Port efficiency is one of the three components of port performance (which needs upgrading at this port); the other two being effectiveness and resilience.

Efficiency commonly refers to the operational performance of ports and the maximisation of the produced output with given resources, or the production of a given output with limited possible resources.

The working facilities for Customs and clerks at the Customs examination station is deplorable. The number of bays to examine containers needs to be increased.

The scanners need to be working hand in hand with the manual process to service the public properly. Added to this the traffic to get into and out of the Port of Spain Port is atrocious from Wrightson Road.

This port has implemented the NAVIS system (tracking cargo through a port, automating equipment operations), whereby there is less human traffic inside the port, but they are still having you pay for a wharf pass.

The traffic you get on port is at Shed #10, where the LCL (less than container load) and barrel cargo are delivered. Imagine when you clear cargo at the western side of the port, near MovieTowne, the clerk has to go to cargo accounts, which is at the eastern part of the port, near the Hyatt (could the port relocate cargo accounts to the Customs examination station?).

The port is looking for a partner to manage its operations.

Point Lisas Port: at this port you don’t need a wharf pass. All that is needed is your Customs licence. At this port, there is no NAVIS system, but it is managed 50 per cent better than the Port of Spain Port.

Unstuffing of containers and turn-around time is promising.

Extension of this port and making it a state-of-the-art facility will make it the hub for transshipment of cargo.

Shipping agents: shipping agents use the days of the week to ship from the port of export to arrive in Trinidad on a Wednesday. The agent will enter the information on the Asycuda system on a Thursday (irregularities at the port give five days free, while the agent gives 12 days free demurrage, which is now reduced to seven days’ demurrage).

The importer will lose Thursday, Friday and Monday to prepare their entry and declaration for Customs, and Tuesday and Wednesday as the importer has to get a certified cheque to pay the import duties.

So by the time the importer’s entry is lodged for Customs clearance, you are already paying rent and demurrage on the shipment, and the shipment has not passed through Customs or left the wharf. By the time it reaches your premises and container is unstuffed, the importer’s demurrage days could reach 20, where the cost is US$120 per day.

Freight charges have increased, local handling charges have increased, and we want to know why the cost of living is so high—ie, grocery prices, etc.

Importers, when paying freight and handling charges in Trinidad, are imposed by the shipping agent to pay theses charges at a rate of exchange of $6.90 to the US (meaning if your freight is US$100, you have to pay TT$690).

The Central Bank rate of exchange is $6.78.

Gordon Laughlin