…as transshipment costs from Trinidad to Guyana reach new heights
Talks have advanced with Barbados to establish a special port facility as a workaround against rising transshipment costs being experienced when shipping containers from Trinidad to Guyana. This is according to President Dr Irfaan Ali.
President Ali made this announcement during the commissioning of a new US$8 million facility, where he revealed that complaints have been received over hurdles to shipping goods from Trinidad to Guyana.
“This morning, some members of the private sector told me that there’s now a major problem with transshipment from Trinidad to Guyana. That most of the containers have to be offloaded at Trinidad and transshipped to Guyana. And the transshipment cost from Trinidad to Guyana has increased tremendously,” President Ali said.
Even though this complaint was only just received, President Ali said that his government has been able to advance talks with the Barbadians in order to find a solution. That solution, according to him, will involve a special port being set up in Bridgetown, Barbados, from where the containers could be shipped.
“So, we now – I’m working with Barbados now to say to the Barbadians, ‘listen, let’s see how maybe Barbados can give us a special area, on their port, where we have all the containers there’.
“And we have a more efficient transshipment plan from Barbados to Guyana, with the two countries at the Government level entering into an arrangement. And that discussion is very far advanced. We’re making a lot of progress on that,” President Ali informed the crowd.
Regional transport policy
President Ali has been vocal about the need for a transport policy in the Region. As far back as 2021, while addressing a Regional Sub-Committee on the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME), he had informed them that the Lead Head on Transport has been engaged with a view to developing specific recommendations to incentivise Private Sector interest and partnership in transport and logistics, in order to better serve the agri-food systems agenda.
The President had explained that the Ministerial Taskforce had recognised transport and logistics as integral to the effective implementation of the Caricom agri-food systems agenda. According to him, there were options being explored.
As recently as last month, during the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, President Dr Ali had urged the regional Private Sector to form consortiums and take full advantage of the access to financing in order to solve the Region’s maritime transportation woes.
As much as US$3 billion in funding is expected to be made available to the Caribbean by the African Export-Import Bank. The President urged the Caribbean Private Sector not to waste the opportunity to form consortiums aimed at tackling longstanding regional maritime transport problems.
Ali pointed out that not only would his People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government and other Caribbean Governments support the regional Private Sector’s efforts to address this issue, but they also have support from the African EXIM Bank to tap into.
“I would consider it a severe missed opportunity by the regional Private Sector, if they cannot form a consortium and use this opportunity that EXIM Bank is offering, to end our regional transport failure. And I speak specifically about our maritime transport infrastructure.”
“We can plant and grow as much as we want. We can do agro-processing, manufacturing, and industrial development. We can reengineer the supply chain. But we have to move things. We have to move things throughout the Region,” President Ali had said.
In 2022, some US$1.5 billion was made available to Caricom Member States by the African EXIM Bank, as part of efforts to foster closer ties between the two regions. This figure is expected to increase to US$3 billion, once the remaining Caricom Member States ratify a partnership agreement with the bank. (G3)