|Garden State Shipping|
|Leader:||Theresa & Joseph O’Callahan|
|Motto:||“Exit 0 to Exit 172, we guarantee it to you”|
|Headquarters:||Exit 11 Trade Bazaar|
|Location(s):||Throughout the New Jersey Wasteland|
|Enemies:||Raiders, Pulaski Birdmen|
Garden State Shipping was founded in 2220 by Colin O’Callahan, a member of the Fishermen, a nomadic tribal group that lived around Raritan Bay in New Jersey. Watching from a distance growing up, he quickly learned how important the remains of the nearby Garden State Parkway were- traders passed north and south with some frequency, and raiders often used the roadway knowing that permanent settlements would be clustered around it. O’Callagan tried to convince the elders of his group of the potential benefits that seizing control of the road would bring, but he was unable to convince them to break the taboo of living in permanent structures. Instead of letting their veto stop him, O’Callahan simply left the tribe. He was able to convince a sizable amount of men and women from the tribe to break away with him, and with their help, he took control of the Exit 11 tollbooths in what was once the township of Woodbridge and established what would go on to become the Exit 11 Trade Bazaar.
Initially, the group did little more than shake down traders who passed through the Exit 11 toll booths. O’Callahan and his followers were not necessarily violent, but they made sure to get their point across- they were in control of the roadway, and anyone that wanted to use it needed to pay tribute. As their income grew, so too did their area of control. Looking for more legitimacy, O’Callahan began calling his crew “Garden State Shipping” and began expanding their control of the roadway further north and south. With expansion came conflict with local tribal groups that did not accept O’Callahan’s claims of owning the roadway and with raiders. Garden State Shipping used various means to cement control of the Garden State Parkway. When tribals were amenable to it, O’Callahan simply paid them off, giving them money and/or other goods in exchange for the land. In other cases, he brought these groups into the fold, making them a part of his organization. Other groups accepted neither solution, and were dealt with violently. Regardless of how, over a period of roughly four years, O’Callahan and those allied with him fought to control the roadway and when the dust settled, Garden State Shipping claimed control of roughly the entire highway. In reality, they exercised direct control over only a relative small part of it in central and south central Jersey. In order to enforce their will, the group pays outside groups to protect and defend stretches of the highway, mostly in the north and south, that the group does not have the ability to directly control.
In areas directly under Garden State Shipping’s control, regular guard stations housing 3-10 sentries dot the roads and an effective courier dispatch system to pass on messages ensures that the group continues to maintain control of the roadway. Other stretches are much more lawless, but the organization maintains de facto control and provides enough security such that traders and other individuals are none the wiser.
The original Fishermen that followed Colin O’Callahan makes up the heart of the organization, but in the almost years since, the group has expanded to include outsiders. Because of the varied nature of what Garden State Shipping does, those who come to the Exit 11 Trade Bazaar are rarely turned away. From bureaucrats to manual laborers, the trade group employs a large variety of individuals and very few get turned away if they come looking for a job.
In addition to actual members, groups and individuals that have histories with the organization are considered ‘Friends of Garden State Shipping’ and are given preferential treatment. Farmers that regularly use GSS to transport their good are charged cheaper rates because of his regular business. Businessmen that regularly use GSS roads are charged cheaper tolls because of their regular business. Merchants that regularly rent out GSS stalls at the Exit 11 Trade Bazaar are taxed at cheaper rates because of their regular business.
The organization is a hierarchy, run by a ‘board’ consisting of various individuals. Colin O’Callahan occupied a seat on the board, but since he stepped down, his chair was split in two, with both of his children having a say in the affairs of the organization. The Director of Internal Affairs (in charge of running general day-to-day affairs), the Director of Security (in charge of protecting Garden State Shipping interests, including roadways and caravans), the Master of Records (in charge of record keeping), the Director of the Exit 11 Trade Bazaar (in charge of running the Exit 11 Trade Bazaar), the Chief Economist (in charge of researching market trends and finding new contracts), and the Chief Fiscal Officer (in charge of all monetary issues) round out the board that controls the group.
Activities & Interests
Garden State Shipping transports just about anything, so long as there is a profit to be made. While other opportunities exist, the group is content with controlling their roadway and not expanding very far elsewhere. Expanding too far to the east puts them in conflict with the slavers operating in the city of Camden. The group sponsors trade caravans outside of their area of influence, but as of the present, is not interested in expanding that area.
The group maintains direct control of the highway in most of northern and central Jersey, but contracts out security in parts of it, mostly in the south and extreme north, because those areas are simply too far away to constantly keep secured. Instead, the group pays raider and tribal groups nominal fees to protect their interests and prevent unauthorized groups from using or taking control of their roadways. Among these groups are the 69ers, and the Barnegat Boys in the south, and the Hack-and-Sacks in the north. Such alliances are flimsy and in the past, Garden State Shipping has terminated such associations, but as long as they benefit the trade outfit, they are willing to work with such groups.
Because of founder Colin O’Callahan’s relationship with Avery Banks, the leader of Brick City, Garden State Shipping has a good relationship with the settlement. Through nepotism, the organization has won numerous lucrative contracts with the city. Such contracts include being subject to smaller tariffs upon entering or exiting Brick City and being given exclusive contracts to transport goods to and from the city.
Anyone that disrupts trade- and more specifically, their trade- is considered an enemy of the group. That includes smaller trade outfits that cut into Garden State Shipping’s profits, raiders and tribals that attack caravans.