The port of Port of Spain is to be dredged next year to accommodate cargo ferries, Minister of Works and Transportation Rohan Sinanan said on Monday following the docking of the Galleons Passage at the Scarborough port on its first official journey on the sea bridge.
Sinanan said tenders were being evaluated for the project that he said would see the cargo ferry, the Cabo Star getting its own berthing spot and being subject to interruption to its sailing schedule to accommodate cruise ships.
For Tobago, he said dredging of the Scarborough port was expected to be done next year.
“The Scarborough port would normally be dredged every four years, it is not due for a dredging until 2019, however the team from Trinidad that will be conducting the dredging will come across to Tobago and do a survey to see if they need to do any emergency dredging, we can’t just go in and do a dredging,” he said.
He did not address the situation at the Scarborough port where the ramp for the Galleons Passage must be removed every time the Cabo Star comes in to dock.
“There is a challenge with the infrastructure of the port and this why, in Trinidad, we are dredging the channels and hopefully in Trinidad the Cabo Star will have its home berthing area.
This is not only for the Cabo Star but for all cargo vessels and once that dredging is completed the Cabo Star (docking) will not affect the cruise ship season.
“In the last five to six years we have had the vessels not berthing in the correct place and that had been part of the problem with the cruise ships,” he said.
He also said $8 million approved by Cabinet in June was to complete and facilitate infrastructure work at the Port-of-Spain port and not for the construction of a ramp for the Galleons Passage.
“The ramp for the Galleons Passage had nothing to do with the $8 million approved. That ramp that was built cost significantly less than that, about less than $0.5 million, he said.
“That money ($8 million) was to do work in Port-of-Spain to accommodate the entire vessel and to have vessels berthing at the $15 million ramp that was built in 2014 that was never put to use,” he added.
Sinanan said most vessels were not built for Trinidad and Tobago’s infrastructure, and some on-land adjustments were needed to operate the vessels.
He said the government will cut costs when the Cabo Star is given its own berthing area as the need to rent a badge for berthing in the Hyatt Regency area would then be unnecessary.