THE Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) celebrated its 20th anniversary in Singapore this past week with a gathering of trade professionals and lively discussion on current issues in the global shipping industry.
The gathering – themed “unlocking Asia, opportunities and threats” – took place at the historic Hotel Fort Canning and focused on significant issues impacting ports, cyber security, and China’s Belt and Road initiative.
Delivering the keynote address, assistant chief executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Tan Beng Tee said the centre of economic gravity is increasingly shifting towards Asia.
“The industry is also seeing unprecedented consolidation within the liner segment, greater emphasis on technology and new business models being formulated,” she said.
Ms Tan continued, saying she hoped more women would join the maritime sector.
“When I first entered the industry, it was really a male-dominated industry, quite daunting and one has to really work hard to be heard,” she said.
“Today, the environment is different, we see more women joining the industry, heading international organisations and helming family businesses.”
WISTA Singapore president Magdalene Chew said the organisation was honoured to have the opportunity to host such a vibrant and energetic conference.
“Gender diversity in shipping and international trade is undoubtedly necessary for our industry to progress,” she said.
“WISTA is the platform for us to demonstrate such diversity. I am heartened to see the industry has progressively altered its mind-set towards gender diversity such that many women are now empowered to take up leadership roles. This must continue if the shipping industry is to remain dynamic and attractive to the brightest talent.”