[Durban, South Africa, 04 October 2019] South Africa’s ports under the custodianship of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) rolled out an array of activities to mark World Maritime Day on Thursday, 26 September.
Created by the United Nations (UN), via the International Maritime Organization (IMO), World Maritime Day celebrates the international maritime industry’s contribution towards the world’s economy, especially in shipping.
This year’s theme globally, ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’, provided an opportunity for the South African port landlord to reflect on the contributions of women in the sector and to promote its achievements in terms of gender equality in an industry historically dominated by males.
In line with this focus, TNPA’s ports and business units hosted programmes with key role players in the industry.
The Port of Mossel Bay hosted a Women in Maritime Business Breakfast, which featured a panel discussion on Opportunities within the Oceans Economy, Engineering, and Oil & Gas Sector, as well as a presentation on Port of Mossel Bay Port Development Future Plans. This was followed by a Port Open Day featuring waterside demonstrations and a port tour.
Panelists included Shirley Smidt of Afri-Shore Shipping, Mossel Bay Harbour Master Captain Vania Cloete, Dr. T Terblanche of South Cape College and Lieutenant Colonel Mpato of SAPS.
Keeping women’s empowerment on the table
“The International Transport Workers’ Federation estimates that women make up just 2% of the global maritime workforce,” said Port of Mossel Bay Financial Accountant, Elizma Kleyn. “For Transnet, as the largest and most crucial part of the freight logistics chain that delivers goods to each and every South Africa, women’s development is a priority.
Mossel Bay Port Manager Shadrack Tshikalange said, “Among the Port of Mossel Bay’s pioneers we are proud to have women in roles such as our Harbour Master, Engineering Manager, Acting Senior Operations Manager, tug masters, marine pilots, stevedores, shorehands and more. Nationally, we are also proud to have dozens of women in our company who have broken through the glass ceiling and become ‘firsts’ not only in South Africa, but even globally.
“Today women occupy half (50%) of the top management positions nationally within TNPA, three of our eight commercial ports have female port managers and women now fill 36% of all jobs across TNPA, bringing their unique characteristics to the workplace,” ”he added.