Humber ports appoint first female ship to shore crane operator

Mia Allen has qualified as ABP’s first ship to shore crane operator in the Humber

Humber ports appoint first female ship to shore crane operator
Credit: Dan Clarke

Sitting 110 feet above the Port of Immingham, Mia Allen is the Humber ports first female ship to shore (STS) crane operator.

She recently qualified in the role and already drives the tugs and rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTG) and is also looking to train in toplifts, also known as reachstackers at Immingham Container Terminal (ICT).

The job of the STS operator is to load and unload the cargo ships that are bringing in containers that could be full of household items, electronics, clothes, and other goods from around the world.

Simon Bird, Regional Director said:

“This is great news for ABP on the Humber. All credit to Mia who is very ambitious and wants to progress in her career with us. We’re proud that she has achieved this milestone and look forward to more to come.

“We want to increase the number of women in the ports industry and are committed to promoting diversity and fostering inclusivity. We have initiatives aimed at improving recruitment to demystify what has been traditionally seen as a male operated world and have been the first port operator to introduce women’s PPE. Our message is clear – there are roles at the ports for women.”

Mia Allen, Port Operative, who has worked for ABP for over a year after leaving a job in a fish and chip shop, said:

“I wanted to train on the ship to shore as there’s so much to learn about the crane and ship. The biggest challenge was the swing on the crane and going over the water, but it doesn’t scare me.”

“You must focus and look out for the ship’s crew and the deck tally, and it involves clear communication. It’s a heavy bit of kit and you must be prepared for the ship moving. I’ve thrown myself into this as I want to progress. I enjoy the fact I can do a few hours on the crane and a stint on the tugs.”

She credits her father, Mark, who has worked at the port for 20 years and trained Mia on how to use the crane, though another tester was brought in for the examination. Mia added:

“It was my dad’s dream that one day he’d train me, and I’d be working here alongside him. I always told him no it would be too boring, but it’s not. I love it as I’ve got a great gang around me, and we all get on well. Dad was really delighted when I passed the test. I just want to keep growing and accomplish more things.”

The ship to shore cranes arrived in 2020 as part of a huge financial investment in the expansion of the container terminal to maximise efficiencies and improve customer service. It also included six electric rubber tyred gantry cranes in a £33 million upgrade. The Humber ports are an important gateway for the short sea container routes from Europe.