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Shipping Association of St. Lucia

Ten years of steady progress

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As one of the youngest national associations in the Caribbean, the Shipping Association of St. Lucia (SAS) is carrying the weight of its youth and bearing it admirably.

In the year ahead, the SAS will be celebrating 10 years of existence. In comparison, the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) is over 70 years old. The SAJ knows something about the burdens of getting a national shipping association buoyant and has had to bear the weight of controversy and conflict which attend the early years of development of any national shipping association.

Indeed, in July 2009 representatives from the SAJ went to St. Lucia to encourage the development of the SAS and to share experiences. That visit by the Jamaicans motivated the SAS membership and “infused a vision for the future” said Wayne Monrose, the third President of the SAS. 

Mr. Monrose is focused and equal to the task of keeping the SAS on an even keel; and already there are encouraging results. 

Future opportunities

“We will continue to strive towards building a structure that we hope will provide future opportunities that will live beyond us,” said the SAS President. “We must initiate and pursue our strategic business plan that will truly reflect the aspiration of all members and stakeholders.”

At the start, the St. Lucia Air & Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) was regarded by many if not most of the SAS membership as an adversary. Indeed, it was felt in some quarters that it was this perceived relationship that led to the formation of the shipping association. Progress has been made since that early period. Rather than an adversary, the ports authority is now regarded as a partner. 

Last year, SLASPA became a full member of the SAS.

CSA membership

One of the main objectives of the SAS was to obtain full membership of the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA). It applied for membership shortly after its establishment in 2003 and was immediately invited to host the Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference in May 2004. Hosting a CSA conference is no easy task and the SAS President vividly recalls the preparations and the event.

“Our new and energized membership rose to the occasion,” he said. “It was a very successful and well-coordinated meeting. Voices of approval for a job well done rang out from the attendees of the respective Caribbean and international associations.”

Uniting stakeholders

The Shipping Association of St. Lucia was launched in 2003 with 11 charter members forming the core of the membership. The basic objective at that time was uniting all stakeholders in the industry with a view to protecting and promoting their common interests.  

This era of infancy, as Mr. Monrose recalls, was characterised by a significant discontent among stakeholders. It was a period of significant growth of Non Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs). This sub-sector had grown significantly in the USA and Europe and they were recruiting agents locally to represent their interests. This new trend was not readily accepted by the authorities and it posed challenges for NVOCC acceptance as ‘recognised businesses’ within the industry. 

The task of navigating the SAS through choppy waters so early in the voyage was entrusted to founding president Trevor Phillip and a team of six. Trevor Phillip had previously done service in the CSA and had been elected to the CSA’s General Council. The SAS’s first executive committee comprised: Trevor Philip, President; Eddie Hazel, Vice President; Wayne Monrose, Secretary; Martin St. Marthe, Trustee; Davis Joseph, Trustee; Augustin Joseph; Floor representative; and Peterson Francis, Floor representative.

Eddie Hazel went on to serve as the SAS’s second President in 2006 following the end of Trevor Phillip’s tenure. The incumbent, Wayne Monrose, is now serving the first year of his second two-year term in office.