India’s mascot of the high seas: Meet Vinita Venkatesh of Krishnapatnam Port
Meet the Director of the Krishnapatnam Port, Vinita Venkatesh who gives India a reason to celebrate its women in shipping and infrastructure. She is an economics graduate from the University of Mumbai and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, member of Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers in London. For someone who starts her day at 5 am, her life is dotted with plans on infrastructure, port traffic and terminals. As she would tell you, being a leader in the shipping business isn’t bulky business but that of the mind.
Filled with responsibilities with specific timelines! Her day starts early at 5am where she starts sorting and answering her mails till 8 am. Making sure she is always in touch with customers and listening to their perspective first hand is of utmost importance to her and therefore is thoroughly involved with strategy planning, sales monitoring and port promotion events.
We asked what made Krishnapatnam Port one of India’s largest and fastest growing ports
Vinita tells us, “We have best-in-its-class container terminal infrastructure at our port. This is used to provide the highest efficiency to ships loading and discharging at our port. On the shore side, we engage with exporters and importers and offer customised port facilities such as warehousing, transportation, value addition etc specific to each customer.”
A career in the shipping industry was “Destiny, I guess.” says, Vinita. “I dived into shipping through campus placement at IIMA and am still afloat!!” She has been fortunate with assignments that have been interesting and have kept her motivated.
In an industry like this, there can be gender disparities…
“To my mind, gender disparities at work in the Indian context are no different from gender disparities within families in India. We need to develop strategies within the ecosystem we occupy to find the least conflict route to reach our objectives. For every man who pushes women down, there will be another who is appreciative of the work the lady executive delivers.
We need to develop strategies within the ecosystem we occupy to find the least conflict route to reach our objectives.
In the final analysis, promoters of businesses need results , whether it comes from a man a woman does not matter .
Women need to keep themselves updated of all developments in their area of work and seize every opportunity to deliver visible results”
Many women are lucky to not face any such discrimination and she has been fortunate enough to have grown up in a family and environment where her abilities have been appreciated and promoted.
Vinita tells us about the work hours that can be challenging in this industry and adds, “Ships and ports work 24 /7 and the logistics industry straddles global time zones. When one wakes up , China is already open for business and as one prepares for bed , USA colleagues are still at work. To take a stand to work only during office hours is very simply inefficient in the supply chain.”
Communication with the family members about the nature of the job is important as their needs to be an understanding for things to work peacefully and smoothly.
Being a member of WISTA, Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association she tells us that WISTA is doing a great work in “increasing the profile of women in shipping and focussing on the growth of women in shipping”
An industry like this depends on government policies as they affect business for them crucially. Commenting on the same she says, “At present we are fortunate to have a government which is promoting port-led development and focussing on improving logistics infrastructure in India.”