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Forum on Sustainable Transportation Solutions for the Future

Ms Chade Gabriel and Eng. Jainarine Bansee

The Pan-Caribbean Group event organizers, moderator speakers and panelists.
The Pan-Caribbean Group event organizers, moderator speakers and panelists.

IMechE Pan-Caribbean Group hold event in collaboration with Association for Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago

On Thursday 3rd November, 2016, the Mechanical Division of the Association for Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago (APETT) in collaboration with the IMechE Pan-Caribbean Group held a joint forum discussion on Sustainable Transportation Solutions for the Future, at the University of The West Indies (UWI), St Augustine Campus, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. The event got off to a timely start with the introduction of the facilitators and moderator by APETT’s Mechanical Division Secretary Eng. Michael Merritt. Dr. Trevor Townsend, Senior Lecturer in Transportation Engineering at the UWI was the moderator and set the tone for the evening’s discussions by providing some background information on the topic and detailing the agenda for the session.

The first facilitator to take the floor was Mr. Curtis Mohammed, President of the NGC CNG Company Limited, who spoke about the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative to conventional automobile fuels. The audience was given a clear idea of the infrastructure required to support this venture as well as the costs attached to the implementation of this option. Value considerations associated with the use of CNG were also explained as Mr. Mohammed detailed the benefits of this venture to all stakeholders. Finally, an analysis of the feasibility of the CNG option was done before Mr. Mohammed answered a few questions posed by the eager audience.

Mr. Ian Smart, CEO at Smart Energy Limited, then took the reins to discuss the use of electric vehicles as a sustainable transportation alternative. Smart Energy Limited is a renewable energy and energy efficiency company so it was no surprise that Mr. Smart began his presentation with the discussion of the ill-effects of conventional transportation options. He then regaled the audience with the advantages of the electric vehicle, boasting of the low maintenance schedule and the software and control possibilities that abound. Mr. Smart concluded his presentation on a high note; moderator Townsend was put to work controlling the questions that were posed as a result of Mr. Smart’s contribution.  

The next facilitator to take the floor was Mr. Jeremy Pagee, Brand Director - Hyundai at Massy Motors, who gave his take on the topic from an automotive dealer’s point of view. He postulated that there was no clear winner when it came to transportation options. His comparison of the alternatives was based on convenience, affordability and support. Mr. Pagee spoke on the use of hybrid vehicles and gave some figures to support his assessment of the different transportation options available.

Rounding off the set was Mr. Rishi Ramroopsingh, Service Engineer at ANSA Automotive who also gave the automotive dealers’ perspective, speaking to the required infrastructure, the training of personnel and the inventory needed to support each option. Mr. Ramroopsingh’s presentation attracted a myriad of questions from the audience, who was curious about the cost of alternative fuel vehicles as well as provisions and laws for the disposal of consumables.

After the four facilitators gave their takes on the topic, they were placed in the “hot seat” to partake in the open question and answer segment of the evening. The audience was a mix of students and professionals, ensuring diversity in the types of questions asked and the resulting discussions that ensued. There were concerns about the safety of alternative fuel vehicles and the autonomous vehicles. Some questioned the timeframe for the introduction of alternative vehicles to the market and whether these vehicles can do anything to reduce congestion on the nation’s roadways.

Ms. Neysa Gunness of APETT’s Mechanical Division concluded the formal part of the evening with a vote of thanks. Certificates of appreciation to the facilitators were presented by Eng. Dr. Chris Maharaj, Chair IMechE Pan-Caribbean Group; Eng. Jainarine Bansee, APETT Mechanical/Industrial Chair; Eng. Vince Ramlochan, APETT Secretary and Eng. Michael Merritt, APETT’s Mechanical Division Secretary. This lead into an informal networking session which allowed audience and facilitators to mingle while partaking in the refreshments provided.

The evening was well spent and the feedback was positive as participants expressed their desire to partake in similar ventures in the future. The topic of sustainable transportation solutions for the future was enlightening as it opened the door to the discussion of other sub-topics of interest. Each attendee left the forum more informed, more educated and with a sense of anticipation for what the future of transportation in Trinidad and Tobago holds.

To find out  more about the Pan Caribbean Group then please visit the Pan Caribbean Group NearYoupage.

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