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  • Writer's pictureTeam CargoTalk

Female frontier: harnessing technology to alter cargo industry

Women in air cargo and logistics industry are found in office jobs such as in controlling, purchasing or human resources. But thanks to the steady growth and integration of high-quality logistics services into the value chain of industry and trade, the sector is offering women a wide range of career opportunities.

-Abigail Mathias

The logistics industry has seen tremendous transformation in recent years. One of the most notable changes has been the increasing importance of women in pivotal roles within the field. Women have made significant contribution to logistics, leading to valuable and diverse perspectives shaping successful teams in the industry.

According to Gartner’s 2021 ‘Women in Supply Chains Survey’, women presently comprise an average of 41 per cent of the supply chain workforce. This represents a significant shift, and a growing acknowledgment of the critical role women play in the logistics industry. Even more promising is the fact that 73 per cent of the supply chain organizations surveyed have set goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, highlighting the industry’s commitment to attracting, developing, retaining, and advancing women.

Women leaders are breaking barriers and demonstrating the value of diverse perspectives in an industry that demands agility and innovation. Their influence is vital for the continued success of the logistics sector. Embracing diversity and gender balance is not just a trend, it is necessary for the logistics industry to thrive in an ever-evolving world. CARGOTALK celebrates these women and many like them who are making a difference in the logistics landscape.

Logistics industry needs more women in workforce

Nadia Abdul Aziz, President, NAFL

Having been in the logistics industry for 20 years, it is remarkable to see the roles that women have taken up in this field. The UAE is in the forefront when it comes to women empowerment. The past 50 years witnessed more women in the workforce in logistics industry.

The logistics industry needs women in leadership positions where they can be strong role models and inspire the next generation. Although the logistics industry is a growing one, there are not many women in the logistics sector.

It is imperative more women join the sector as they are good at multitasking. So, my advice to them is to work hard and be consistent. From the perspective of employers, they are always looking for qualified trainees. They always count on us to get the work done.”

As decision-makers, women transforming cargo industry

Kadeeja Afreen, Logistics Coordinator, Rajab Express

Women in logistics industry have made a mark by breaking gender barriers and excelling in leadership roles. They contribute diverse perspectives, strategic insights, and communication skills, enhancing collaboration and innovation. In 2022, Rosalyn Wilson of Rosalyn Wilson LLC, was the successful businesswomen in the logistic field.

Women have pioneered advancements in supply chain management, operations, and technology. Initiatives promoting gender diversity have empowered them to navigate male-dominated sectors.

Their influence extends to advocating sustainable practices and shaping the industry’s future. As decision-makers and in other roles, women are driving change thereby contributing to the efficiency of the logistics and cargo industry.”

Women’s contribution drives growth, sustainability

Berna Akyildiz, President, The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Turkiye

Technology has revolutionized air cargo, enhancing efficiency and reliability. Automation, real-time tracking, and data analytics streamline operations, ensuring accurate scheduling and minimizing delays. IoT devices provide visibility into cargo conditions, reducing risks and improving overall safety.

These tech advancements expedite processes and optimize resource utilization, making the air cargo industry more responsive. Women have made a distinctive impact in the logistics industry by breaking traditional gender norms.

They excel in leadership, operations, and innovation, bringing diverse perspectives to the table. Their contributions foster an inclusive and dynamic industry, driving positive change and ensuring sustainable growth.”

Impact is constrained due to limited opportunities

Svettlana Chatterjee, Director S CUBE Trans Continental Group

Within the air cargo and logistics industry, women are more often than not stifled by the silent presence of the systemic barriers, rendering their potential was obscured and aspirations muted.

Although quite some logistics companies do embrace women leaders and employees, on the whole, the impact of women remains quite constrained due to limited scope and opportunities.

The logistics industry is built on the concept of the male domiminated sectors and manual labour, despite having shifted to a more cerebral approach in logistics operations, the air cargo and logistics industry remains on the backbone of a patriarchal ethos.

Although women contribute significantly to the performance of logistics industry, but realizing their full potential requires dismantling certain barriers, fostering inclusivity, and creating enough space for a logistics landscape where every talent is likely to flourish.”

Breaking barriers in male dominated logistics sector

Emma Deane, Regional Vice President Business Development AMEA, WFS

Women in air cargo and logistics industry are making broad and meaningful impact in the sector, leading by example to encourage participation breaking barriers in what has historically and predominantly been a male dominated industry. I am proud to say many of these are my colleagues holding corporate and frontline operational roles among others.

The Board of Directors of the SATS Limited has as many as five women out of 12 as Board Members. This goes to show that our company is women-oriented. Women currently make up 30 per cent of our management team. In a international workforce, diversity and inclusion play a significant role than before in promoting talent and engagement, and ultimately boost collaboration and drive better business outcomes.

Efforts being made to lure more women into logistics

Laura Rodríguez, Manager Implementation & Quality Assurance, Cargo IQ

With a diverse workforce we ensure we will have different points of view and ideas coming in. Therefore, an effort to attract more women, and different demographics in general, into the logistics industry should continue to pay off in the form of new and better ideas.

