The initiative builds on the activities of the IAPH Women's Forum which has been actively sponsoring professional development of member female port professionals through its Biennial Training Scholarship and Annual Meeting Scholarship for years.

Smart shipping and digitisation is set to change the face of port operations. Autonomous vessel operation will require completely different skillsets as well as mindsets. Women port operators such as those remotely managing harbour cargo handling equipment in Panama have already demonstrated that women have an important contribution to make to the ports of the future,

...said Jeanine Drummond is Harbour Master – Newcastle & Yamba, Port Authority of New South Wales, Australia and IAPH Women’s Forum Vice Chair – Asia, South East and Oceania Region.

We will connect these women to experts using the Mentorloop application. This solution is based on matching professionals in terms of skillset demand and supply, and then facilitating whatever best communication medium to fit both mentor and mentee. It has been proven as a cost-effective and efficient tool for business corporations, governments and in education. It means we can use our limited resource to potentially benefit a broad spectrum of women port professionals instead of just a few and without geographical or functional boundaries. That said we want to focus on women who work in port operations, where we believe they can make the difference in the future,

...she further explained.

The nine-month pilot will be run as of May this year and will be launched at the IAPH Guangzhou 2019 World Ports Conference. The Chair of the Women's Forum Siti Noraishah Azizan is also presenting Women in Ports Mentoring Program at the upcoming World Maritime University Women's Conference in Malmo, Sweden.

Siti is the General Manager of Sabah Ports in Malaysia and, along with Vice Chair Jeanine Drummond, will showcase the Program at an upcoming special event held at the IMO FAL 43rd Session in London.

This year the IMO celebrates World Maritime Day in September with the theme Empowering Women in the Maritime Community. As a partner initiative of the World Ports Sustainability Program, the IAPH Women's Forum will put that theme into practice with their Mentoring Program, providing education opportunities for women professionals from all IAPH port members in all disciplines,

...IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven commented.