The Government has given no precise timetable on its plans
for the construction of a mega port east of Port-of-Spain.
However, its stated intention to replace the existing Port-Of-Spain
port with a modern facility is enough reason for the smaller
port at Pt Lisas to begin getting its act together.
Roger Traboulay, newly installed president of the Pt Lisas
Industrial Port Development Corporation (Plipdeco), is the
man who will have to advance Plipdecos plans for the
modernisation of the Pt Lisas port.
And he sees the Uriah Butler Interchange and Port-of-Spains
skyscrapers as strong indicators of the Governments
intent to carry through with its plans for the relocation
of the city port.
you look at the interchange, for instance, at the Churchill
Roosevelt Highway, that took a lifetime and got very messy
politically, its still being built.
In 2007, Pt Lisas port moved 140,000 containers or 20-foot
equivalent units (TEUs), compared to the Port of Port-of-Spains
Traboulay said that the Port-Of-Spain port managed
by the English company Portia Management Serviceshas
been adding cranes and being smart about its use of space.
is doing some of the things Port-of-Spain is doing.
Before Traboulay joined Plipdeco, the board agreed to borrow
TT$100 million for a package of equipment including a ship-to-shore
gantry crane, rubber-tyred gantry cranes and an assortment
of other cranes.
The major item in the package, a US$10 million ship-to-shore
gantry crane, was unloaded this week and its installation
is to begin this weekend.
port always needs as much space and cranes as it could get,
Traboulay said, adding that, Berth 5 was built but
was not equipped with the number of cranes it should have.
a bigger port is being built, Plipdeco would need to know
where it fits.
Ticking off some of the priorities which will demand his
attention, Traboulay said Plipdeco has received approval
to reclaim 3.5 hectares of land.
Having more storage space lowers costs for importers and
consumers and being able to locate a container by computer
improves efficiency, he said.
can move containers around. We know where the containers
are at all times. Everything is on one big spreadsheet.
all done with GPS on the computer.
The turnaround process
During a mid-morning drive through the Pt Lisas port in
Traboulays black PCF company Benz, the president pointed
to container trucks lined up in fish-bone style.
The new arrangement is part of the thrust to greater efficiency.
trucks were all jammed up and hustling and horns honking
While the Port of Port-of-Spain has turned to Portia Management
Services in its drive to modernisation and efficiency, Pt
Lisas has retained SSA Marine of the US.
SSAs job is to steer the port to greater efficiency,
and to train its managers.
are the smaller port, but operationally, we try to be an
efficient port, Traboulay said.
As part of this effort , Pt Lisas has reduced the number
of empty containers stored on its compound by almost 50
per cent, from 2,500 to 1,200.
Increasing the penalties charged consignees for unclaimed
containers penalties helped to reduce the pileup.
Traboulay said due to the number of empty containers on
this side of the world, shipping lines will put containers
anywhere they can because they are looking for free storage.
The port is now much stricter on the amount of time containers
are allowed to remain on the port.
Plipdeco has instructed importers of used cars that its
workers would only offload vehicles that are partially suspended.
Traboulay said importers have been told that if the trunks
of vehicles being imported could be lifted up and they have
wheels attached, port employees will handle them.
made sure that at no time our guys were ever under the car,
that they were trained, supervised, and we used a forklift
to suspend the arch, so after you suspend the car below,
you use the forklift to hold it up before we unshackle.
He said long rods are used to knock out shocks and cut ropes
if workers have to enter an area of a container thats
Those practices were presented to the Occupational Safety
and Health Authority (OSHA) two weeks ago.
The offloading of used cars was made an issue after the
Port of Port-of-Spain told importers that the practice of
having the cars suspended inside containers was dangerous
for port workers.
Traboulay said Plipdeco submitted its procedures to OSH,
which made some recommendations, and signed off on them
saying, go ahead and continue unloading cars.
He said Plipdeco has unloaded about 2,000 containers over
the last five years or so without an issue.
Lisas being an industrial port handling very heavy cargo,
the guys here saw handling a car as no big deal.
you dont want something to go wrong and people saying
youre not being careful with safety. Up to this morning,
OSHA said go ahead.
He said OSHA realised that the position it took was a bit
tough and it got quite a lot of negative flak for it.
was trying to have a more balanced, open-minded approach
to it. If you stop the importation of (foreign used) cars
in this manner, the price goes up.
