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The Shipping Association of T&T (SATT) has expressed concern that construction of another containerised port in the country may stymie of growth aspirations and potential of the existing ports at Port-of-Spain and Point Lisas. In a statement this week, the group said transhipment in the region is already ultra-competitive and limited in the context of the shipping lanes in which T&T is expected to further compete.
“As we speak, there are already serious concerns about impending port overcapacity regionally due to the various plans for port expansions,” SATT said.
The group added: “Additionally the competition for the relatively small amounts of local and transhipment regional cargo could ultimately affect the viability of one or more ports. Investments may be better spent on expanding existing infrastructure and facilities thus reducing development costs and also reducing operational resource requirements to the country, and exploiting economies of scale.
“Conversely, the concept of a dry-dock facility potentially represents major strategic and economic benefits for the country. This is so due to the fact that not many major dry-dock facilities exist in the Caribbean triangle. This pales in comparison to what exists in Asia and Europe. With the large number of vessels that pass through the region on an annual basis, the option for a dry-dock facility certainly holds the promise of considerable viability.
“This, like any other major investment project of its nature in the maritime sector, would necessitate some level of consultation with the major stakeholders in the industry, not to mention a significant feasibility study.”
Government recently announced plans for construction of a container port and dry dock facility at La Brea. The announcement was made during Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s recent visit to China where an agreement was signed for funding the project.