Katharina Tempel

Operations Manager, SAL Heavy Lift (Hamburg)

My name is Katharina, and I am with SAL Heavy Lift since almost four years. My career in shipping started as an apprentice at Harren and Partner. Today, I am an operations manager within our heavy lift fleet. There my tasks are quite extensive and versatile: From informing the vessels about their new voyages and cargoes to coordinate the port calls between agents, stevedores and clients. I also issue invoices to the client, keep everyone updated about changes in the vessels’ schedule and rotation, or negotiate rates of the stevedores.
When my high school time came to an end, I had not really a clue what to do afterwards. I just knew that I want a job where I can speak English. So, I spoke to a friend who was already working in a shipping company. And what he described to me sounded quite interesting.
The shipping industry is still a men’s world, even though you can see already some changes. From time to time you get the feeling when working with certain clients or cultural backgrounds, that you are not taken seriously as a woman.  However, I would not say that effects me in my daily work. In general, you can often see or feel that woman don’t get taken seriously, often I get the feeling that men think that a woman can’t make decisions or have no idea what they are talking about. And when they are confident, men often feel not comfortable with it. However, in the beginning I was actually not really thinking about all this. I was only 19 years old when I started my apprenticeship.
Anyhow: For me, my job is something special. Everyday, I work with a lot of different cargoes from all over the world. I meet interesting people. Every day is different and exciting, so the job never gets boring.
What might men learn from women? In my opinion to communicate better. Communication is an essential part of our work and makes our lives easier. It can avoid misunderstandings or even extra work.

 

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