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Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago: Handling the Port of Spain

Located in the Southern-most waters of the Caribbean, where trade lanes between the Americas, islands of the Caribbean, and significant Atlantic and Pacific Ocean shipping lanes, the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT) is a strategic hub providing a coordinated and integrated system of harbour facilities and port services.   

Divided into four separate strategic units, PATT has served Trinidad and Tobago by providing port authority services for the Twin Island state for the last 70 years. A key focus of PATT is in the Port of Port of Spain for which the majority of cargo is imported and exported through. PATT was established as a statutory authority by an act of parliament in 1961, which was proclaimed in 1962 to begin providing a coordinated and integrated system of harbour facilities and services. Today, PATT is an entity comprising four business units: The Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago Governing Unit (PATTGU), The Port of Port of Spain (PPOS), The Trinidad and Tobago Inter-Island Transport Company (TTIT), and The Port of Spain Infrastructure Company (POSINCO).  

PATTGU provides critical authority over all the port’s activities and the other divisional units. It is the critical enabler in ensuring that all the units are efficient, sustainable, responsive, and productive throughout their business operations. Therefore, the PATTGU is on a mission to ensure that its internal stakeholders achieve their respective mandates and become leaders in these core areas of operation. Fundamentally, PATTGU works to ensure that all activities are in compliance with the Constitutional Law and Regulations of Trinidad and Tobago, promote excellent service which focuses on integrity, objectivity, fairness, professionalism, care, confidentiality and productivity across the port operation units, all the whilst ensuring that safety is paramount throughout every single activity. Therefore, we can see that PATTGU is a key voice in the Authority of the port, driving for excellence through safety and communication to ensure that the ports of Trinidad and Tobago are recognised globally as a key hub across vital international trade and shipping lanes.  

The key unit responsible for all cargo handling operations at the port is the PPOS. The Port of Spain is a natural harbour located on the north-western coast of Trinidad and is ideally positioned to service the major sea lanes. The PPOS unit provides berthing for international container vessels, breakbulk, roll-on/roll-off, and dry and liquid bulk cargo. PPOS also provides a range of services including towage, container freight, warehousing and a one-stop barrel shop for clearance and delivery of personal effects. The PPOS actively works to leverage its location and utilises its motivated and well-trained workforce, state-of-the-art technology, and range of modern and reliable equipment to ensure that the port maintains a steady stream of cargo handling to promote the Port on an international scale.  

The Port of Spain contains 142 hectares (ha) of land, with 61ha used specifically for cargo operations. As a government-owned unit, it facilitates all the necessary cargo handling, storage, and warehousing across the port through its 8 berths, unclaimed cargo shed, break bulk storage, Barrel shop, empty container storage yard, full container storage area, container reefer yard, as well as vehicle storage. Consequently, PPOS is capable of managing a whole range of cargo operations, to aid in bringing vessels into shore and the unloading/reloading of cargo to keep global supply chains moving.  

Also under PATT is the Inter-Island Transport Company (TTIT) which provides the service of reliable and affordable transport of passengers, vehicles and cargo between Trinidad and Tobago. Through TTIT’s 4 passenger ferries, the company provides world-class inter-island transportation services which facilitate customer-driven passenger and freight services between Trinidad and Tobago that are affordable, consistently safe, reliable, and efficient through its experienced workforce. TTIT is tech-driven and consistently provides vital transport links between the two islands, which continues to enhance the development of the region as a cohesive effort.  

Furthermore, the landlord unit of PATT is POSINCO which was incorporated in 2002 and plays a significant strategic role across the Port as the landlord who oversees the real estate of the port. A crucial part of its role is in the development of port infrastructure to help maintain the smooth running of the port. This maintenance aims to help boost cargo activity and the inter-island ferry service to keep the port developing to meet growing cargo and transportation demands across Trinidad and Tobago. POSINCO provides real estate leases and licenses, towage, upgrading and maintenance services, harbour facilities and a range of value-added services. The unit is committed to strengthening the Port of Port of Spain’s collective position, maintaining customer focus, and developing its human resources to comply with international standards for the preservation, safety, and security of the Port environment.  

An additional service available across the port through POSINCO is its cruise shipping services. Trinidad and Tobago have seen a vast increase in growth in international cruise shipping over the last decade, and a large amount of this development is due to the collaborated efforts of the Tourism Development Company, the Ministry of Tourism, the Tobago House of Assemble and POSINCO in the overseas market of Trinidad and Tobago. Therefore, through key collaboration with a range of companies across the region, POSINCO is upgrading and developing the port and its service offerings to continue to develop its role in both the cargo and tourism industries.  

Overall, the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago are providing key development across the region which has seen the port grow significantly over the last 70 years. The Port’s ability to handle cargo via The Port of Port of Spain has vastly improved through PPOS and POSINCO’s effort to develop its facilities towards a more seamless supply chain future. However, the tourism industry across Trinidad and Tobago has also seen vast development through TTIT. Collectively the divisional units of PATT work together to establish it as a unity and regulation-implementing organisation that seeks only the develop the ports towards global success. Therefore, as a strategic hub in the south of the Caribbean, PATT is successful in its mission to unite the region’s port offerings through its unrivalled commitment to developing its port and harbour services.