The dynamic and interconnected nature of the maritime industry calls for an equally
dynamic local body with the appropriate global mindset to effectively lead the development
of the industry at the national level. The Shipping Association of Trinidad and
Tobago (SATT) proves to be more than an able leader in this regard by providing
a range of services aimed at delighting its membership. Today, the SATT contributes
to the development of the local maritime industry and by extension national development
through the provision of the following critical services to its membership.
These services include:
- Technical advice
- Events management - training, lectures and seminars
The range of services aims at developing and sustaining an industry representation
at the highest level both locally and internationally and assisting the membership
to operate at international industry standards.
As a good corporate citizen, the Association also strives to assist Government and
other agencies to develop the maritime sector and sensitize the public on maritime
and shipping issues.
Apart from having a critical local presence, the SATT is affiliated with a number
of regional multilateral associations, namely: the Caribbean Shipping Association
(CSA), the Caribbean Latin American Action (CLAA), the Association of the Caribbean
States (ACS) and the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC).
These affiliations assist the SATT in enhancing its services through the exchange
of information and advocacy.
A Short History
The evolution of the SATT is evidence of the body’s dynamic and highly adaptive
nature, an important attribute in the global maritime industry. The SATT was born
in pre-World War II (WWII) Trinidad in the form of the Steamers Warehouse Association,
a loose association of the large trading house, formed to address the issue of employment
of port labour on behalf of its members.
With the creation of the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago and the formation
of the Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union (SWWTU), the Steamers Warehouse
Association had to properly constitute itself before entering into any collective
bargaining with the new Union. Thus, emerged the SATT on April 29, 1938 as a registered
Trade Union, to specifically negotiate with the SWWTU on behalf of their members.
The first members of the SATT included some well-known companies of the time such
as: Archer Coal Depot Co. Inc.; Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd.; Thos. & Jas.
Harrison Ltd.; Alston & Co. Ltd.; Gordon Grant & Co. Ltd.; Gomez & Miller
Ltd.; Wm. H. Kennedy & Co. Ltd.; J.N Harriman & Co. Ltd.; Geo. F. Huggins
& Co. Ltd.; Lee Lum & Co. Ltd.; K.N. S.M. and Royal Mail Lines Ltd.
The SATT functioned as labour employer during a time of development in T&T and
geo-political tensions in the world. The first industrial agreement between the
SWWTU and the SATT was signed in 1938; the year construction of the Port of Spain
Deep Water Harbour (King’s Wharf) was completed. The SATT diligently continued its
functions as labour employer during the upheavals of the World War II when Port
of Spain was kept very busy as a marshalling point for the Allies. Seldom were there
less than 20 vessels at anchor off Port of Spain.
After the War and as Trinidad gradually industrialized, SATT’s sphere of influence
extended to include some of the new outports, which had developed in Trinidad to
service the expanding oil industry.
The membership is increasing at a very satisfactory rate, thanks to the hard work
of the Management Committee, and the Association’s General Manager and the Secretariat
staff. Additionally, special Sub-committees made up of selected members undertake
many projects. So long as all these teams function well, the Shipping Association
of Trinidad and Tobago will continue to serve its members and the Nation efficiently
for many years to come.
In 2001, the Association successfully completed the purchase and renovation of their
new office headquarters at 15 Scott-Bush Street, Port of Spain. The Secretariat
took up office in May 2001 and these premises provide a comfortable home as well
as lucrative investment for the Association.
The Changing Role of the SATT
Following the independence of Trinidad and Tobago, the Government decided to nationalize
the stevedoring operation of the Port, creating Port Contractors Ltd, which employed
all labour on the port. This new body, majority owned by the Government, therefore,
took over all labour employment function at the Port Authority, inevitably marginalizing
However, all was not lost for the SATT. It was soon realized that an important role
existed for the SATT in shipping mainly because of the wealth of experience and
technical knowledge that its members brought to the industry. Thus, a new role for
the SATT came to the fore; the Association functioned as a consultative body and
a lobby on matters related to the waterfront.
New Role of the SATT
Today, the SATT effectively carries out its role generally as lobby, negotiator
and advisor to its membership and the shipping fraternity at large towards the development
of shipping expertise.
The objectives of the SATT include, among other things:
To promote, facilitate and protect the interests as Members of the Association.
To collect and circulate statistics and other information. Dispute resolution
To enable its Members to meet from time to time for mutual counsel.
To promote, support and oppose legislation deemed expedient in the interest of the
To foster, promote and protect the trade interests of the Association. Coordination
of work with other relevant organizations to the furtherance of its objectives.
Today, the SATT’s membership is representative of the interconnectedness of the
shipping industry, not only are shipping agents and their principals; members of
the Association (as it was in the past), membership has expanded to include ports,
shipping industry consultants, surveyors, chandlers, NVOCCs, consolidators among
The SATT’s membership is categorized into three groups:
- Group A
Ship Agents, Ship Managers, Ship Brokers; Ship Owners and/or Ship Operators
- Group B
Port, Dock and Terminal Operators
- Group C
Service Companies and those individuals, firms, trade unions, corporations
and associations who are engaged directly in the maritime or shipping industries
in T&T and whose business does not qualify them for membership in either Group
A or Group B in respect of such business e.g. maritime surveyors, chandlers, consolidators
The SATT is also represented on almost every shipping related committee or organization
local, regional and international. The Association is a founding member of the Caribbean
Shipping Association (CSA). It is also represented on the local Pilotage Authority
and provides a Commissioner for the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT).
The Association is also represented on the Customs Brokers Board, which is the governing
body for Customs Brokers and Boarding Clerks.
The expanded membership of the Association and its representation on local and regional
bodies allows for increased expertise and experience in achieving its objectives
and a platform to air the concerns of the Association at the governmental and multilateral
The structure of the SATT allows for the optimal provision of expertise and experience
towards achieving its objectives. The SATT consists of the:
Executive Council – formulates policy and general guidelines for the Association.
The President heads this body.
The Secretariat – implements policies and provides critical support for the day-to-day
operations of the Association. The General Manager head these functions.
Special Sub-Committees – formed to undertake special projects. It comprises relevant
members with expertise related to the terms of reference of the sub-committee and
the nature of the project.
The SATT has evolved into a modern, customer-oriented organization. It readily dealt
with challenges presented by its external environment by remoulding its operation
and using its expertise towards achieving new objectives. The Association has evolved
with time and under its able leadership will meet the demands of the shipping industry
way into the future.