Shipping is a male-dominated industry and that way of doing things in the industry has a long and deep tradition, across the key companies, institutions, and groups, including freight forwarders, licensed agents, seafarers, ship owners, regulatory agencies, cargo handlers, and transporters.
However, there are a few women, who are doing well. They are powerful, resourceful, and are great leaders worth their onions. They are also making their mark in that sector. Below is a list of a few of them.
Princess Vicky Haastrup, the wife of Osun State former Deputy Governor, Chief Adesuyi Haastrup, has been a leading light in the maritime sector and a success story having climbed the ladder of success high in her endeavours.
Her sojourn in the oil and gas sector would certainly inspire anyone who wants to succeed in the industry. She enjoyed a successful career at the NNPC for 23 years rising through the ranks to attain the position of Special Assistant to the Honourable Minister of Petroleum & Energy before her foray into the country’s male-dominated maritime industry, where she has excelled after conquering the oil and gas sector. She faced her fair share of criticism but replicated the same success to the chagrin of many of her detractors.
With the courage and boldness of a lioness, she confronted the challenge of running one of the most strategic terminals at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa in a male-dominated milieu. Interestingly, she stole the limelight and has since remained the toast of the port industry
Now 61, Vicky Haastrup, a co-founder, is the Executive Vice-Chairman, and a significant shareholder of ENL Consortium, the maritime company that manages the operations of the Terminals C&D of the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa.
She is also the Chairman of Sea Ports Terminal Operators’ Association of Nigeria (STOAN), an umbrella body that comprises key operators of the seaport terminals in Nigeria.
Vibrant and articulate, she is a very active and prominent player in the maritime sector in Nigeria. Fondly called “mama of dockworkers,” she has been a major voice pushing for the reformation of Nigerian dockworkers as well as women’s rights. Interestingly, her company which is one of the port concessionaires at Apapa port currently has the highest number of dockworkers in Nigeria.
Haastrup, a blend of beauty and brain, is a graduate of Business Management from the then Holborn College London. She also studied in the following institutions of higher learning where she took professional courses: London Business School, London Corporate Training Centre, and Pitman Central College, London.
She is a fellow of both the Certified Institute of Shipping and Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and holds the Doctorate Degree (DBA) in Business Administration (Honoris Causa) of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomosho, Oyo State. She remains a leading female voice in the maritime industry.
MS. HADIZA BALA USMAN
Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman is the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the leading government regulator in the maritime industry. This amazon first took over the mantle of leadership of the NPA in 2016 amidst doubts from industry analysts but has stamped her authority becoming a strong force to reckon with in the male-dominated space leading to her reappointment by President Buhari in 2021.
She is indeed a woman of substance and high-pedigree, who earned her place in history through meritocracy, hard-work, uncommon intellectual strength, solid principles, and records of unparalleled achievements in professional trajectories.
She is disciplined, hardworking and a great transformation force radically overhauling processes and operations of the agency. As a technocrat who has carved a niche for herself before joining the port, she continues to spearhead major changes at the port including the recent electronic truck call-up system to finally fix the perennial traffic congestions at the ports.
She has also introduced a number of innovations in the Nigerian Port Administration and succeeded in putting Nigeria squarely on the map as far as international port activities is concerned. A few of the other innovations are the commissioning of the Command and Control Communication and Intelligence Centre of the NPA for improved surveillance and security at the Ports; launching of an online billing system that eradicates loss and reduces the incidence of fraud; putting in place systems to improve transparency and accountability at Nigerian Ports amongst others.
Hadiza Bala Usman is an Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria graduate where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree (B.Sc.) in Business Administration; she also studied at the University of Leeds United Kingdom where she obtained a post-graduate degree in Development Studies.
MRS EUNICE EZEOKE
Ezeoke is an Assistant General Manager, Tariff and Billing, also at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). In February 2020, she was elected the President of the Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) in Nigeria.
WISTA is a global organization connecting female executives and decision-makers around the world with its 54 country members, serving as a connector for its network of more than 3,800 female professionals from all sectors of the maritime industry. Since then she has continued to champion the cause of women and increasing more women participation at the ports.
