space. In fact, when we are
completed---and that should be done within
12 months from starting the project---we should
bring on stream about 600 acres of commercial
space available to Trinidadians and Tobagonians
as well as for foreign direct investors."
Previously, he said, investors viewed "green-
field sites", with and Tamana Intech Park in
Wallerfield as an example.
"For years we have been struggling to get
tenants because of the fact that it s a green
field site. We are working with the World Bank
to give us advice on the project in terms of
what types of infrastructure we should be
putting in, based on the kind of investment
and investors we ought to be pursuing."
The World Bank would be advising on the
type of infrastructure while funding would
come from the Chinese.
Asked why a local financial house was not
approached instead of a country for the loan,
Bharath said: "Simply because of the rates of
financing that have been afforded to us by the
Chinese President when he was here last year.
These are concessional loans and it will cost
the Government somewhere in the region of
two per cent per annum and, in a number of
instances, there would be a moratorium on
those loans for the first five years."
T&T: A hub for Chinese investors
Bharath said another aspect of the trip
involved encouraging Chinese investors to look
at T&T as the gateway to the Americas since
they do not have access to those markets due
to their geographical location and the complex
logistics of shipping goods to Latin America
and the Caribbean.
"What we are offering them is to station
their enterprises here in T&T, possibly in a
freezone environment, with their focus being
to the export markets, to the 600 million
people resident on our doorstep, essentially."
"If you look at the long-term picture, we
have created economic activity for our own
people by employment. Economic activity is
generated by people working and people being
employed. Once locals are employed, they
then have money to spend in the formal econ-
"e-Teck would manage the parks, InvesTT
gets the investors to come, so there are two
separate roles and functions."
Asked if any of the Chinese investors
expressed interest in investing in the Tamana
Intech Park, Bharath said the Government is
pursuing a number of initiatives for the park,
but these were not presented to the Chinese.
"What we wanted to do was host a Chinese
delegation of the private sector. Hopefully,
within three months, we would arrange that
visit to T&T based on enquiries and the interest
that was shown while we were there. When
they come to T&T, we are going to show them
Tamana Intech Park, and we would also be in
a position to have started the development of
the seven parks and we will take them there."
How soon would T&T see results from the
trip to China?
Bharath said based on the responses which
the Government received from the Chinese,
"this would be T&T s most successful invest-
ment mission ever. I think during the course
of 2014, we ll start to see significant oppor-
tunities coming our way."
Vasant said with the opening of the T&T
Embassy in China, trade ties between the two
countries are likely to deepen.
"For me, that embassy represents a facilitator
for trade. It should make trade easier with
regard to advice on visas, travel arrangements,
hotels, opportunities in T&T to invest."
Ambassador Chandradath Singh was moved
from T&T s High Commission in India and
posted instead at the T&T Embassy in China.
7 industrial parks to be built
Minister of Trade, Industry
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Links Archive March 19th 2014 March 21st 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page