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Pioneering commercial shipping on the west coast of Florida

What sets us apart from other ship agencies operating in Tampa Bay is our long-standing history in the maritime community. A.R. Savage & Son has been providing exceptional service for more than 70 years, and our team has a deep knowledge and unparalleled understanding of the industry and Tampa Bay’s ports.

Our Story

  • Captain James McKay Sr.
    Captain James McKay Sr.
  • Arthur Russell Savage
    Arthur Russell Savage
  • William O. Savage
    William O. Savage
  • Shirley Knight Savage
    Shirley Knight Savage
  • Arthur Savage
    Arthur Savage

A.R. Savage & Son CEO, Arthur Savage is the grandson of the company’s founder, Arthur Russell Savage, who established the business in 1945. However, our history in the maritime community dates long before the company was established.

In 1846, Captain James McKay Sr., Arthur Savage’s maternal Great, Great Grandfather sailed into Tampa Bay and pioneered commercial shipping on the west coast of Florida. For the next two generations he and his son developed regular commercial shipping into and out of Tampa Bay. Later, their cousins, the Lykes family, would take over the ship owning side of the business and built what would become one of the largest ship owning companies in the world.

In 1929, Arthur Russell Savage, the company founder, was transferred to Tampa by The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad to become the Superintendent of Port Tampa, Tampa’s only deep water port at the time. At the onset of WWII, Mr. Savage joined the US Army Transportation Corps where he eventually became a Lieutenant Colonel and the Port Commander of Antwerp. Upon returning from the war, Mr. Savage elected to leave the railroad and start his own firm, the A. R. Savage Company – and he thus established a legacy. This legacy was carried on by his son W.O. “Bill” Savage and the company was renamed to A. R. Savage & Son. After Bill’s death in 1982, his wife, Shirley Savage, Capt. McKay’s Great Granddaughter took over the company as President.

During her tenure, Shirley took the company out of some business lines and into others – selling the tugboat company and a bag company in order to concentrate her attention on the basic functions of the agency, and adding the containerized cargo business. She also served as the Honorary Consul for Denmark and Norway and was knighted by both countries for Outstanding Service.

In 1986, Shirley was recognized by the Propeller Club Port of Tampa for her contributions to the industry and named Maritime Person of the Year – an honor that no other woman in Florida had received. Shirley retired as president in 1998, and passed away in 2014.

Today, Arthur R. Savage – Bill and Shirley’s son and Arthur Russell Savage’s grandson – is the third generation to lead what has become the largest ship agency, ocean freight forwarding and maritime advisory services company on Florida’s west coast. The Savage family’s tradition of excellence and commitment to superior customer service will continue on into the future.

© 2015 A.R. Savage & Son, LLC. All Rights Reserved.