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President’s message

Development of national shipping associations a priority

When the founding fathers of the Caribbean Shipping Association conceived the idea of establishing a regional shipping organisation, the consensus was that this body should encourage and facilitate the development of national shipping associations.

The idea for the formation of the CSA came from thinkers in the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), which for some 30 years had been a force for development. The SAJ, by uniting the major entities in Jamaica’s maritime sector, was able to make a historic contribution to the modern commercial development of the country. This unity of shipping agents, wharf companies and other entities gave energy to initiatives to transform the Jamaican national economy, which up to then was a mono-crop agricultural economy that exported mainly sugar across the Atlantic. 


Through organisation and representation, the SAJ brought change, development and modernisation to Jamaica’s maritime sector. In 1969 representatives from five national shipping associations got together in Port of Spain for an informal meeting to discuss issues affecting the shipping industry in each of their territories. Two years later, the CSA was formally established by these national shipping associations. They became the foundation on which the CSA was built. Since that time no fewer than six other national shipping associations have been established.

National shipping associations are as important today as they ever were; perhaps more so in a global economy that demands world standards from all players in the global supply chain.

It is against this background that I have identified the strengthening and development of national shipping associations as one of the priorities of my tenure as CSA President. In March of this year I made time to visit two national shipping associations – the Shipping Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT), which is celebrating its 75th anniversary; and the Shipping Association of Guyana (SAG), which had its annual awards ceremony. In Trinidad, I made the point that the CSA would be giving top priority to the empowerment of national shipping associations. As I indicated then, a strong, active and meaningful partnership between the CSA and national shipping associations for the benefit of the entire region was necessary.

I then unveiled a strategy for development (documented elsewhere in this issue of Caribbean Maritime). The first of these strategies will be implemented in May 2013 when the CSA holds its annual Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference in Freeport, Bahamas.

Grantley-STEPHENSONGrantley Stephenson
President, Caribbean Shipping Association