Leading container terminal operator, Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT) made history on Friday as it unveiled the first set of female harbour crane and Rubber Tyre Gantry (RTG) operators in Africa.
Speaking at the official presentation of the female crane operators at the Tin Can Island Port Complex, Lagos on Friday, the Managing Director of TICT, Mr. Etienne Rocher said the operators – Oni Taiwo Omotayo; Tina Onwudiwe; Adewale Adegoroye; Adeniran Maltida and Ajayi Oluwaseun; were the first set of women to be trained in heavy duty cranes operation in Africa.
He said, “What is interesting is that we were able to bring in women operator into our industrial equipment conduct, which means that it is an additional opportunity for women in Nigeria and also a role model within and beyond the continent that women can actually turn into equipment operator in what has traditionally been a man dominated industry.
“Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and Nigeria is also showing the way for women employment into the port industry. So it is setting the pace for others within Nigeria and Africa as well. It is showing that there is a way to show the mindset not on gender but on capability merit.”
The TICT Managing Director disclosed that the company invested 15,000 Euros (N6.5 million) in training each of the female operators in Ivory Coast, bringing the total for all five operators to 75,000 Euros (N32.5 million).
He said, “The initial training was six weeks from the trainers that we took from overseas and after six weeks, there was certification. Direct training cost was 15,000 Euros but obviously you will have the power on the job which will not be optimum initially but will get better as the person develops the skill.”
The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, who was guest at the unveiling of the women crane operators expressed delight and commended TICT for the initiative.
Usman said, “I will like to see more women being engaged in port operation activities. TICT has done something very impressive with the fact that they have realised the skill and capacity of women and they have trained them and engage them doing this job.
“I am very impressed with the terminal operator and I call on other terminal operators to do same and have women engaged in port operations just as the first female NPA MD, I look forward to seeing more women actively engaged in port operation.
“I believe Nigeria as the giant of Africa is trail blazing today by having women operating RTGs so we will continue to lead the pace in Africa.”
One of the newly trained operators, Oni Taiwo Omotayo said she was happy on the job and considered it a great opportunity being the first female in Africa to operate a harbour crane.
She said, “What a man can do, a woman can do better. Once you put your mind in it, you can do it. So men should not feel they are the only ones that can do such jobs, I think women can work better on it too.”
TICT has invested about N100 billion on the provision and development of facilities at its terminal at the Tin Can Island Port Complex since it commenced operation in 2006.
The investment has led to efficiency in cargo delivery as well as the elimination of vessel queues at the terminal.