Guyanese born Canadian, Ken Singh, of Atlas Cargo – From humble beginnings to position of prominence

Ken Singh and wife Jessie

Originally Published: June 27, 2021

By: Frederick Halley

AMIDST his extremely busy schedule, Guyana-born Kanhai Ken Singh has been changing the lives of many to actively assist in his local community and many other social causes worldwide.

As President and owner of Atlas Cargo, Canadian Customs Brokers Inc., and Central Global Cargo North America, Ken rose from humble beginnings to a position of prominence in the Canadian society.

Always ready to assist in any given situation, Ken is in the process of responding positively to the current flood situation in Guyana, which has been deemed a national disaster by President Dr Irfaan Ali.

A container of medical supplies, which include 30,000 canisters of sanitary wipes, hand sanitisers, Lysol wipes among other things are almost ready to set sail. Ken pointed out that the items will be distributed to the University of Guyana, hospitals and other organisations of need.

In Guyana, Dr Arnold Doobay, Chief Executive Officer of Charity FCC will take care of the distribution. The entrepreneur disclosed that his company also assisted greatly during the St Vincent & The Grenadines volcanic explosion when a 40-ft container of supplies was sent to the Caribbean Island while Humanitarian Mission Guyana Inc (HMGI), which operates a facility at Port Mourant also receives substantial assistance from the company. HMGI is training “battered” women in Guyana.

In 1996, Ken founded and is the President of Cargo Partners Network (CPN), a worldwide freight association for the advancement of technology, security and customs unification globally, with representation in over 95 countries.

To share his outstanding scholastic prowess, Ken is a guest speaker across Canada and internationally on transportation, security, customs and trade issues. For over 40 years, he has been actively involved in providing humanitarian and charitable relief all over the world. He was Chairman of Advisory Council, York University and was on the Humber College Advisory Council Degree Programme in International help to implement the Trade and Logistics.

According to The Life Illustrated magazine, Ken volunteers with the CPPS, a Catholic mission agency that works on projects to provide health care and clean water in Africa. The Central American arm of World Vision; Bosnian Children Cultural Heritage Centre are all beneficiaries of his efforts to contribute to the various communities.

Ken, Wife Jessie and other top executives in the warehouse of Altas Cargo

As a person who believes that giving back to social needs is a fundamental principle in feeling satisfied with one’s achievements, Ken opines that business owners should offer their skill and resources to also help community organisations prosper.

Taking time off from his extremely busy schedule, Ken told the Pepperpot Magazine that he enjoys his work, not only in his business success but also in his ability to contribute to charitable causes. He pointed out that often when he travels internationally on business, he will make it a duty to observe what is going on in that country and where he could contribute to their needs.

Through this exposure, he has been contributing to many humanitarian causes. For over 40 years, his humanitarian and charitable relief contributions have been made to many countries. These included his native Guyana, Guatemala, India, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Serbia, Jamaica, El Salvador, Brazil, Tanzania, Uganda, Angola, The Bahamas, Puerto Rico and Senegal, among others.

Because of his keen desire to see people gain educational grounding, Ken transported books and education materials worldwide for 26 years for many organizations. He has a storage of large quantities of books and with the empty space in containers at his business location, Ken utilises his transportation business to send the books to different schools and universities around the world.

Since 1988, Ken has also supported the Samaritans Purse (Operations Christmas Child) as well as the flood relief efforts in Asia and South America and firmly believes that one’s economic achievements are not enough to define success.
For several years, Ken served on the Advisory Board of the Indo-Canadian Chambers of Commerce and over the years, he has conducted lectures worldwide on transportation, security, customs and trade issues.

Ken sees his company as a microcosm of the population of Canada, as there are employees from many of the groups of immigrants. These include people originating from various parts of the world, including Guyana, Hong Kong, China, United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Trinidad, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Columbia, France, and the Netherlands. He believes that business has an important social role to play.

In 2005, Ken received the 2005 Businessman of the Year Award in Ottawa, Canada and also received numerous awards and recognitions for his significant contribution to industry, trade and charitable organisations.

Among the other awards are a Service Award from Singapore for chairman 1996-2000; Service Award from CICA and Service Award from CPPS Mission Projects, Tanzania. He also received a Seal to the State of Florida.

With automation and e-commerce changing how international transportation around the world is overseen, and with the changing economy, Ken continues to remain competitive in this business climate and has positioned his companies to take advantage of the digital marketplace.

Many dimensions of these changes include: Artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IOT), Blockchain technology, Robots, drone deliveries, and the Uberisation of transportation are all creating a complex supply chain environment, but with significant transparency and lower costs globally. Ken is embarking on ways to tackle this changing business environment.

Balancing work and family became an important part of Ken’s life and he is thankful for his wife, Jessie and their four children, Darren, Justin, Shaun and Stacey for their support all through the years he has been growing his business in shipping.

Ken is most appreciative for the support from his wife, Jessie, for being not only a life partner, but who also plays an important role in the business. Jessie functions as a Senior Executive, bringing her qualifications as a former senior banker and professional certification in freight forwarding.

Darren, who is a graduate of York University, heads the Aerospace, Pharma and IT at Atlas while his other children have ventured out to pursue their own professions. Justin is a Medical Doctor practising in Florida, Shaun is a Lawyer practising Commercial Litigation in Toronto, and his daughter, Stacey, is a Media Manager at Amazon.

Kanhai (Ken) Singh was born in Strangroen, East Coast Demerara in Guyana. He attended De Hoop Canadian Mission School and was keen to pursue higher education at an early age.
As a young man, while attending primary school, he had firsthand experience with hard work, to look after the family cows and tending their garden of vegetables. Ken knew at that time he was making a great contribution helping out, but there was always a voice in his mind that he would make more progress by getting a good education.

His parents agreed to send him to Tutorial High School in Georgetown. This paved the way for a higher level by studying at the University of Guyana where he obtained a degree in Sociology and Psychology in 1976. In Guyana, Ken worked for British Airways.

When he migrated to Canada in 1977, Ken realised that he wanted to make a better life; he knew from an early age that education matters. As a new immigrant, Ken felt that a Canadian degree would give him an advantage. It was with this zeal that he started studying at York University, Toronto.

In 1979, he earned a BA in Sociology and in 1981 he earned a BA in Business Administration. It was a time when newcomers to Canada were not only bringing their skills, talent and ability to contribute to the national development, but also to be an intrinsic part of the Canadian economic growth.

With this deep pursuit of higher achievement, Ken did not stop at having achieved these two degrees at York University. He continued to embark on further professional studies.

In 1982, he graduated from the Canadian Institute of Traffic and Transportation (CITT). He studied cargo insurance in Scotland, claims and legal liability in New York, project management, negotiation techniques, sales and marketing management and many more training courses in Canada and overseas.

In addition to the CITT, Ken is a member of the Chartered Institute of Transport MCIT; the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association, Switzerland FIATA; Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce (Life Member); Cool Chain Logistics – Luxemburg; Aviation Logistics Network – Germany; and Cargo Partners Network Inc., a worldwide freight network association.

Source: Guyana Chronicle

Guyanese born Canadian, Ken Singh, of Atlas Cargo – From humble beginnings to position of prominence
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