Ports owner aims to bridge gender gap after signing up to charter

ABP Branded Anchor Woman's PPE shoot at ABP's Port of Ipswich, on 03-September-2019.Picture: Stephe

ABP is keen to see more women take up roles at its ports as it promotes diversity in its workforce. Here women try out new ports PPE before distancing rules were in place - Credit: Stephen Waller/ABP

The owner of East Anglian ports at Lowestoft, Ipswich and King’s Lynn has signed up to a charter promoting diversity in the maritime sector.

Associated British Ports (ABP) is the latest business to join the Diversity in Maritime Charter programme.

Its ports in Southampton and East Anglia have been recognised by the Diversity in Maritime Charter for its successful scheme to attract a more diverse workforce. 

With the help of 20 volunteers from across the business it has come up with an action plan for further improvement which it hopes to roll out across its other sites.

In July 2019, ABP became the first UK port operator to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) specifically designed for women. 


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In 2020, women represented  57% of ABP’s graduate intake and it has appointed four women to senior management roles — which represents a thirds of all senior leadership appointments.

To become a charter organisation, businesses have to share baseline data including the total proportion of women in their workforce and in  middle and senior management and to set targets for either five or 10 years as part of individual company action plans. 

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Maritime UK regularly engages with charter organisations to assess progress and identify areas for new programmes and activity while providing a platform to share best practice and challenges with others.

More than 120 companies have now been signed the charter’s statement of intent to demonstrate commitment to making progress on diversity.

ABP human resources boss Alison Rumsey said: “We are committed to building a more inclusive, diverse and open working community, so that colleagues can be themselves at work every day. I am incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made so far and look forward to continuing to build on these strong foundations in future.”

Ben Murray, director of Maritime UK, said: “We are very pleased to see ABP take this important step on their journey to creating a more inclusive working environment. As a major employer in the sector, their progress will really help move the sector forward. 

“We’re all thinking about how we can Build Back Better and that must include a workforce that reflects the society in which we live — so that everyone can find a place in our sector and so that our businesses reap the economic benefits that a diverse workforce is proven to unlock.” 

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