Operations Manager at ABEL Christopher Penjilia, speaks with security chief Dickey Seepersad, as the duo oversees the loading of blocks at the ABEL factory at Longdenville, on Thursday. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Trinidad and Tobago’s largest manufacture of clay construction blocks, ABEL, resumed operations on Thursday, including the shipping of blocks to Tobago.

Operations Manager at ABEL, Christopher Penjilia, said the company currently has seven million blocks in stock, which should last about three months.

He told Guardian Media that production is ongoing with a reduced workforce, which would produce enough blocks to meet market demand.  Penjilia said trucks are scheduled to collect blocks at the Longdenville, Chaguanas, factory in order to avoid any congestion and promote social distancing.

“We have been bombarded with requests for blocks over the past six weeks,” he told Guardian Media. “We sent two loads of blocks to Tobago on Thursday. Also, our exports to Grenada and Guyana should re-commence next week.”

Meanwhile, hardware owners and contractors are happy that they can obtain supplies, once more.

Kevin Ramchan, hardware owner and transport contractor was at ABEL early on Thursday to collect a load of blocks. 

“Customers had paid in advance for blocks and were eager to get supplies,” he said.

Ramcharan observed that releasing cement supplies earlier without making blocks and bricks available was inconvenient.

“It was unfair to customers,” he said. “Cement is available, and we can’t get blocks. It’s only now we could get blocks.”

Ramcharan said he has paid already for 64,000 blocks, which he hopes to collect and deliver this week.