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International Women’s Day: Embracing diversity and inclusion in supply chain and transportation

International Women’s Day is an important fixture in the global calendar.



Around the world, it offers the opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while at the same time raising awareness of diversity and inclusion (D&I).


Of course, commemorations are important. However, the spotlight must also be shone on the need to advance progress further, with few events offering a better chance for reflection.


Looking at supply chain, logistics and transportation, steps are being taken in the right direction regarding gender equity. Indeed, growing awareness and organisational campaigns have had a positive impact on the role and presence of women in these sectors – so much so, that Gartner estimates women now make up 41% of the supply chain workforce, with a little over a quarter (26%) of supply chain C-suite roles filled by female leaders.


Statistics such as these show the gap has narrowed significantly. However, other research and studies come to different conclusions and suggest that far more needs to be done. For example, a report published by Heidrick & Struggles International finds that the supply chain function has the lowest share of women in leadership roles at just 13%.


In the case of transport, meanwhile, the imbalance is similarly stark. Indeed, according to the European Commission, currently little over one in five (22%) of transport workers are women.


Leveraging diversity to address the talent gap


While it can be difficult to discern the true size of the gender gap in these sectors, the fact of the matter is that supply chain and transportation remain heavily male-dominated.


Striving to eliminate the gender gap in these areas is undoubtedly the right thing to do. However, it should not be viewed as an obligation, but rather a significant opportunity.


At present, our profession is faced with the issue of mounting skills shortages. In the case of supply chain, a recent survey from MHI revealed that attracting and retaining qualified workers is the leading challenge in the eyes of supply chain executives, cited by 57%.


Increasing female representation will naturally go a long way in helping to resolve this. Simply put, with more people available in the supply chain, logistics and transportation talent pools, more gaps can be filled, regardless of gender.


Consider truck drivers as an example. Across 36 countries, analysis from IRU shows that there are more than three million unfilled truck driver jobs at present – a shortage that’s expected to worsen significantly. Indeed, without the necessary action to attract and retain drivers more effectively, it is anticipated that over seven million truck driver positions could be unfilled by 2028.


At the same time, IRU reveals that just 6% of truck drivers across these same 36 countries are women. With the current three million employment gap representing 7% of total positions, a relatively moderate percentage increase in the prevalence of women in such positions would go a long way in addressing the overall shortage.


The business case for D&I in supply chain


Of course, addressing the gender balance should by no means be pursued in the aim of simply solving skills shortages, or because it is the right thing to do. Equally, there is a significant business case that underlines how enhancing workplace diversity makes strong financial sense.


Here, we outline three of the key business benefits of making a concerted effort towards enhancing D&I strategies.


#1 – Productivity and innovation


Research from both the OECD and MSCI shows that having women in leadership positions can help to boost overall company productivity.


With greater diversity comes a broader range of ideas, perspectives, insights and approaches, which can in turn inspire innovation among team members. Equally, diverse workplaces can help to boost employee motivation and happiness, leading to more productive, creative and engaged workers.


#2 – Greater profitability


It is only natural that productivity and innovation improvements should drive higher profits. In fact, the World Economic Forum’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report reveals that diverse workforces enjoy 19% more revenue from innovation.


Evidence from McKinsey also shows that gender diversity has a direct impact on the bottom line. Indeed, one report from the organisation highlights that those companies excelling in the field of gender diversity are 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability.


#3 – Attracting and retaining talent


We must also reiterate the fact that diversity is a powerful recruiting tool – something that the supply chain sector is in desperate need of. For example, research from Glassdoor found that 76% of employees and jobseekers view a diverse workforce as important when evaluating companies and job offers.


It’s also vital in retaining key talent. An inclusive workplace culture can help to enhance views on internal opportunities and overall morale, helping to avoid the costly consequences of high employee churn.


Diversity and inclusion are needed now more than ever


Diversity and inclusion strategies will undoubtedly play a key role in shaping the fortunes of the supply chain, logistics and transportation sectors in the coming years.


With these industries set to face stormy seas in relation to talent and technology, firms must consider the ways in which they can attract and sustain a happy workforce to remain stable during periods of significant change.


