Top NewsThe African Ports and Rail Evolution Forum: Moving Women in Transport Forward

The number of women worldwide participating in the transport and logistics industry remains small, with the PwC Transportation and Logistics 2030 report revealing that this is as low as 20% to 30%[i]. In Africa, it is even worse, with statistics from the International Labour Organization showing that female participation in the sector could be as low as 13%[ii].

With these figures in mind, it is important to recognise, reward and celebrate those women in the transport industry who are achieving career success, shattering glass ceilings and opening doors for other women, together with the organisations that are supporting them to do so.  To this end, the Women in Transport Awards will be taking place on Tuesday, 15 October 2019 at the Durban International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa – the country’s top city to visit, according to Forbes.

The prestigious event, now in its third year, will be co-located with African Ports and Rail Evolution – a two-day trade exhibition and conference. This year, awards will be handed out in the following five categories:

  • Best Skills Contributor: Awarded to an individual who has opened their workplace to provide training, work placement opportunities, retention and employment.
  • Best Women Empowerment & Transformation Programme: This award recognises and acknowledges organisations that have not only advanced women in their workplaces through training and capacity building; but have also successfully transformed corporate behaviour and practices.
  • Rising Star: Awarded to an emerging individual under the age of 40 who has contributed significantly to the profession and has demonstrated exceptional leadership ability.
  • Best Woman’s Skills Development Programme of the Year: Bestowed on an organisation (company, non-profit, association or government agency) that has contributed successfully in promoting development of women.
  • Excellence in Leadership: This award is given to an individual who is innovating and excelling in their leadership role within the transport industry.

Sylvia Siyo, Business Case Development Manager at Transnet Port Terminals, who is not only a judge in this year’s Awards but was also a previous winner, says: “These awards respond to the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, which calls for female representation and recognition. This is crucial in the transport sector that is still male dominated. Recognition of this nature opens women up for career opportunities, growth and empowerment, of not just themselves but also other females to whom they impart inspiration.”

Fellow judge and past award recipient, Maria Mzimela, who is the Manager of Ground Transport: Cargo & Remote Sites at Airports Company South Africa, concurs: “The more we get recognition as women, the more is expected of us.  It challenges women to do more, to grow and nurture other women to excel in the transport industry.”

On how her win has impacted her, she says: “Winning was an excellent challenge for me, it reaffirmed my passion for the transport industry. It opened doors for me to work on other major projects and challenged me to start looking for a career change resulting in my move to the airport industry.”

Winner of the award for Best Skills Contributor in 2016 and current judge, Khomotjo Mphahlele, who is the Senior Marine Training Facilitator at the Maritime School of Excellence, shares: “These awards are important in order to acknowledge the contributions made by individuals and organisations and to encourage all involved to keep doing the wonderful work they are doing. Our country needs everyone on deck.”

To book your seat to attend this illustrious event or how to get your company involved go to or email

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