Director, Sai Maritime & Management (Mumbai)
Hi, my name is Rukhsana. I started my career in shipping in 1982 as a Trainee in the Chartering Department. Thereafter I did internships in forwarding and container marketing. In 1995, I did my first booking with SAL. Today, I am the Director of Sai Maritime & Management P.Ltd. Sai operates as an exclusive agent for SAL Heavy Lift. At Sai, I handle the projects & heavy lift division which includes marketing, business development, chartering as well as PR and events . I also oversee the agency division for JSA tonnage calling India.
You could say shipping is in my blood. While I was growing up, the only conversation at our dinner table was about ships, because it was our family business, helmed by my father and four elder brothers. When I finished school, I was familiar with all the shipping jargon, but I had never thought about a career because I always thought of it as a man's job. I was in my first year of studying the arts when I decided to earn some pocket money and took a part-time job as an assistant in the chartering department. During that time, I was very fortunate to be mentored by some of the best professionals in the industry.
Attitudes towards women in the shipping industry are changing steadily for the better: Today, I don’t experience the kind of prejudice I used to in the 1990s when women in shipping were rare. I have been in the industry now for a long time. In fact, many male clients now seek my advice regularly on project-related logistics.
A challenge I personally face in India is the safety of women in general. Though travelling in metro cities is quite safe here in India, the biggest challenge is travelling alone to meet clients if they are located in remote cities or locations.
What I love about shipping? Shipping is exciting, fast paced, dynamic - you travel around the world (now virtually) and most importantly you are part of the logistics industry which is one of the world’s most important but underestimated services.