The SAJ’s administration has continually created innovation to manage port workers effectively and boost the capacity of the ports to move cargo efficiently. Currently, the SAJ’s E-Labour system has revolutionized the recruitment and deployment of port workers. Once the system receives labour demand notices from the port, it appropriately assigns qualified workers. Specifically, the system accurately assigns and deploys more than 250 port workers across three shifts on a daily basis, such that there is less down time and a ready supply of labour to fulfil the requirements of the ports. E-Labour capitalises on both the use of technology which minimises the input of a heavily staffed human resources management framework, and the up-skilling of workers. The reporting capabilities of the system are vital to operational efficiency at the ports.
The SAJ provides training for members of the shipping industry through several means. Workshops and lunch and learn seminars expose members to best practices and cutting-edge industry-relevant skills.
Our seminars have been an important avenue for key national interests to interact with our members and the wider community in order to foster better business relationships. It is also a key avenue for shipping interests to gain information on crucial international development.
Training is an essential pillar of the SAJ’s strategy to continuously equip port workers with news skills. Therefore the association is a HEART Trust/NTA Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Certified training institution.
The proliferation of skills at the ports can be attributed to the implementation of the SAJ’s stevedore training programme to enhance the quality of port workers and increase productivity. Port workers benefit from broad exposure to internationally aligned and accredited training at the classroom level and on the job. This training is geared at equipping port workers with modern stevedore skills that benchmark global standards. Each worker now possesses more than one skill and is therefore, able to offer immediate solutions to complex jobs. For example, lashers are able to operate cranes or work in other specialised areas. The flexibility of SAJ’s labour deployment process, which includes on-the-ground shift monitors has proven to be invaluable in providing real-time solutions to problems as they arise. Importantly, this training programme has created a new culture and attitude among port workers that is outcome-focused, resulting in a significant reduction of major disciplinary offences. In other words, the SAJ workforce has developed a professional identity that is committed to efficient operations at the ports.
The SAJ also offers training to the wider business community. This was initiated by the needs of the shipping industry but is an inclusive offering and serves as a networking and business enrichment platform.
The SAJ plays a bench-marking role in collective bargaining agreements in the Jamaican maritime industry, such that the outcomes of negotiations are cascaded throughout the system and implemented by other ports. As a leader in the industry, SAJ substantially affects the tone of industrial relations and consequently has been pivotal in creating a stable workforce. Importantly, the SAJ has been able to balance the interests of all stakeholders – ship owners, terminals, employers and stevedore workers, gaining the respect of all and becoming an institutionalised part of the industry. Ongoing engagement with workers through small group sessions and an intensive focus on human resource development has also augured well for the current industrial relations climate.
The Shipping Association of Jamaica’s Canine Division was established on August 1, 1994, against the background of the scourge of drug trafficking, threatening the reputation of Jamaican exporters as well as the integrity of cargo passing over local ports.
The division has since offered reasonably priced professional anti-narcotic and drug detection through a team of well-trained handlers and canine partners, to the Association’s members in the port community including Port Bustamante and environs, the Port of Montego Bay and other outports. The service is approved by the Ministry of National Security and Justice, and the personnel and dogs, after an initial training exercise, are required to participate in annual refresher courses, conducted by the Jamaica Constabulary Force Canine Division.
The SAJ continues to project a strong and positive image of the industry through a dynamic communications programme. This is aided through activities such as: the preparation and publication of the Shipping Industry News Feature in the Tuesday Gleaner, speech and content development, event planning and hosting, PR campaign development and support, photography and media coverage of member company’s events/milestones.