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Shipping Association of Barbados

‘We must innovate to stay competitive...’says SAB president

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The year ahead will be challenging and we will have to become more innovative in order to remain competitive, says Marc Sampson, President of the Shipping Association of Barbados (SAB). 

“Agents may need to diversify, incorporating other services such as trucking, brokerage, purchasing, etc. Agents also need to look at the unions more as partners rather than adversaries, remembering that they are there to protect the rights of the workers,” he said.

Mr. Sampson said it would be a year of challenges in a world of shrinking volumes and difficult economic times, and there would be a need to “… use the resources that are available to us through the CSA.”

As one partner experienced a problem, the advice and expertise of another member who had already weathered such a storm should be passed on, he said. The same was true for training, which should be coordinated, “… and the CSA is the existing forum through which this can be done.”

Citing an example, Mr. Sampson said if a person was to be brought to one territory to teach a particular skill, other territories could send their employees and thereby reduce the cost of training. This would be of tremendous benefit not only to individual companies and territories but also to the Caribbean as a whole. 

Recent trend

The SAB President said there had been a recent trend for shipping lines to open their own agencies in the various territories. He posed the question: are the independent agencies therefore becoming a dying breed?

“I am concerned that we will see more of this in the future,” said Mr. Sampson. “Although employment is still generated in these cases, the profits made will be exported out of the particular territory. We need to be more forthcoming in sharing information and should work together to improve the industry, learning from each other and thereby improving our individual and group situations.”

Over the years, the SAB has maintained its objective of being a leading provider of service to its members and 2012 was no different. The Association embarked on a number of initiatives to further enhance members’ productivity and focused on the provision of a high standard of service, thereby retaining and attracting more business.

“We are aware of the need to improve and deliver quality service to remain on the cutting edge of the shipping industry in the Caribbean and the world,” said Mr. Sampson.

During 2012, the SAB and Barbados Port Inc. together sponsored the Stevedoring Level 1 programme, Module – Safety & Health for Dockers. To date, one class of dockers has completed this training and the plan is for the remaining dockers to be trained in 2013.