Celebrating 70 years of unity
Published: Tuesday | January 27, 2009
Today marks an important milestone in the history of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ). It was exactly 70 years ago on this date, that four great leaders in Jamaica's shipping industry decided to create a unified group to address the labour turmoil on the Port of Kingston.
The four men were, Captain Sibrandt Duhn List, co-managing director, Jamaica Fruit and Shipping Limited; Charles Edward Johnston, managing director, Jamaica Banana Producers Co-operative Limited; Thomas Bradshaw, country manager, United Fruit Company Limited; and Luis Frederick Kennedy, governing director, GraceKennedy and Company Limited.
On January 27, 1939, the SAJ was registered as a trade union representing wharf owners and agents of shipping companies. The chairman of the association, Captain List, placed a notice in The Daily Gleaner informing the public that the association had been formed, "for the purpose of improving conditions of employment and of estab-lishing uniformity in the rates of remuneration of labour in connection with work on the wharves and ships and to ensure the payment of fair and reasonable rates. It is felt by the association that the time has been reached when employers of labour on the waterfront of Kingston must take a firm stand with regard to the manner in which work is performed".
Seventy years later, the visionary actions of the four businessmen have helped to create a modern, world-class shipping industry, with the SAJ positioned as change-leader, service provider and partner to a range of government and private sector stakeholders.
Today, the SAJ has built on the foundation of its founding fathers and continues the rich tradition of developing and implementing initiatives to advance industrial relations, expand training, improve port security, and enhance infor-mation technology. The asso-ciation supplies several categories of labour to the port and continues to negotiate uniformed standards and rates of remuneration for port labour.
The Association's membership has also evolved to include companies in trade allied to shipping, such as non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) and others.
As the Association looks towards 2009 and beyond, its aim is to work with stakeholders and government entities to establish a port community system, a central data facility which provides integration of activities among all members of the port community; develop Newport West into an industrial park to create conditions that are congruent with a modern port community and to work with partners to deepen understanding of the concept of Jamaica as a logistics hub.
This evening, the Association will launch an islandwide exhibition which will highlight its contribution to Jamaica since 1939, and give a glimpse into how it views the future of the shipping industry and Jamaica. The exhibition will be launched at 5:30 p.m. today at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library, Tom Redcam Avenue, and will remain at that venue for one month. It will then move to other locations around Jamaica.
SAJ's Founding fathers
( L - R ) Sibrandt Duhn List, Luis Frederick Kennedy, Charles Edward Johnston, Thomas Bradshaw