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Labidco plans 2.5 million container port in La Brea

Thursday, March 6, 2014
Photos: Tony Howell

Not far from where the Government is planning to build a US$500 million transshipment port in La Brea, Deo Gosine, managing director of Labidco Port Services Ltd, already operates a deepwater port in La Brea.


In a February 20 interview, Gosine said his proposal to develop a neighbouring transshipment port will cost his investors only US$100 million. The port will be able to handle up to 2.5 million containers annually.


The Business Guardian journeyed to La Brea to interview Gosine and view the world-famous Rowan Gorilla III jackup drill ship, which is under maintenance at Labidco.


The privately-owned Labidco, Gosine said, has been awaiting Government approval to build the port since 2007 when he first made the proposal to the then government. He said his trans-shipment port will be built at no expense to taxpayers, without incurring US$750 million in debt to the Chinese government, and without causing commercial vehicular traffic to pass through residential parts of La Brea. 


He said his efforts to get a container port built in south Trinidad date back to when Ken Valley was minister of trade.


About three years ago, he said, he approached the landlord, the National Energy Corporation (NEC), with the proposal to build the port, and has “since made presentations to the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development, and the Ministry of Transport.” 


Asked who came up with the idea first, he said, “That was our idea. We were the ones who started writing 11 years ago about the need for a container port in South.”


He said Valley had commissioned a study by a French company to assess the feasibility of the port, following which a meeting was held at Cara Suites Hotel in Claxton Bay, and “we proposed at that time, and we continue to propose, that south can sustain another container port, which was completely opposite to what the conventional wisdom was at that time.” 


The conventional wisdom was that only Chaguaramas could be such a port, he said.