A Hub of Investment Opportunities

February 23rd, 2023

Franka Costelloe, Chairman, InvesTT
Franka Costelloe


Franka Costelloe
Chairman, InvesTT

Trinidad and Tobago’s manufacturing sector is the largest in the English-speaking Caribbean, and the largest sector of the national economy based on its share of GDP. As Trinidad and Tobago’s Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) aligned to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, InvesTT focuses on key non-energy sectors such as Energy Intensive Manufacturing, Maritime Services, Logistics and Distribution and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). According to Franka Costelloe, Chairman, InvesTT, there are many reasons to invest in the local manufacturing sector.

Recovery in investment

Costelloe shares how InvesTT fared, “Eleven (11) investments closed in 2021 at TT$135 million, nearly returning to the pre-pandemic figure in 2019 of TT$143.5 million. In 2022 it is anticipated that the rethinking around route to market strategies due to supply chain disruption coupled with the added focus on implementation of infrastructure investment stimulus remain key points driving rejuvenated interest in the Caribbean and South America. The important risks to be mindful of include labour demand, supply chain bottlenecks, the energy crisis and inflationary pressures that will also affect results.”

While there is normally a time lag between economic recovery and recovery of new investments, Costelloe states, “InvesTT can say that we are at the end of the third quarter of our financial year and that we stand at a Total Investment Value of TT$356.1 million to date. The message is that InvesTT is well on the road to surpassing the FY target of TT$230 million, which was a 70% increase on the previous year’s target. Further to that, it has been a pleasure to see the cross-section of geographies, industries and business sectors being facilitated at InvesTT – Maritime, Manufacturing, Logistics, Agro-Processing, Tourism, BPO companies, Call Centres and investments that range in size from $1 million all the way up to $265 million and they all get the same essence of importance.”

Why invest in manufacturing?

Trinidad and Tobago’s robust logistics infrastructure, supported by numerous bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade agreements have created avenues for manufacturers seeking to access new markets. Additionally, local amenable energy costs – facilitated by the hydrocarbon industry – significantly boost the capacity of manufacturers to offer competitively priced products for export. Geographically situated between the Americas, Trinidad and Tobago has a strategic export and supplier network location. At the southern-most end of the Caribbean archipelago, the threat of operational downtime for businesses is minimised during the region’s annual hurricane season.

With two major seaports for sea freight (Port of Port of Spain and Port of Point Lisas) and one major airport for air freight (Piarco International Airport), there are several routes for importing raw materials and exporting finished goods. There is also ease of access to modern industrial estate opportunities such as e TecK’s Phoenix Park Industrial Estate and the Tamana InTech Park.

Investment opportunities in manufacturing

There are numerous gas-based downstream manufacturing opportunities such as Liquefied Natural Gas; Alternative Fuels & Fuel Additives — CNG, Petrochemicals for Fuels (eg: flex fuels), DME; Metals Processing —Aluminium; Downstream Methanol — DME and Plastics; Downstream Ammonia — Urea, Fertiliser Applications; Inorganic Chemicals; and Biochemicals – Natural Gas to Protein. Trinidad and Tobago is also positioned to become a manufacturing centre for renewable energy components for the solar and wind energy industries to support growing demand in the Caribbean and the Americas. Other sustainable energy manufacturing opportunities include Renewable Energy Electricity Generation, Green hydrogen and green chemicals and Energy Storage — Battery Assembly. In the food and beverage sector options exist for the manufacturing of prepared food stuff, beverages, and spirits and there are also possibilities in Pulp and Paper Manufacturing.

New horizons for investment

“The real estate option stretches in Trinidad all the way from Phoenix Park, Moruga, Tamana and estates that are outside of e TecK’s purview as well, all the way to Tobago. We have also built a very strong relationship with the new Tobago House of Assembly, Chief Secretary, The Honourable Farley Chavez Augustine, who is exceptionally passionate about growing business in Tobago and having a one-on-one relationship with local and foreign investors. There is a lot of energy on the InvesTT Board and amongst the InvesTT executives to build on this new momentum coming out of the Covid-19 drop that we saw in 2020.”

Costelloe looks forward to future developments, “We are enthusiastic about the merger with exporTT – we see this as added resources and collaboration to hit all time higher numbers to stretch our targets.” These recent measures by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to establish a Trade and Investment Promotion Agency in Trinidad and Tobago, merging several state agencies, will create an enabling environment giving the local manufacturing sector a much-needed boost.

By Natalie Dookie