International Women’s Day, embodying the theme of ‘Inspire Inclusion’ in 2024, serves as a perfect reminder of the role that gender equity and diversity can play in helping organisations to achieve that stability.


Yes, businesses must continue to keep their finger on the pulse of technological change. Yet they must not do so at the expense of their people and talent practices.


The merits are clear. By focusing on attracting and retaining women within key supply chain and transportation positions, existing talent gaps can be bridged alongside the creation of a broader pool of innovation and creativity.

CILT International Feature: Chief Teete OWUSU-NORTEY FCILT, President

It is a great pleasure to introduce myself as the new International President of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport International (CILT). My term of office started on the 1st January 2024 and will run until 31st December 2025 and I am privileged to be taking up this role at this time.



As the first African to be elected to this position since the inception of CILT in 1919; the honour to represent the global community, our continent Africa and my nation Ghana is significant, and I will approach it humbly and with gratitude.


Having been involved with CILT for nearly 30 years and serving in many capacities, I truly value what my membership has brought to me and my professional activity. Being part of such an esteemed body, with over 32,000 members globally and still counting, means that my professional brothers and sisters are always close at hand wherever I travel on this planet of ours.


Mission as CILT International President


I have stated that my mission for the next two years is to continue to bind us together more strongly in our communication and sharing of best practice and as we use the phrase “Stronger Together” in all of our branding. It feels appropriate that the global challenge for greater diversity and inclusivity in our profession should be at the heart of my work.


Being the International President, as well as a volunteer and a trustee, is about leading our nations and regions in supporting and growing our membership, standing still is no longer an option in today’s world.



Global Synergy and Connectivity


My expertise and heart is based on great communication and it is therefore my intention, as one of my three strategic pillars’ is to ensure that every member feels that they can communicate with me at all times. I will be building a future diverse and inclusive workforce in the Transport, Logistics and Supply Chain sectors by introducing monthly shared updates with every nation to ensure information and best practice flows rapidly across our Institute.


I will be looking forward in supporting our champions across our Next Generation forum and championing the work of our Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT) forum which has driven so much of our growth over the last 10 years. Inclusivity and Diversity is therefore my second key pillar.


Finally, my 3rd pillar is to build sustainable capacity in our industry in Transport, Logistics and Supply chain by working with every country and region more actively to promote our professional institute and what it has stood for, for over 100 years and how it will be relevant for the next 100 years and beyond.


Stronger Together


I will be your voice for delivering more, creating more and engaging more with every sector we touch at global, national and organisational levels.


I am only a custodian of a great office for the next two years. Therefore, it is my intention to work with Mr. Jan Steenberg, who will succeed me, as well as our Council of Trustees, International Management Committee, International Audit Committee, International Membership Standards Committee, International Education Standards Committee and the full time International Secretariat team, to represent you with a commitment and energy that you will respect and then deliver structured and supported change to ensure we move forward visibly in our annual plans in support of our long-term strategy.


I sincerely look forward to meeting as many of you my members as I can and working with all of our teams on my 3 strategic pillars to make our Institute an exciting and inclusive Chartered Membership organisation fit for our time.





Chief Teete OWUSU-NORTEY FCILT, President


It has been a very busy and prosperous time for The Institute as we recently welcomed not one, but two new branches to our growing global network. Following the launch of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Cameroon, we are pleased to announce the establishment of CILT Côte d’Ivoire.




Supply Chain Forum


Launched on 23rd November, the event was attended by special guest of honour, Chief Teete OWUSU-NORTEY, FCILT and also supported the launch of Next Generation Côte d’Ivoire. The launch was the first activity at the Supply Chain Forum, hosted by CILT Côte d’Ivoire, which was held across three days and welcomed the participation of more than 20 partners from the private and public sectors (UNCTAD, UNGC and ECOWAS).


