Shipping icon Charles Johnston awarded OJ
REGIONAL SHIPPING icon Charles Johnston was conferred with the Order of Jamaica (OJ) for his sterling contribution to the nation’s shipping and logistics industry on Monday, October 16.
Johnston is a managing committee member and former president of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ).
He has been involved in shipping all his life. His grandfather, Charles Edward Johnston, was a founding father of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) and his father, Ernest Michael Johnston, served as chairman of the association.
Johnston completed his tertiary education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, where he gained a Bachelor of Science degree in economics, specialising in international trade and finance. In 1964 he started working with the Jamaica Fruit and Shipping (JFS) Group of Companies and set about applying his theoretical knowledge to the practical realities of Jamaica’s agricultural and shipping industries.
In 1986, Johnston took on the double mantle of chairman of the Jamaica Producers Group (JPG), the major producer of bananas, and JFS, a leading shipping agency.
His service to the SAJ goes back to 1966, at a time when major changes were taking place on the waterfront in the areas of modernisation and industrial relations. He was elected to the managing committee of the SAJ in 1976, and it was in 1993 that he was elected to his first term of office as the association’s president. In that year, the new offices of the SAJ were officially opened in Newport West.
In 2006, he was conferred with the national award of Order of Distinction, Commander Class, for his contribution to agriculture, specifically the banana industry. In 2008 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica for his outstanding contribution to Jamaica’s shipping and agriculture industries. In recognition of his outstanding professional accomplishments and his tremendous contribution to the development of the Jamaican and Caribbean shipping industry, Johnston was installed in the Hall of Fame of the Shipping Association of Jamaica in 2022.
He currently serves as executive chairman of Jamaica Fruit and Shipping Company Limited and chairman of Jamaica Producers Group Limited, and sits on the board of several public- and private-sector companies, including Kingston Wharves Limited, Jamaica Freight & Shipping Limited, and Kingston Logistics Centre Limited.
Johnston was one of five people to receive the nation’s fifth-highest award during the National Honours and Awards Ceremony hosted at King’s House. The other honourees include reggae icon Marcia Griffiths; The Most Reverend Howard Gregory, Anglican Archbishop of the West Indies; businessman P.B. Scott; and former government minister Audley Shaw.
A total of 125 people were recognised for service above and beyond the call of duty during the National Heroes Day ceremony.