Corah Ann Robertson Sylvester elected SAJ president
Corah Ann Robertson Sylvester was elected president of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) during its annual general meeting on Friday, November 17.
Robertson Sylvester, the chief executive officer of Seaboard Freight and Shipping Jamaica Limited, becomes the second woman to hold the position in the organisation’s 85-year history. She previously served as vice-president for the past three years and has been a director since 2005.
She is one of four women leading a national shipping organisation in the Caribbean, joining Clarivette Diaz of the Puerto Rico Shipping Association; Erica Luke of the Shipping Association of Barbados; and Sonja Voisin from the Trinidad and Tobago Shipping Association.
For the better part of three decades, Robertson Sylvester served in various capacities at the local and regional level. In 2003, she became the first woman to be elected president of the Caribbean Shipping Association, a distinction she still holds. Robertson Sylvester is chairperson of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica and a member of the Caribbean Maritime University’s Council. For her sterling contribution to the industry, the SAJ inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 2021.
Following her election, Robertson Sylvester said, “It is a great honour and a privilege to serve an organisation that at 85 years old, has a legacy of service (and) vast contribution to one of the most vibrant business groups in any economy.
“The port community is very vibrant and important to any country, and it is through this association that we will promote our contributions and partner with the wider business community to continue our growth.”
Efforts to improve the Newport West shipping district and increase training and development offerings to the SAJ’s members are chief among her focus areas. “The physical appearance of the community will continue to be on the agenda for the SAJ. Previous presidents have worked tirelessly, but we cannot give up. We have to continue, and I am pledging to knock on every door and engage everyone to further this process.”
Regarding training, she added: “If our membership group is not at an international level, then we could find ourselves unable to attract the kind of business to Jamaica that we want. The SAJ has good partnerships with the Caribbean Maritime University, which is training young professionals to come into the workforce. (For its part), the SAJ will continue to train our community in practical things that they would not necessarily get training for at university, for example, the Data Protection Act, for which we ran a number of programmes to sensitise our membership.” The SAJ also offered courses on artificial intelligence, International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, customer service excellence, among others, this year.
Andre Rochester, freight manager at Maritime and Transport Services Limited, was elected vice-president of the SAJ. The managing committee comprises immediate past president William Brown, chief executive officer of Cascades Ventures Group; Anna Hamilton, chief executive officer of Jamaica Freight and Shipping Company; Denise Lyn Fatt, managing director of Freight Handlers Limited; Kim Clarke, managing director of Maritime and Transport Group of Companies; Roger Hinds, chairman of Transocean Shipping Company Limited; Condell Stephenson, port captain of Hoegh Autoliners; Neil Smith, chief executive officer of Shipping Services Limited; and Jedrzej Mierzewski, chief executive officer of Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited. SAJ general manager Trevor Riley is an ex-officio member of the committee.