ports chief executive and acting general manager,
Christopher Mendez, outlined several improvements at the
port saying these had led to increased efficiency:
space at Spectrum site and transferred the receipt and delivery
of automobiles to that area, freeing up space on the main
Construction of a bridge connecting the port to the Spectrum
off more than 300 unclaimed vehicles which had been occupying
Disposed of obsolete equipment such as trucks and trailers;
Added three container handlers and two reach stackers to
its equipment fleet to improve its ability to move containers
around the storage yard;
nPurchased 15 trainers which are used to transport the containers
to and from the ships
Got Portia Management Services of Liverpool, UK with eight
managers including a chief executive officer, chief operating
officer, chief financial officer and a marketing manager
to manage and restructure its operations and begin the culture
change and improvement of systems on the port;
Implemented a computerised terminal management system (CTMS)
which has helped vessel planning, yard planning, gate management
and truck turnaround times.
A new feature of the CTMS system to be introduced in February
will permit speedier billing and the electronic receipt
of manifests from the Customs and Excise Department. Mendez
said the port will have a bill in the customers
hand within two days of the completion of the ship.
The new feature will permit staff to tally containers and
their locations with hand-held devices;
Implemented a new tariff structure removing overtime weekend
recoverable tariffs as a move to make costs more predictable
Mendez said the port would acquire more equipment this year:
In March/April it is expected to buy another 12 tractor/trucks
which transport containers
In August will take delivery of five rubber-tyred gantry
cranes (instead of two which it had received approval to
buy this year)
Mendez said these cranes handle the delivery of containers
to the vessels and receipt of containers from the vessels
as well as the movements of the containers in the yard,
indicating that they are an important element in the productivity
cycle on the port.
He assured business executives that they will see a big
improvement in port productivity with the arrival of the
In 2008, the port will acquire:
six more tractor/trucks
n ten tractor trailers
A ship-to-shore gantry crane
These were just a few of the measures taken and listed for
implementation this year and next year which Mendez said
would dramatically improve efficiency at the port.
to the people
to Christopher Mendez, the ports chief executive and
acting general manager, the final and most important
piece of the puzzle would be new work rules still
being negotiated with the trade unionthe Seamen and
Waterfront Workers Trade Unionwhich, he said, would
create an environment where workers can produce and get
a level of comfort from their jobs.
Mendez said the port is implementing a five-in-seven
work system, meaning that dockers would work five
days out of a seven-day week.
will remove the institutionalised overtime. The industry
is a seven-day industry and people will be required to work
five in seven of those days. We intend to compensate employees
for this change.
Mendez said new work methods are also being introduced which
will involve multitasking and the introduction of shifts
to ensure continuous work loading and unloading vessels.
He said the port is emphasising permanent employment over
casual employment which he said was at the heart of changing
the psyche of the port worker from seeing the work as a
hustle to seeing it as a job.
will emphasise permanent employment so that employees know
that at the end of the month they will receive a salary
which is predictable and not based solely on whether a ship
arrives at the port.
He said the hustle mentality has contributed to a psyche
which has not helped the port. He added that performance-based
bonuses will be implemented.
According to Mendez, the changes and additional equipment
have resulted in:
a safer work environment
faster vessel turnaround times
reduced truck turnaround times
He appealed to port users to help by sticking to the rules
of planned delivery, mainly by requesting their containers
24 hours in advance and submitting the handling information
in a timely fashion.
Stressing that the inter-island ferry and cargo service
was not being ignored, Mendez said the second inter-island
fast ferry, the Incat 60which has already been christened
the T&T Spiritwas scheduled to arrive in T&T
in July at which point there would be two state-of-the-art
ferries in service: the T&T Express and the T&T
He disclosed that the Panorama and the Warrior Spirit, the
two dedicated cargo vessels, are able to handle all the
cargo needs on the service. Indeed, he said the Warrior
Spirit by itself is capable of carrying all the cargo required
by Tobago, so there is no issue of not being able
to get cargo to Tobago.
