Piedroba: Standardization of Environmental Regulation Is Critical in the Caribbean

Jelle Prins and Luis Prieto y Munoz

Piedroba Consulting Group (PCG), a Miami based marine infrastructure consultancy firm with an emphasis on dredging, has reported a very busy 2016, filled with lots of activities and accomplishments.

The company also reported a growth in its revenues.

Enough reasons for Dredging Today to catch up with Piedroba partners Jelle Prins and Luis Prieto y Munoz and discuss the impact they project for 2017.

DT: How did the challenging market of 2016 affect the Piedroba Consulting Group?

PCG (J. Prins): We are seeing revenue grow by a healthy margin. We have been able to strengthen our strategic positioning in the Americas and have expanded to other geographical markets.

Our CEO, Dr. Luis Prieto-Portar, is currently in Bangladesh assisting the World Bank with the preparation of a substantial dredge tender, and we are continuing to do a lot of work in the Caribbean.

While the dredging market has been relatively tight, we have enjoyed a high level of responsiveness and motivation on the part of the dredging contractors, which definitely helped us attract satisfying results for our clients.

Having WODCON in our hometown (Miami) was a highlight. We also hosted a successful dredging seminar. Another memorable engagement was a two day Spanish language dredging course that we provided in Mexico this past November.

DT: Will PCG be able to maintain its revenue growth?

PCG (J. Prins): We are expanding geographically. We are also offering more turn-key services, and we are generating significant repeat business.

Our clients recognize the value of proactive risk management strategies rather than responding as matters pop up. This has resulted in us being hired earlier in the project process.

The early involvement has allowed us to prevent unnecessary risks from materializing, while affording substantial cost savings for our clients, and boosting our involvement and revenue.

DT: What challenges did you and your clients experience on dredging projects?

PCG (L. Prieto y Munoz): One of the most complex elements we have faced this year came from environmental regulations. We have found that many of the smaller Caribbean nations have poorly defined – or non-existent – environmental standards, specifically as they relate to dredging projects.

As a consequence, we face several instances where regulators applied unbuildable specifications on our projects, forcing protracted and costly negotiations.

In some instances, these environmental standards forced significantly higher costs of construction on the overall project.

DT: How can this challenge be tackled, and what could PCG’s role be?

PCG (L. Prieto y Munoz): As dredging in the Caribbean market increases, the need for a suitable international standard for environmental compliance becomes more critical. This is especially necessary specifically as related to turbidity on dredging projects.

Doing so would not only simplify the often complex regulatory environment of the Caribbean, but also ensure greater, and more appropriate environmental protection, as many of the applied standards are overly complex while doing relatively little to abate the impact of dredging.

We are working towards establishing such a standard and will begin working towards its adoption throughout 2017.

DT: PCG is known for its Risk Management Process. Can we expect any new services in 2017?

PCG (L. Prieto y Munoz): Since our founding, we have focused most of our consultancy on a very specific driven management process. We have found, over the course of our tenure, that many of the issues our client spectrum face are repetitive and they are common to most projects.

As such, we are working on developing a standalone consultancy program, focused primarily on our clients with a frequent need for dredging, which would establish protocols and procedures, so our clients can administrate their own projects adequately, from concept to completion.

Many of our larger public and private clients have very established protocols and procedures for many aspects of their business, accounting, purchasing, etc. Our goal is to develop and implement a similar process as it relates to dredging.