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Kingston Wharve's first employee and industry stalwart dies at 93

Published:Tuesday | April 20, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Everard E. Cox, former director of Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL) and the first registered KWL employee has died at the age of 93. He joined the company in 1945 at 27 and served diligently for 49 years, leaving an indelible footprint on the history of Jamaica's shipping industry. Cox died April 2 and was laid to rest on April 16 at the St Andrew Parish Church.

Cox steadily climbed the ladder of success, rising from timekeeper to director. His connection with the port began in 1937 when he entered the world of shipping as a timekeeper at Grace Wharf.

As operations manager and later defying the odds, breaking down barriers to become the first KWL employee to be appointed as a director, Cox was integral to the transformation and development which spanned several decades at KWL. When the Shipping Association of Jamaica was formed in 1939 as a trade union of wharf operators focused on handling negotiations with the trade union of the port workers, Cox was in the midst of it all.

In order to facilitate a seamless transition, the Joint Industrial Council was formed in 1952 to foster good relations between the port labour force and management. Cox provided fundamental support during this restive period. This instrumental dynamo also witnessed the transition from loading, unloading and storing cargo by hand to utilising forklifts and 'palletisation'; and later the introduction of containerisation and the installation of cranes on the berths. In 1964, KWL's operations were relocated to the western end of the Kingston Harbour. At this time, Cox played an integral part in the creation of Newport West.

Cox retired in 1980, but continued to serve as director until 1994. Known for his integrity and passion for excellence, Cox made a critical contribution to KWL. "He undoubtedly helped to lay the foundation of Jamaica's shipping industry. Being at the heart of the expansion efforts, he shared the KWL vision of establishing a leading multi-purpose port in the Caribbean", highlighted Grantley Stephenson, chairman and chief executive officer of KWL.