DR. FELICIA CHINWE MOGO
Mogo is the Head of Department, Marine Environment Management, Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency (NIMASA). She has been a very strong and leading voice in the maritime industry. She has also worked as Head, Oil and Gas Division at the Federal Ministry of Environment, Lagos Zonal Office. She is the Founder and President of the African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative (AFMESI). She also served at many international maritime and energy platforms including as Chairperson 2013 to 2016 intercessional and main meeting/Representative member of West and Central African Regions at IMO- London Protocol (1996), Expert Compliance Group (2012 to 2018), and National focal point.
She also served as a member of the NIGERIAN Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the United Nations-Advisory/Group of Experts on the scientific aspect of marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) between 2014 and 2018. Mogo has also represented NIMASA at World Bank’s Programme on West African Coastal Areas (WACA) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP-GPA) partnership on marine litter.
MRS. DOYIN RHODES VIVOUR
Vivour is a popularly legal luminary with a larger-than-life image at the ports. She has provided legal representation and services on many port-related issues as a reputable maritime lawyer and arbitrator.
A founding partner at the Doyin Rhodes-Vivour & Co. (DRV & Co), one of the leading Law firms in Nigeria established in 1997, Mrs. Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is an alumnus of the University of Lagos and King’s College London, the University of London with about four (4) decades of experience in legal practice. She was also President of the Maritime Arbitrators of Nigeria (MAAN).
MRS. MARGARET ORAKWUSI
Orakwusi is a former National President of the Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA) at the port. Orakwusi is a barrister, CEO, MORBOD Fisheries Limited, a maritime consultant, and a public speaker. She is one of the founding partners of Consolidated Legal practice and a foremost maritime lawyer and Chairman of the Nigerian Ship Owners Forum.
She has handled a wide variety of admiralty and maritime cases, including cargo claims, collision, limitation of liability, personal injury, salvage, marine liability, vessel arrests, seamen and longshoreman injuries, various types of liens, warranty issues, vessel mortgage, and documentation, salvage, vessel fires, and vessel repair disputes.
She has proven her mettle at the ports with many legal contributions, services, and achievements as a woman in the legal profession.
Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi believes that when a woman rises above the sentiments of background, custom, tradition, and those things which have been put in place to limit the efforts of women, she begins to rise and see herself as a human being created by God; having the same right, brain, and functions as the male, she excels.
Mrs. Ifeyinwa Anazonwu-Akerele is a former and pioneer Director-General of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), an affiliate to the International Chamber of Shipping, and a former president of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA-Nigeria). Also a member and Ambassador of the Women in Maritime Africa, Akerele remains still quite active in the Maritime sector in Nigeria.
One of the first few women in the Maritime sector, she started her career with the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs and later served as the Special Assistant and Administrative Assistant to the DG, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs and Executive Secretary, Institute Of Directors Nigeria.
She has remained a key voice and a very influential player in the industry. Having spent 10 years in the Chamber of Shipping, she is now retired but was made a life member of the board as a mark of honor for her contributions. She is also a BoT member thus remained tied to the Shipping sector.
Through the chamber, Akerele championed the passing of the cabotage law which allow Nigerians to get first choice refusal when it comes to contracts and activities in the Maritime sector to ensure that Nigerians who aspire to play in that sector have access to funds and contracts by international oil companies and generally look after the welfare of the Nigerian Shipping or maritime entrepreneur.
She also pushes for proper policies, lobbied and interacted on the international platform to make sure that Nigeria’s voice is heard with a goal to make Nigeria a maritime hub for West Africa and Africa in the long run.
AISHA ALI IBRAHIM
She is the Managing Director of Confluence Logistics and Transport LTD and global founder of CILT Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT).
An experienced player in the maritime sector, Ibrahim had earlier spent over 10 years working at the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) with her last posting as Senior Manager Traffic in charge of terminal cargo handling at one of the ports. During the period, she became acquainted with the industry and understands its inner workings.
Armed with an MSc in Transport from the University of Wales in Cardiff, she has also become a veteran and a notable and visible face to reckon with in the maritime space.