New SAJ president focused on sustainability, industrial park
William Brown, the new president of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), is placing high priority on the strengthening of the current foundation while developing new strategies for the sustainability of the SAJ, and on creating an industrial park for the port of Kingston.
Born in 1963 in the salubrious climes of Cascade, Hanover, Williams showed early promise of being an outstanding achiever as a top student at Rusea’s High School and then at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. “My parents fostered in me a strong sense of personal responsibility, and a drive to set very high standards for myself,” Brown reveals, adding that his upbringing gave him a sense of wanting to be all he could be.
Brown recalls: “My parents’ advice and actions were lessons that left an indelible impression on me and shaped my character and experiences throughout my life. My late father was driven by a sense of responsibility, particularly his responsibility to his family. He felt strongly that leadership was characterised by selflessness. He fostered in me an understanding that collective growth was key to the strength and success of any organisation. Then there was my mother, who fostered drive, ambition, and a sense of industry within me.
It was therefore a natural progression that, after graduating from the UWI with a BSc honours degree in accounting (1987), Brown would go on to graduate from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Consortium for Professional Accountants and later the Forum for International Trade Training, in Ottawa, Canada, and become a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica and the ACCA. He is also a certified international trade professional, specialising in fraud, inventory logistics, ship agency forensics, as well as international trade investigations under the auspices of the World Trade Organization.
DEVOTED FAMILY MAN
He is married to nephrologist Dr Charmaine Watson-Brown. They have three adult children – Stefan, Dominic, and Jada, and two grandchildren, Mia and Odin. Brown was on a strong upward path in his career with an employment history that included PricewaterhouseCoopers, ATL Group of Companies, Reckitt & Coleman Overseas Limited and the Anti-Dumping & Subsidies Commission. While his wife pursued her fellowship in nephrology at the University of Ottawa, he moved with the family to Canada, still working for the Anti-Dumping & Subsidies Commission and delivering on all aspects that required his skills in forensic and financial analyses.
Commenting on the decision to move overseas, the SAJ president says that “placing family first is one of my core values, and I have inculcated these values while raising my children”.
DEEPER INVOLVEMENT IN SHIPPING
It was upon his return to Jamaica in 2004 that Brown was appointed financial controller of Lannaman & Morris Shipping Limited and then managing director in 2009, while at the same time working across the Caribbean, doing shipping agency forensic reviews for the then Seafreight Shipping Line, for whom Lannaman & Morris Shipping was agent. Over the years, he learnt the various aspects of the shipping industry and the related port logistics. He says: “These new skills, along with those of forensics and financial management, I apply in my new and various posts in the shipping industry.”
Williams is also chairman for Group D (Logistics & NVOCC Group) on the General Council of the Caribbean Shipping Association. Further, he is deputy chairman of the board of directors of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica and chairs the Government’s Enterprise Committee for the Privatisation Jamaica’s Ship Registry.
A VISION FOR SHIPPING
Brown states that the shipping industry has always been a financially strong and stable industry, adding that “for the industry to continue to provide that sustainability in its contribution to the country’s GDP, we would love to see a continuation of the conversations surrounding the logistics hub, and a reintroduction of the Government’s interest”.
The logistics hub that Brown and the SAJ envision would be greatly facilitated by the creation of an industrial park for the port of Kingston.
Looking at the future of shipping regionally, the SAJ president sees the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) as a very strong model of the “new Caribbean”, and of what collaboration can achieve. The membership of the CSA runs from Florida to Panama, including the Central and South American countries that border the Atlantic Ocean. He says that this collaboration of shipping interests (ports, shipping lines, agents, logistic providers) has established a chain of trade options that the governments of this ‘new Caribbean’ can use to strengthen trade among these countries.
“Shipping links these countries that were not traditional trading partners, and we in the industry see the value of this new collaboration,” says Brown. He says that such regional cooperation is essential, because “globally, we are small, and the economies of scale are not on the side of the Caribbean”.
William Brown was elected president of the Shipping Association of Jamaica at their 82nd annual general meeting, held on Friday, November 27, at the SAJ’s headquarters in Newport West, Kingston.