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Training, chassis facility high on agenda for haulage association

Published:Tuesday | January 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Newly elected president of the Port Trailer Haulage Association (PTHA), Alva Wood, has indicated that improving the professionalism of the trucking fraternity and establishing a chassis facility for truckers is high on the list of objectives for his association.

Wood, who was elected president on December 13 last year, said, in his new role as president, his aim will be to "provide leadership to the association, its executives, and the membership, and to supervise and direct the business of the association so that it functions effectively in order to achieve its goals and objectives". He previously served as vice-president from 2007-2011 and has been a member of the PTHA executive since then.

Among the 2015 objectives of the PTHA are the enhancement of the visibility of the association; continued discussions with stakeholders in the shipping industry; the provision of advocacy on behalf of its members to all the policymaking authorities, and representing the interest of truckers in discussions with regard to productivity and efficiency in the operation of the ports, where it will affect the trucking fraternity.

"One of our main aims is to have discussions with the terminals and the Port Authority of Jamaica so as to develop a suitable chassis facility for truckers on the port," Wood said. To this end, Kingston Wharves Ltd has already engaged the association in meaningful discussions regarding establishing such a facility within the port environs.

He added that the PTHA is cognisant of the fact that it will be costly to implement the chassis facility and, while some lease rental cost will have to be borne by the trucker, with the present downturn in business, the association, Wood said, will have to be mindful of keeping the associated costs down.

Addressing the shortage of truck drivers in Jamaica is also high on the agenda. Wood estimates that there is approximately a 30-40 per cent shortage in drivers locally. However, he pointed out that this is not unique to Jamaica as there is a major shortage of drivers in other jurisdictions such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and some parts of Europe.

Grooming truckers

"We are being proactive in partnering with the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) for training programmes for drivers in both the local and international market," Wood said.

The certification programme will be offered through the CMI's School of Advanced Skills. Prospective students can choose to participate in a part-time or full-time programme, ranging from two weeks to 15 weeks. Participants will receive professional certification in articulated truck driving and logistics operations. To qualify, individuals must be at least 25 years of age, possess a valid driver's licence, and must produce a valid police report.

The PTHA was established in 1981 and has 93 members made up of trucking companies and individual owners/operators. The new members of the executive are: Alva Wood, president; Barzelle Paul Wright, vice-president; Dawn Clarke, treasurer; Denise Prendergast, secretary; Andrew Henry, immediate past president; and executive members: Duane Marzouca, Michael Knight, Ainsworth Williams, Shawn James, Frederick Northover, Ruel Gibson, Ramsay Codner, Christopher Williams,and the association's general manager, Ricardo Valentine.