Tin-Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), one of the leading container terminal operators in Nigeria, has unveiled the first set of female harbour and Rubber Tyre Gantry (RTG) crane operators in Africa.
Etienne Rocher, managing director of TICT, who officially presented the female crane operators at the Tin-Can Island Port Complex in Lagos on Friday, said that the five female crane 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 crane operation in Africa.
“The interesting thing was that we were able to bring in women operator to manage our industrial equipment, 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 an industry that traditionally been men dominated,” Rocher said.
According to him, Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and Nigeria is also showing the way for women employment in the port industry. “So, it is setting the pace for others within Nigeria and Africa as well. It also shows that is not on gender but on capability.”
The TICT boss, who disclosed that the company invested about 15,000 Euros (N6.5 million) in training each of the female operators in Ivory Coast, bringing the total sum invested on all the five operators to 75,000 Euros (N32.5 million), added that as a terminal operator, he tried to bring in women crane operators in Morocco, but it did not work out.
“The initial training was six weeks from the trainers whom we brought from overseas and after six weeks, they were given certification. Direct training cost was 15,000 Euros but obviously you will have the power on the job which will not be optimal initially but will get better as the person develops the skill on the job.”
Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), who was a special guest at the unveiling of the women crane operators, expressed delight and commended TICT for the initiative.
“I will like to see more women being engaged in port operations. 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 to do this job,” Usman said.
Continuing, she said: “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.
According to her, Nigeria as the giant of Africa is trail blazing today by having women operating RTGs and harbour crane, and “so, we will continue to set 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.
“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,” she said.
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 queue at the terminal.