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The Log Book: IMO celebrates International Day for Women in Maritime

Leonard’s Express unveils patriotic truck

IMO celebrates the first International Day for Women in Maritime. (Photo: IMO)

The Log Book is a weekly rundown of human-interest stories related to the transportation industry. This week: The maritime industry celebrates its first International Day for Women, Leonard’s Express unveils its first of five patriotic trucks, and FedEx helps milk banks ship breast milk to combat the formula shortage.

IMO celebrates 1st International Day for Women in Maritime

According to the International Chamber of Shipping, 1,647,500 seafarers work internationally on merchant ships. Shockingly, only 2% of those seafarers are female.

That statistic, along with women’s ability to strength communities, gender equality’s role in promoting economic growth and women’s potential to lead on issues surrounding health, education and anti-discrimination issue, were listed as reasons for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to create an International Day for Women in Maritime. 

The inaugural event took place Wednesday, followed by an IMO virtual symposium that reviewed the need for more women in decision-making roles and leadership development for women in maritime.

(Video: IMO- YouTube)

“There is still a gender imbalance in maritime — but times are changing. It is recognized that diversity in maritime benefits the entire sector. Women in maritime are working everywhere to support the transition to a decarbonized, digitized and more sustainable future. Let’s take this opportunity to celebrate the many women who are contributing to the future of maritime: maintaining an engine on a ship, running a company, drawing up a contract, surveying a vessel or chairing an IMO committee meeting,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

To address inequality in the maritime workforce, the IMO is working to attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 for gender equality. The IMO’s first step was drafting a resolution in 2019 to recognize and work toward a workforce of 50% women, signed by the full assembly. 


Last year, the IMO also adopted a resolution to make May 18 the International Day for Women in Maritime for global awareness of the issue.

The IMO website now offers information on various fellowships for women and women in maritime associations, as well as more than 30 profiles of women in the industry to help attract and retain more women in global shipping roles.

(Photo: Cherie Whippy-Morris/IMO-Flickr)

Leonard’s Express unveils patriotism-themed truck

Farmington, New York-based trucking company Leonard’s Express unveiled its new patriotism-themed truck at its headquarters on Wednesday to honor our country’s veterans just 12 days before Memorial Day.

The newly wrapped Air Force truck was awarded to company driver and Air Force veteran Keith Buchanan, who plans to use the truck for the next four to five years running freight out of the company’s North Carolina terminal.

(Photo: Leonard’s Express)

“We admire the nearly 100 veteran drivers who work for Leonard’s Express,” said Tim Owens, director of organization development at Leonard’s Express. “They are our ‘boots on the ground.’ Their skill, maturity and character are truly remarkable. This program is one of the many ways we honor our veteran employees.”

The trucking company plans to give a total of five wrapped trucks, one to a veteran driver at each of its terminals in Farmington, New York; New Castle, Delaware; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Caldwell, Idaho; and Taylorsville, North Carolina, which was gifted to Buchanan.

“Being selected to drive this truck honoring my branch of service and driving for Leonard’s Express — which I’m super proud of — is the most incredible honor. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I ride for the brand and I love my country. I still display my Air Force pride, and combining this with my passion for driving is a dream come true,” said Buchanan, who plans to showcase the truck during Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day events. 

In addition to the gift of a wrapped truck, for every mile the five selected drivers travel over the next four to five years, or life of ownership, Leonard’s Express will donate 1 cent to a veteran charity selected by the drivers. The company expects to donate over $25,000 throughout the lifespan of the trucks.

“At Leonard’s Express, our support of the community, employees and customers are central to our culture,” said CEO Ken Johnson. “It defines us as a company and as a great place to work. We support our veteran employees wherever possible and recognize their sacrifices in service to our country.”

FedEx helps ship breast milk during formula shortage

As the country continues to deal with a shortage of baby formula, mothers are turning to milk banks for help. These facilities pasteurize and store breast milk to serve babies who are in life-threatening situations, many often born premature.  

In a Washington Post article, Lindsay Groff, the executive director of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America which represents 28 milk banks, described a 22% increase in demand for breast milk since 2020 and that the group’s banks distributed more than 9.2 million ounces of milk in 2021.  

Groff said that in the past week alone, the banks have seen a 20% increase in demand for breast milk.

“I suspect as the desperation continues that the number could increase,” she told the newspaper.

Reports of the same phenomenon are occurring across the U.S., as milk banks including Nurturing Expressions in West Seattle and the Mid-Atlantic Mother’s Milk Bank in Pennsylvania report an increase in demand for the vital food.

How do these donations work? 

Mothers who have excess supply, often frozen, undergo a strict donor screening. Once they pass the screening process, the milk banks reach out to international shipper FedEx, which provides gel packs and dry ice, keeping the milk safe for up to 96 hours.

Interested in donating excess breast milk? 

You can reach out to the milk banks mentioned in the story below:


Watch now: Operation Fly Formula

Have a transportation-related human-interest story to share?

If so, please contact me at [email protected]

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Grace Sharkey

Grace is an entrepreneur and former supply chain executive who has held positions in sales, operations, and consulting. She is passionate about the future of the industry and how technology can improve the experience for all supply chain members. She believes supply chain is the one industry that affects every human directly, and is looking forward to creating content that mirrors that sentiment. If you have a story to share, please contact me at [email protected]
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