Thu | Feb 9, 2023

William Brown re-elected SAJ president; targets collaboration and development

Published:Tuesday | November 22, 2022 | 12:08 AM
SAJ President William Brown shares a light moment with Vice-President Corah Ann Robertson Sylvester following the body’s annual general meeting last Friday.
SAJ President William Brown shares a light moment with Vice-President Corah Ann Robertson Sylvester following the body’s annual general meeting last Friday.
Re-elected President of the Shipping Association of Jamaica, William Brown.
Re-elected President of the Shipping Association of Jamaica, William Brown.
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Newly returned President of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), William Brown, said advocating the interests of its members is his focus following their vote of confidence in his tenure at the annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday, November 18.

Brown, who is serving a third consecutive term as president, said the SAJ is committed to delivering even better results in the coming year, noting that the development of the Newport West shipping community remains a priority.

The SAJ’s Managing Committee was returned en bloc, with Corah Ann Robertson Sylvester as Brown’s deputy.

Other members of the executive include immediate Past President Charles Johnston; Denise Lyn Fatt; Kim Clarke; Roger Hinds; Anna Hamilton; Andre Rochester; Mark Williams; Condell Stephenson and the association’s general manager, Trevor Riley. Two individuals, Grantley Stephenson and Michael Bernard, serve as honorary members.

In his president’s report, Brown said shipping remains an integral part of global transformation, driving the world’s economy. Its importance was made even clearer during the coronavirus pandemic, which caused severe disruptions that the sector continues to recover from.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the industry’s weakness and hurried its move towards adaptability to combat shocks. Each day, the industry becomes more skilled at negotiating the pandemic,” the report stated.

“We have seen improvements in port congestions, stabilising freight rates, and accelerated digitalisation and automation to improve efficiency and reduce costs,” it continued.

Among the successes of the year, Brown notes the finalisation of a new labour contract between the SAJ and terminal operator Kingston Wharves Limited, and the introduction of a new recruiting platform to improve the labour assignment process and reduce related costs as significant accomplishments.

Over the period, the SAJ facilitated several meetings with various government ministries and agencies to discuss the development of Newport West, which remains a crucial matter for its members who experience the ill effects of poor roads, unregulated parking, and safety concerns, among other issues. He said the association will continue to advocate for the area’s development to improve conditions for those who conduct business there.

Additionally, Brown said the SAJ collaborated with numerous entities throughout the year, including a Barbados delegation exploring the development of a port community system (PCS). Brown thanked the Port Authority of Jamaica and the SAJ’s agents who provided the delegation with greater insight into the functions and benefits of the PCS.

He also underscored the association’s commitment to its corporate social responsibility, particularly its assistance of the nearby Marcus Garvey Basic School in the Greenwich Farm community. The school benefits from the SAJ’s sponsorship of its feeding programme and donations to its Toddlers’ Camp and other initiatives, which the association has supported since 1993.

In his report, Brown said the past year has been difficult for the industry, but the SAJ’s members continue to meet the challenges.

“As the world changes around us, the SAJ, like others, is compelled to prepare its team and adjust its operations to respond how we have for the past eight decades – with innovation and alacrity.

“Our mandate at inception, as it remains today, is to foster and advocate for a maritime sector that promotes collaborations, advances competitiveness, and influence improvements in the lives of those within it.”

In closing, he said, “Much work remains to be done, and the cooperation of every individual is necessary to accomplish our lofty objectives. As we move forward, I encourage everyone to be heartened by the fact that the association remains buoyant and stands ready to assist where necessary.”

The 84th AGM of the SAJ was chaired by Riley, with the SAJ’s financials presented by Fiona Hall, the finance operations manager.