He said 20 roll-on-roll-off trailers are being purchased
to enhance the ferry service and there are plans to improve
the facilities serving the inter-island ferry service both
in Port-of-Spain and in Scarborough. This includes the new
passenger terminal in Port-of-Spain scheduled for completion
Mendez said the improvements will require land reclamation
in Port-of-Spain, since we have literally run out
of land in Trinidad.
promises greater efficiency
business sector pushes for relocation
port of Port of Spain
Quesnell, right, president of the Manufacturers Association,
with Capt Rawle Baddaloo, acting chief executive officer
of the Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation,
during a Forum on the Marine and Aviation Industry held
at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain
on February 8.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
Port users were hoping to hear a clear-cut announcement
about exactly where the new Port of Port-of-Spain would
be located and when the much-heralded move to the new site
would be made.
The most they would get would be a somewhat vague statement
from ports chief executive and acting general manager
Christopher Mendez that the new port would be sited on lands
owned by the port at east Sea Lots which are currently occupied
by the fuel facility of the National Petroleum Marketing
Company Ltd (NP).
Whats more, that titbit would come only in response
to a question from one impatient participant at a forum
on the marine and aviation industry hosted by the Manufacturers
Association (TTMA) three weeks ago at the Crowne Plaza Hotel,
Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.
Opening the forum, TTMA president Paul Quesnell lamented
that two years ago the country was promised that the port
would be relocated but the TTMA had heard nothing about
this in the 2007 budget presented last October. He complained
that the port is filled to capacity and there is no information
on the plans to provide additional space, adding that he
was particularly concerned about plans for the restructuring
of the port.
Quesnell said the TTMA was very disappointed.
some time now we have called for a highly efficient port
which is critical for the survival of the export and manufacturing
sector, he said.
While conceding that there had been some limited improvement
at the nations two major ports in the two years since
the promise of relocationhe admitted that containers
are being cleared at a faster rateQuesnell said much
more work still needed to be done and we anxiously
await word on when the nations port will be given
adequate space and proper equipment in order to further
Quesnell would later note the irony of the fact that while
Mendez could shed only dim light on the relocation issue,
a request for proposals for the relocation of the port would
appear in the newspapers on February 9, the very next day
after the forum.
The invitation, extended by the Urban Development Corporation
of T&T (UDeCOTT), said the project would entail
the designing, financing, construction and operation of
infrastructural works, the construction of numerous structures
on the site and the relocation of the current port operations.
It added that UDeCOTT wanted to appoint a development manager
to manage and develop the project consistent with with world-class
To many of the participants at the forum, that summed up
the whole tortured problem of the port: the unco-ordinated
way that issues of its development are being handled. Many
lamented the absence of any representative from the two
ministries which have the most to do with the port and their
use of the facility: the Ministry of Trade and Industry
and the Ministry of Works and Transport.
Quesnell informed the attendees that both ministries had
If he could not fully illuminate the issue most on the minds
of his audience, Mendez was at least able to provide them
some comfort in his assurance that space was not a constraint
to the efficiency of the port. He said that the Port of
Port-of-Spain currently handles 320,000 TEUs, equivalent
to the number of containers handled a year, and could move
up to 450,000 a year at its current location.
Mendez stressed that the ports capacity was not
directly related to space. He said that if the port
were to extend delivery times and the number of hours worked
by the Customs and Excise department were increased, its
capacity could be vastly increased.
Admitting that as a city port, the expansion possibilities
for the Port of Port-Of-Spain at its current location were
limited, Mendez said, we are of the view,
and this is based on our experience and on the advice of
our management operator on board, Portia, that the port
at its present location is quite capable, with the proper
systems and equipment, of handling 450,000 TEUs.
that while the Government has announced a relocation of
the Port of Port-of-Spain, the focus of the presentation
will be the initiatives to ensure that at the present location
for the next couple of years until the port is relocated,
that we improve the productivity and the quality of service
to our customers.