Forum Activities


Under the theme “Developing Synergy in Supply Chains: A Lever for Economic Development”, the forum provided a space for learning and knowledge sharing from a prominent group of panellists and hosted exhibitions from more than 20 event partners. There were also opportunities to engage in activities and competitions with our Women in Logistics and Transport forum (Miss Logistics – Best young girls in logistics and transport) and our Next Generation forum (Pitch competition).



Contact CILT Côte d’Ivoire


CILT Côte d’Ivoire joins our global network of logistics and transport branches and territories, connecting over 38,000 members in 39 countries. We are proud to be a leading authority within the logistics and transportation sector and we are confident that the establishment of CILT Côte d’Ivoire will bring many opportunities and benefits to the country, whilst helping to shape the future of the transport, logistics and supply chain sector.


Congratulations to the CILT Côte d’Ivoire branch team and Carine Toure Yemitia, National President, for a successful establishment. To contact CILT Côte d’Ivoire, please see their website here.

CILT International Welcomes New International President Elect

Following the news of Chief Teete’s appointment as International President, we are delighted to announce Jan Steenberg FCILT, as President Elect of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT).
A verteran of CILT, Jan joined the Institute in 1995, encouraged by the desire to connect with likeminded people, improve his skillset and be part of a global professional community.
With a proven track record of excellence within the supply chain industry, Jan previously held the position of Honorary Secretary, supporting our Trustees and helping develop strategies, policies and guidelines to add value to our members and keep the Institute in the forefront of progression.
Please join us in congratulating Jan on his new appointment.




2024 Convention in China – save the date!

We’re delighted to announce that 2024 CILT International Convention will be hosted by our Chinese colleagues 15-19 June in Langfang, near Beijing, China.


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The team are busily planning and preparing and further information will be released very soon – watch this space!

CILT China: BCIM International Logistics Channel Co-operation Forum October 2023

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) China co-organised a forum in Tengchong (滕沖) in the Yunnan province between 21 and 22 October 2023. Tengchong city bordering Bangladesh, India and Myanmar is an important town with massive investment on road and rail construction connecting south-west China to East and Southeast Asia forming China’s Southern Silk Road. It is also the ancient Tea Horse Road with the Silk Road going to the West and Buddha coming from the East.




The 2023 BCIM International Logistics Channel Co-operation Forum (2023孟中印緬地區國際物流通道合作論壇) is supported by Tengchong City and graced by the Ambassador of Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar of China and Consulate General of The People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Kunming.





CILT Speakers at the Forum

Speakers at the Forum included local experts and CILT presidents, Wang Ensen from China, Mohiuddin Abdul Kadir from Bangladesh, Shri N Sivasailam from India and Karmjit Singh from Singapore. Our Women in Logistics and Transport Forum (WiLAT) in Hong Kong also took part in the conference and was represented by Carmen Li, Singapore – Kelly Lee, Myanmar – Honey, Hla Hla Yee, and China – Li Tong.  Dorothy Chan, FCILT, Vicky Koo FCILT, Dr. Aye Aye and Daw Hla Hla Yee, who all spoke at the conference. WiLAT Global Chairperson Vicky Koo introduced the concepts of “Digitisation through Smart Modalised Container” and work process improvements through the application of technology.


The Hump

Dorothy’s introduction drew attention when she made reference to ‘The Hump” which was the name given in 1942 by allied pilots in the Second World War as they flew aircraft from India to Kunming on war supplies. The Hump route is an extremely challenging flight route through the Himalayas and was made difficult by the lack of reliable charts and the maze-like Himalayas passes.





Forum Learnings

WiLAT China Chairperson Li Tong moderated the morning session of the BCIM 2023 conference. Her facilitation effectively enhanced the learning experience of participants at the conference.

We learned from the Forum that the momentum of economic co-operation is strong with numerous projects underway. While economic development is the main focus, support is also given for poverty, health, food aid and disaster relief.  The Forum recognised the need to further promote infrastructure connectivity, to reach agreement on customs clearance measures and to co-ordinate and connect different transport modes.


2024 Forum

Tengchong is a beautiful city and our WiLAT forum were greeted warmly by the local corporation and institutes. CILT China have also been welcomed to co-host another conference in 2024, by the local authority.


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