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A chance to study in France - SAJ staffer selected for port management training course

Published:Monday | August 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM


When the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the French government host their advanced course on port operations and management in Le Havre, France this September, one of the 20 specially selected international participants will be Denzil Archer; a bright, young, driven employee of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ).

Archer heads to the Institut Portuaire d'Enseignement et de Recherche (IPER), and the Grand Port Maritime du Havre in France for this critical training programme which runs from September 7 to October 9.

The 31-year-old shift relief monitor has spent the last nine years working the Port of Kingston. He started as a stevedore and quickly rose up the ranks based on his keen interest, high quality of work and growth potential. He became a coordinator and then handled shift monitor relief duties until 2014 when this role was formalised by the SAJ. He now assists in the deployment and supervision of the SAJ's port workers as part of the highly efficient and professional SAJ Recruitment Centre team and helps to train newly recruited stevedores.

"I believe in hard work and discipline," Archer said after he found out he had been selected by the IMO. "I am motivated by this desire to do well. I come from humble beginnings in a small community in the Rio Grande Valley in Portland and I just want to prove I can do well," he emphasised.

The humble start to his career in shipping makes this study opportunity even more meaningful to Archer, who applied and was selected by the IMO for the six-week programme.

"It's the first time I'm leaving Jamaica, so for that reason alone I was interested. But just the mere fact that it will improve my professional skills tremendously and that it provides the opportunity to see another culture and observe marine terminal operations elsewhere in the world is important to me," said Archer.

He is very aware of how this could enhance his role within a rapidly evolving industry.

"It will give me a broader pool of information to draw from given the international context of the programme. I will certainly be able to help bring our guys (port workers) even closer to First World operating standards. You know this is really critical in this period of transition of operations here on the port," he added.

The course, which will be conducted in both English and French, is designed to assist developing countries to improve the management and operational efficiency of their ports. Lecturers include senior managers of port authorities, maritime specialists and university professors. The programme includes field trips where he will get an extensive insight into port operations and management, including the impact of new technologies, the implication of emerging technical issues, and the implementation of related IMO Conventions.

Archer's boss, SAJ's recruiting and deployment manager, Terrence Brooks, couldn't be more pleased. Brooks, himself a beneficiary of the programme in 2014, believes that Archer's exposure to different cultures and First World port operations is important to his professional growth.

"Last year, participants came from Ghana, Mozambique, The Gambia, Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Barbados, Nigeria and Benin, to name a few. It was a wonderful experience that provided insight into port-operations management not only in the host ports, but also in the ports represented by the participants. The difference in languages and culture made for a very interesting five weeks," Brooks noted.