On January 27, 1939, the Shipping Association of Jamaica was registered by a small group of businessmen who had the vision to organise themselves to bring order and certainty to an environment dominated by worker protests on the wharves and which, at the time, threatened to bring the entire city of Kingston to a standstill. The men were: Charles Edward Johnston, Luis Frederick Kennedy, Sibrandt Duhn List and Thomas Bradshaw.
The Association established very clear goals including a commitment to improve conditions of employment; establish uniformity of rates paid to labour on wharves and ships; as well as to ensure that labourers give a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.
The industrial challenge not only gave birth to the SAJ, but also introduced a new kind of institution to the island, where it became the chief negotiator of all wharfing interests in Jamaica.
By the end of the century, the industrial climate of the Kingston Waterfront was regarded among the best anywhere.
Throughout its existence, the SAJ has led the charge for growth on the port of Kingston and continues to do so.