Sat | Aug 8, 2020

Shipco is the SAJ’s newest member

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Newest SAJ Member: Rachel Matthews, general manager of Shipco Transport Jamaica Ltd., serving customers with a smile from her Duke Street office in Kingston.

One of the first big moves of Shipco Transport Jamaica Limited was to apply for membership in the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) as soon as it started operations in January of this year.


“We know the value of SAJ membership,” states Rachel Matthews, general manager of Shipco, a neutral Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC). Matthews, whose career in shipping spans over 20 years, says that her own experience in the industry has proven the tremendous benefits of membership in the association. “The SAJ continues to be the backbone of our industry and is very proactive with regard to engaging other institutions that are integral to our operations, such as Jamaica Customs and in helping to streamline processes on behalf of members,” Shipco’s GM says. She adds that membership also opens the door to the Caribbean Shipping Association which takes the voice of advocacy, on behalf of shipping, to the world stage and is integral to regional and international networking for industry stakeholders.


Although Shipco may be new to Jamaica, it has a history in shipping and logistics dating back to 1969, when Scan-Group, based in Denmark, was formed and founded Shipco Transport as a subsidiary in 1988. Headquartered in Chatham, New Jersey, Shipco has grown into one of the world’s leading neutral NVOCCs, operating more than 75 offices in more than30 countries across five continents and employing more than 2,200 people. In November 2019, offices were also opened in Trinidad & Tobago.


Explaining the role of a ‘neutral NVOCC’, Matthews says that neutrality refers to the fact that Shipco serves freight forwarders and brokers and is not in competition with them. “We see ourselves as wholesalers who consolidate cargo to fill a container and take it anywhere in the world”. She reveals that as a NVOCC, the company negotiates as wholesalers, the best rates with shipping lines from all over the world. Their company passes on the reduced costs to freight forwarders and brokers who, in turn, can pass on the savings to their customers.

She further explains that, ‘consolidating cargo’ involves the process of having various cargo shipments share the same container as well as the container shipping costs. This is also called Less than Container Load (LCL) shipping and is useful in the following ways:

- LCL Shipping is usually chosen when there is not enough goods to fill an entire container

- LCL shipping can allow you to lower your warehousing costs and inventory costs

Furthering their global presence, Shipco Transport is one of the founding members of the Worldwide Alliance, an association of the world’s leading neutral NVOCCs, and the Air Cargo Group, a global organisation of neutral air freight wholesalers. These strategic alliances bring together exclusive networks of like-minded companies ensuring efficient services at both ends of the shipping process.

Shipco’s GM in Jamaica adds that, “our company’s truly intermodal character, offering air freight, LCL (less thank container load) and FCL (full container load), uniquely positions our company as a ‘one stop’ provider of worldwide transport solutions.”


Matthews holds a master’s degree in shipping management from the World Maritime University in Sweden and is an adjunct lecturer at the Caribbean Maritime University. She comes from a family with a long history of involvement in shipping; her mother, Lucy Emmanuel, was an industry professional; her brother is a marine pilot; and her son is graduating this year with a BSC in marine transportation.

“My life in shipping has taught me that we are involved in a ‘people business’,” Shipco Jamaica’s GM states, noting that her staff of four industry professionals share her attitude towards customer service. She said that her company believes that, “although information technology plays a vital role in this business, we believe in looking at things from a human perspective. Our staff is our real asset when it comes to bringing value to our customers, all while dealing with complex and challenging issues to ensure service delivery”.

Matthews says she is looking forward to being deeply involved in the work of the SAJ and in participating in the projects and programmes of the association in the areas of training, professional development, networking opportunities and connecting with stakeholders across sectors who are essential to the services offered by Shipco.

Formed in 1939, the SAJ is registered under the Trade Union Act of Jamaica and is a service provider to the ports as well as a member-based organisation of terminal operators, stevedoring contractors, and shipping agents, the latter of which are the marketing and logistics representatives of shipping lines in Jamaica.

The association works closely with government agencies and the private sector to promote sustainability and growth in the shipping industry. The SAJ promotes initiatives to advance the interests of its members, employees, and staff, as well as delivers training programmes for industry members. It promotes a high standard of industrial relations in the shipping industry through the Joint Industrial Council established in 1952.