Shipping fraternity mourns passing of ‘Harry’ Maragh
The shipping fraternity is grieving the passing of Harriat Pershad Maragh, known affectionately throughout Jamaica and the Caribbean as ‘Harry’ Maragh, a past president of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) and chairman of Lannaman & Morris Group of Companies.
A giant of the shipping industry, Maragh possessed a disarmingly soft-spoken manner that belied the hard-driving businessman who scaled a steep ladder of success in his journey to leadership in the local and regional shipping industry. At the SAJ’s 80th Anniversary Awards Ceremony in 2019, he was presented with a citation that described a life of tremendous contributions.
This talented cricketer and brilliant Calabar High School graduate interrupted his university education overseas in the early 1970s, upon receiving news of his father’s illness, to return to Jamaica and help support his family. He embarked on a career in shipping that started with R. S. Gamble & Sons, before he moved on to become a validating/traffic clerk with Lannaman & Morris Shipping in 1977.
A fast learner and tireless worker, he was promoted to sales representative, sales manager, general manager and managing director within a 10-year period.
TRANSFORMING LANNAMAN & MORRIS
After the retirement of the then owners, he became the owner and chairman/CEO of the Lannaman & Morris Group of Companies, which he transformed into the Caribbean’s most diversified shipping company. Up to the time of his passing, he continued to be involved in all aspects of the various operations in the group – Metro Investments (property and trading), Seafreight Jamaica (shipping agency), Lannaman & Morris Shipping Limited (agent for Evergreen Shipping Line), Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America and Norway Cruise Line.
Maragh was instrumental in forging a new ownership/leadership paradigm for Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL) that resulted in that company becoming the top performer on the Jamaica Stock Exchange and the Caribbean’s leading multipurpose port. At the time of his passing, he was a member of the KWL board of directors.
The development and growth of Seafreight Shipping Lines owes much to his stewardship, as chairman and major investor, that saw that shipping line becoming the first and largest shipping line owned and managed by a Caribbean national before being sold.
He is credited for the establishment of regional routes for Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest cruise line, and is also the founding manager, for some 40 years, of the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Terminal, which his company still manages on behalf of the Port Authority of Jamaica. Under his stewardship, Lannaman & Morris became the leading cruise agent, representing in excess of 75 per cent of all cruises that call at Jamaican ports.
He served as president of the SAJ from 2003 to 2006, after serving on that body’s managing committee for four years, and remained an honorary member. As chairman of the SAJ’s agents committee, he was instrumental in arranging significant improvements for local agents.
It was during his leadership that the SAJ made a substantial contribution in both financing and manpower towards the certifying of the port of Kingston under the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, thereby making Kingston one of the first ports in the Western Hemisphere to qualify for such world-class certification.
It was also during his tenure as SAJ president that, in keeping with the association’s commitment to provide improved services to its members, a new firm, Assessment Recoveries Limited (ARL), was formed. ARL has proved instrumental in improving the turnaround time for equipment used by the lines; improving the collection of assessed charges, and providing a source of revenue for the SAJ.
At the time of his passing, Harry Maragh was chairman of the Kingston Port Workers Superannuation Fund, a post he had held since 2003. He was also a director of Express Catering and Margaritaville Turks & Caicos. In 2018, his alma mater, Calabar High School, presented him with an honour award for his significant contributions to the school, especially in the development of sport and classroom infrastructure.
The shipping community mourns the passing of Harry Maragh, and recommits to his ideal of a modern maritime industry that offers services of the highest world standards and that will benefit all Jamaicans.