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T&T Port Authority General Manager/CEO Ag. Trudy Gill-Conlon,left, Port of Port-of-Spain CEO Ag. Robert Ramsubhag, Minister of Works and Transport, Rohan Sinanan, Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon and T&T Port of Port-of-Spain Chairman Colonel (Ret'd) Lyle Alexander during the new 70m Ship to Shore Crane first commercial operation yesterday.

Joel Julien

By next month an Expression of Interest is expected to be sent out to find a private partner to operate the Port of Port-of-Spain, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan has said.

Sinanan made the statement at the Port of Port-of-Spain as the new $70 million Ship to Shore crane operated for the first time yesterday

“Having spoken to the chairman of the port (Col Lyle Alexander) this morning he gave me the assurance that within the next month we should have the EOI in the public domain where the government did take the decision to have a private partnership and a private partner operating at the Port of Port-of-Spain,” Sinanan said.

Sinanan said once that EOI goes out, then the Government will send out a Request For Proposal (RFP)

“What I can see is us attracting a partner to work with the port of Port-of-Spain that will not only bring in the capital that is required to upgrade the equipment. What we feel will happen here because of the location and the demand for space like this in the shipping industry we anticipate someone coming in that will improve all of the infrastructure on the port and regain that position where the port of Port-of-Spain will be once again the number on port of call in the Caribbean,” he said.

In the last budget presentation Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the Ministry of Works of Transport was mandated to take immediate steps to rationalise by the end of fiscal 2021, the operations of the Port Authority of T&T and to introduce a private sector operator into the Port handling operations now carried out by the Port of Port of Spain, leaving the ferry service to the T&T Inter-Island Company Limited and the lands for the Port of Spain Infrastructure Company.

Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said the new Liebherr P164 Crane-STS005 is a “milestone in trade facilitation.”

“What the business community is concerned about is goods leaving and entering at a faster rate. A faster rate means a cheaper cost and therefore that builds into the price of the product. We’re happy about this because it signals operational efficiency,” Gopee-Scoon said.

Sinanan said the new crane will help with the country plans for the future.

“This crane puts us in a position where we can attract much larger vessels and hopefully going forward with the improvements to the port and the projections that we have going out for a private partner we are in a much better position now to attract larger vessels which seems to be the way that the shipping industry is going,” he said.