Technology makes achieving efficient planning and transparency between different stakeholders in the air cargo industry. For example, digitalisation plays a vital role in providing real-time information throughout the movement of the shipment.

New technologies allow our members to fulfil those requirements better and more efficiently every time. Cargo iQ’s tools and methodologies deliver a system of shipment planning and performance monitoring for air cargo based on common business processes.”

Women driving change in work environments

Kaoutar Makrache, Co-Founder & CEO, Win Sustainably

Women have brought fresh perspectives, innovation, and leadership to the logistics industry, challenging traditional guidelines and driving positive change. Our mark is evident in the way we prioritize sustainability and employee wellbeing among others.

Despite still being underrepresented, we—the women leaders—in the logistics industry are known for fostering inclusive work environments that more often than not encourage collaboration and creativity, leading to much more resilient and adaptable businesses.

By breaking barriers and taking on leadership roles head-on, we have also inspired a more diverse women-centric workforce, contributing to the logistics industry’s growth and innovation. Of late, our influence is shaping a more dynamic, equitable, and forward thinking industry.”

Women enhancing performance of logistics

Jacqueline Han Lin Ni, Area Manager, Etihad Cargo International Airport

Women have been stepping into leadership positions within the logistics industry. Their leadership often emphasizes collaboration, innovation, and strategic thinking. The involvement of women in logistics is enhancing the industry’s performance and driving it towards an inclusive and sustainable future.

Their diverse perspectives and innovative approaches are essential for addressing the complex challenges of modern supply chains. Forty per cent of our employees are female. The leadership at Etihad Airways is building an inclusive and equal organisation.

For example, in 2020 Etihad Airways joined IATA’s ‘25 by 2025’ pledge and increased its female workforce by 25 per cent. We were the first airline in the UAE to do so.”

Bringing their skills to the table in logistics industry

Yamrot Nigussie, Cargo Manager, Gulf, Ethiopian Airlines Cargo

Majority of women logistics professionals work in offices doing human resources, management, or sales. Every year, the proportion of women working in supply chain management continues to rise.

However, the logistics industry is currently offering a variety of options for women because of the consistent and increasing demand for logistics services and its integration into the international commerce value chain.

Women are also entering technical positions such as truck drivers, warehouse managers, forklift operators and shift supervisors among others. This goes to show that women are bringing their own perspectives and skills to the table, which can lead to better problem-solving and decision-making in the logistics industry.”

Contributing to safety in air and road transportation

Minal Khilnani, Manager Supply Chain & Logistics, Dubai Airports

I truly believe, women have come a long way in the journey and have made significant contributions in the traditionally male dominated air cargo and logistics industry, challenging stereotypes and driving innovation. From managing supply chains to piloting cargo planes, their contributions are invaluable.

Of late, women have been demonstrating leadership, safety, and efficiency quality. Women professionals continue to contribute to sustainability efforts, advocating for eco-friendly practices in air and road transportation and packaging.

Through their dedication and expertise, women are being seen as enablers to reshape the landscape of the air cargo and logistics industry thereby paving the way for a more inclusive and dynamic industry.”

Women making rapid strides, contributing to cargo sector

Janet Wallace, MD, Cargo Operations & Transformations, Air Canada

The air cargo industry has traditionally been male dominated, but women have been making rapid strides and contributing to the sector with diverse perspectives and collaborative approaches. Women have been breaking down stereotypes and inspiring others to pursue careers in air cargo, logistics and transportation.

Technology has enabled the use of digital platforms, automation and AI to streamline the processes and operations of air cargo. Technology has improved the communication and coordination among the various stakeholders, including women.

Women and technology are key enablers for growth and development of the industry. They have much to offer to the sector in terms of innovation, efficiency, and sustainability.”

WAL for promoting gender balance at the workplace

Celine Hourcade, President, WAL

A movement of transformation was launched on International Women’s Day 2021 and WAL seeks to mobilize the industry and drive a concerted action towards gender equality. Its objectives include promoting gender balance at the workplace, contributing to defining an industry action plan to address gender diversity, inclusion, encouraging and supporting industry transition by identifying various targets and timeframes, and delivering solutions to reach gender-focused goals.

After driving a series of projects, including a mentorship scheme and creation of a database of women speakers, the association is seeking sponsorship to fund its next mentorship scheme, to provide benchmarking and statistics about gender balance in the industry.”

Widening talent pool by luring them into logistics

Patrizia Kern, Chief Insurance Officer Breeze

Women in logistics industry have brought about positive changes, such as promoting diversity, and driving innovation. Initiatives such as Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association and All Aboard Alliance have played a vital role in empowering women in traditionally male-dominated field.

By encouraging women to pursue lucrative careers in logistics, these initiatives have expanded the overall talent pool, bringing in fresh ideas, skills, and perspectives. Female representation in roles dominated by men, such as logistics management and freight operations, helps ensure expertise impacting overall performance.

At the beginning of my career, I was the only woman at most of my meetings. In the past decade, this has changed drastically.”


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