Remarks at Port of Port of Spain Public Private Partnership Launch

Good morning to each and every one of you joining us at this event today.


Partnerships for any goals, can be identified as the most dynamic way to get things done. And, of the seventeen global Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, Goal Number Seventeen (17), of revitalising Partnerships for the SDGs, is perhaps the most significant goal. I endorse this, because achieving all the other goals of sustainable development with either be buttressed by, or dependent on partnerships formed by agencies, institutions, communities, organisations and people, all working together and collaborating to paint the big picture. In order to reach these goals, and any national goals for that matter, governments, the private sector, academics, and citizens must work together. It can be said that for everyone to benefit, everyone needs to contribute in some way.


On that note, I wish to applaud our development partners, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF) for their long-standing partnership with the government. Bothe agencies have been equally-involved and commited to the national development of Trinidad and Tobago.


The need for acceptable sustainable and climate-friendly infrastructure services is proportionately increasing at a relative pace, as populations and economies across the Caribbean Region grow. To overcome these challenges, there is the demand for governments to make significant investments in high-quality infrastructure assets. Estimates provided by the World Bank and Caribbean Development Bank indicate that the Region needs investments of about twenty-one billion US dollars over the period 2014 to 2025, to close the infrastructure gap.


In order to meet these estimates, participation from the private sector is critical, especially in times when public funding has to be stretched further. According to the Caribbean Public Private Partnerships Toolkit, ‘Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) offer a complementary mechanism for governments to procure, finance and implement public infrastructure projects that can leverage the private sector’s knowledge, financial capacity and efficiency’.


I can safely say that we all fully agree on the strategic importance of improving port efficiency in line with Trinidad and Tobago’s National Development Strategy, also called Vision 2030.


Theme Three of Vision 2030 is strongly focused on “Improving Productivity through Quality Infrastructure and Transportation”. Ports, as elements of national infrastructure, are facilitators of economic development, by enabling trade and supporting supply chains. Because port development and world trade are so closely interrelated, regional port investments confer our islands with economic benefits that can be direct, indirect, or induced.


Infrastructure investment projects, such as port developments, carry a spectrum of economic benefits connecting various areas of national development. Economic benefits can be directly measured as impacts in terms of monetary value. The American Association of Port Authorities stated that cargo activities at U.S. seaports accounted for 26 percent of the U.S. economy, generating nearly $5.4 trillion in total economic activity and more than three hundred and seventy-eight billion US dollars in federal, state and local taxes in 2018, a figure that is expected to increase significantly, through to 2030.


The Caribbean region is strategically important by virtue of its proximity to the United States and major maritime trade routes and infrastructure, such as the Panama Canal and the hemisphere’s many ports. As a gateway to one of the world’s primary maritime routes, through the integration of technology and infrastructure, the region is expected to play an increasingly important role in global logistics. It therefore makes complete sense that we find ways to modernise and further develop the Port of Port of Spain, and public-private partnerships are an answer that will provide symbiotic solutions offering multiple benefits, in the following ways:

  • As a means of enhancing private-sector technology and innovation through the provision of better public services, resulting in improved operational efficiency.
  • By enabling the development of local private-sector capabilities through joint ventures with large international firms, and sub-contracting opportunities for local firms in areas such as civil works, electrical works, facilities management, security services, cleaning and maintenance services.
  • Through the use of PPPs as a way of gradually exposing state owned enterprises and government to increasing levels of private sector participation.
  • PPPs can be structured to ensure the transfer of skills, leading to national champions that can run their own operations professionally.
  • Extracting long-term value for money, through appropriate risk transfer to the private sector over the life of the project – from design/ construction to operations/ maintenance.


Ports are principally a channel of amalgamation into the global economic system. Resourceful and well-connected container ports empowered by regular and consistent shipping services are vital to reducing trade costs, (including transport costs), connecting supply chains, and supporting global trade. With the combined benefits of public-private partnerships, we can create an ecosystem of economic, innovative and creative activity spurring Trinidad and Tobago forward. We have the opportunity through this approach to also deliver good governance and service excellence, while simultaneously building globally-competitive businesses - Themes Two and Four of Vision 2030 respectively.


  1. therefore reiterate, there are benefits to be gained through the economic and social opportunities that exist, if we plan carefully and implement creatively and innovatively. thank you all for your time this morning.