He said the port doesnt want stock where supervisors
suspect the cars are facing the front of the container.
its banged up, we stop. If its opened and not
stored how we told them to bring it in, we stop and say
were not unstocking this container.
we see something broken or shifted before we go there, we
just back off and say we are not doing it any more.
Scanning US-bound Cargo
Traboulay said that prior to Carnival, US Customs officials
visited the Pt Lisas port and the Comptroller of Customs
about adding scanners for containers destined for the US.
The installation of scanners is one of the measures the
US has insisted on post-9/11.
have to get X-ray machines and have to make sure that any
container going to the United States has to be scanned.
its not scanned, then that cargo has to be sent to
a port that has that capabilitywhich might be Puerto
Rico or Jamaica, for examplebefore it gets to the
The year 2012 is the deadline given for the installation
of the scanners.
Exports to the US, though, are limited.
Traboulay estimates that a quarter of the Pt Lisas/Port-of-Spain
ports TEUs might be exports, and of that, about one-eight
may go to the US.
glassworks to begin production in 18 months
Industries Ltd is constructing a US$40 million glassworks
plant at Hamilton Siding, Wallerfield.
The plant will be fired with natural gas.
Production is expected to begin within 18 months.
Construction is underway on lands leased for 30 years to
the Peake Group of Companies by the Ministry of Agriculture,
Land and Marine Resources.
The land was leased after much government lobbying and an
extensive search for land on industrial estates.
The plant will make bottles to be filled with beer and rum
for local and regional markets.
Its understood that the plant will have about half
the production capacity of the ANSA McAL-owned Carib Glassworks
in Champs Fleurs.
An industry official said with companies such as Solo are
importing bottles from Central America and the St Lucia-based
bottlers of Heineken are getting their bottles from Holland,
so there is a need for the production of bottles in the
a drive around the Pt Lisas port, the new president of the
Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation (Plipdeco),
Roger Traboulay, above and left, points out the many improvements
made by the port in its bid to improve its efficiency..
Photos: Rishi Ragoonath
Fernandian Roger Traboulay, 42, has been president of the
Pt Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation Ltd (Plipdeco)
for just under four months.
Previously managing director of Peake Technologies group,
Traboulay admitted that joining Plipdeco was an odd
decision as he was certainly very comfortable
and solid in a progressive, solid company, enjoying
was always attractedlike most engineersto see
what the industrial estate and the energy sector was all
Traboulay said even though Plipdeco is not an energy company,
he was aware that it had changed its top management and
that a turnaround was in effect.
sounded quite challenging. Its a big challenge because
coming out of a comfort zone, Id drive five minutes
to work and drop my (two) kids (off to school) in the process,
to come down here. I live in Port-of-Spain now. Its
a big change.
Among the positions he held in the Peake group was that
of director/general manager of Peake Industries Ltd, which
manufacturers and exports air conditioners.
Traboulay joined Peake in 1988 when the T&T economy
was in a downturn.
in a recession, so youre happy to get any job.
though I did electrical engineering, they had asked for
an air conditioning engineer.
applied for everything, so when they responded, I was so
happy and I went to work there.
He stayed for 19 years.
An electrical and computer engineer by training, Traboulay
joined Peake as a project engineer.
His job involved the design and installation of commercial/industrial
air conditioning systems for hotels, airports and hospitals
in T&T and regionally.
The July-September 2007 issue of the in-house publication
Plipdeco News, credited Traboulay with expanding Peake Technologies
sales and capacity, improving operational efficiency and
introducing new technologies.
Mr Traboulay has extensive experience in procurement, logistics,
export and distribution throughout the Americas, Europe
and Asia, the report read.
It continued: Mr Traboulay has always had a keen eye
for new business. He helped the Peake Group to develop the
blueprint to construct a new glassworks plant which is now
He has worked with the Government lobbying for approvals
and concessions for the air conditioning and glass plants,
and was involved in free trade negotiations involving Venezuela,
the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.
Traboulay has an executive masters in business administration
from the University of the West Indies.Sandra Chouthi
is small but operational
consolidated financial statements for the nine months ended
September 30, 2007, for the Pt Lisas Industrial Development
Corporation Ltd show:
profit after tax and excluding fair value gains of
that was a 13 per cent increase compared to the same period
group turnover increased by 15 per cent or $22.9 million
due to an increase in port revenue resulting from higher
container throughput and increases in general cargo handled.