Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
The Sol Group understands that energy fuels all aspects of life in the Caribbean. From the shipping of commercial cargo to powering the business community, they are committed to providing the best possible energy solutions.
Sol operates in 19 Caribbean markets and across all segments of the petroleum distribution business. The local-based operation, Sol Petroleum Jamaica Limited, is headed by General Manager Robert Jackson whose main responsibilities include solidifying an already well-established commercial relationship between Sol and Shell and to further cement Sol's position as the largest distributor of Shell lubricants in the Caribbean.
Jackson spent more than 13 years at Texaco Caribbean Inc, and moved up the ranks to retail manager for Jamaica before working at the Norman Manley International Airport as a commercial manager. "It was an exciting time for me as I went to the airport when it was under reconstruction, and I was a part of the new image that was created," he said.
However, fuelled by his passion for the petroleum industry, when contacted to head up the Sol operations in Jamaica, Jackson saw it as an opportunity to once again become integrally involved in an area he loved. "My passion for the petroleum industry never left me. The industry and its dynamics have changed, so I decided to grasp the opportunity once again," Jackson said.
Jackson leads a staff of 16, ranging from managerial level to sales, operations, support staff and a technical consultancy team. "Feedback has been good. Shell is already a reputable brand in Jamaica, so it is not a hard sell. In some instances, there are persons who have never used the products, so we are introducing it to them," he said.
In the short-term, Jackson said they want to be a dominant player in the lubricants market, and their long-term goal is to provide total solutions for the petroleum market. In Jamaica, Sol provides a full range of lubricants, including synthetic high-performance products, and is one of the largest privately held petroleum distribution companies operating in the Caribbean.
Some 50 service stations carry the Shell brand in Jamaica. Shell Jamaica's assets have passed through three owners since 2005. Current owner, RUBiS Energy, is in the process of rebranding the gas stations.