Grantry crane operators, Glenroy Robinson, (second right), makes a point to shipping executives following the certificate presentation ceremony. From left are Cdr. Michael Rodriguez, executive director of the JMI, Alvin Henry SAJ General Manager; Grantley Stephenson, President of SAJ and Robert Kinlocke, managing director of KTO. - Contributed
THE SHIPPING Association of Jamaica (SAJ) presented more than 40 gantry crane operators with certificates, signalling that they have met the requirements for entry into the category. The presentations were made during a ceremony at the SAJ Fourth Street Newport West complex recently.
The gantry crane operators were trained at different periods and some of them also benefited from training on the Digitran Crane Simulator at the Jamaica Maritime Institute (JMI), which was acquired last year. Officials from the local shipping industry also shared in the moment.
In his remarks, President of the SAJ, Grantley Stephenson, commended the operators, noting that they had endured rigorous training to attain the required level of competence to get accreditation. He said their training coupled with the correct attitude, would make the gantry crane operators compatible with any others worldwide.
"With the global changes taking place and the fierce competition being faced from other ports, we believe that our port workers should be of international standards and for this reason the issue of training has become more important. We not only believe in training, but we believe in training of the highest quality," Mr. Stephenson observed.
The President also traced the SAJ history of ensuring that the crane operators receive the highest level of training. He said in the initial stages, two batches of operators were sent for training in Jacksonville, Florida, in preparation for the opening of the Container Terminal and over the years experts have been brought in from overseas to help train workers.
Presently, he said it is a different situation as now there is a simulator at JMI to boost the local training capabilities, and there are quality local trainers, preparing the men for the task at hand. Mr. Stephenson explained that when the crane simulator was acquired and installed at the JMI, seven crane simulator-instructors were trained and since then, operators have been sent to JMI on a regular basis as part of the continuing efforts to improve performance in the industry.
He reported that from January to date, 42 operators have received training on the simulator and a number of winchmen have benefited from training on the ship pedestal crane module. Mr. Stephenson commended the crane simulator instructors who have been putting the operators through their paces.
The SAJ President also congratulated the operators for their accomplishment and urged them to strive for excellence in their work and to practice safety on the ports.
"...While we emphasise the need for training we must also reiterate the need for safety to be practised at all times. For this, we all must take individual responsibility. Each of you should ensure, that while you strive to sharpen your skills, you must also seek to ensure that you do your work safely to reduce injury and loss of man-hours," he advised.
In his comments, Managing Director of Kingston Terminal, Operators Robert Kinlocke, said it was good that the men, who were part of the team contributing to the development of the port, received the certificate as evidence that they were trained operators. He, however, cautioned that the 'piece of paper' would be meaningless "unless you prove you are worthy of it.
"Your role is most critical. You must recognise that with it comes enormous responsibility. It cannot be over emphasised that having demonstrated that you have the aptitude, the major task now is to show that you have the right attitude to be a good worker," Mr. Kinlocke noted.
Also addressing the gathering was Commander Michael Rodriquez, executive director of the JMI who gave words of encouragement to the operators and noted the JMI's effort to provide quality workers for the shipping industry.
Speaking on behalf of the operators, Glenroy Robinson thanked the SAJ and noted the group's commitment to the development of the local shipping industry and making Kingston port the best in the region.