The Port of Port-of-Spain has agreed to waive all port rent charges for the period Monday, March 30 to Wednesday, April 15.

This new development comes after ongoing discussions between the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Government with respect to waivers of port rent charges and demurrage.

This new waiver is expected to help address the issues which affect the business community, in light of the new Government-imposed restrictions.

In a statement yesterday, T&T Chamber chief executive officer, Gabriel Faria confirmed the waiver.

He said that charges accrued prior to Monday, March 30, remain applicable.

The chamber has also been in discussions with the port in Point Lisas.

“We await feedback from the port of Point Lisas,” Faria said.

“The issue of demurrage still remains a crucial point of discussion and we ask the government to use their office to persuade the shipping companies to follow suit and waive demurrage for all non-essential companies during this period of restricted movement under these force majeure circumstances,” Faria said.

He said that the financial implications are significant if these waivers were not granted.

The chamber is also calling on citizens to obey the new regulations imposed by the Government and stay at home.

Faria said the body “strongly supports the initiatives of government to restrict unnecessary movement at this time”.

“We ask our businesses and national community to stay at home unless absolutely necessary,” Faria said.

When the Government first announced the new restrictions on non-essential businesses last Thursday, Faria and other business chambers said the State’s call caused panic.

At that time, Faria said that the lack of details on what businesses were essential meant confusion for business owners.

However, now that the State has clarified the list of essential and non-essential businesses, the chamber is calling for citizen support of the lock down.

Faria said as a small country, the risk can be detrimental if citizens do not adhere to the stay-at-home rules.

“It is a time for us to be prudent, heed the instructions of government and work together to bring the situation under control,” he said.