A.P. Moller-Maersk, recently inaugurated a new warehouse in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh. The company’s Container Freight Station (CFS) is where the 100,000 square foot warehouse is located. It is the first of its kind, and all jobs and tasks in the facility are managed and carried out by women.
Maersk has hired, trained, and provided jobs for 84 women who needed employment but lacked the proper opportunity by carefully selecting them from the adjacent communities.
“At Maersk, we are constantly strengthening our efforts in the area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). We also realise that in the larger DEI picture, gender diversity is a low-hanging fruit that can be addressed as long as there is a strong will to do so,” says Vikash Agarwal, Managing Director, Maersk South Asia. He added, “While expanding our warehouses across the country, we wanted to create opportunities for women in a traditionally male-dominated sector. As per the 2021 census, Dadri has only 6% working women of its total population, and our team on the ground had a strong desire to contribute towards a change in that respect.”
On September 23, 2022, the doors to the new Dadri warehouse opened, and 84 women were ready to operate the place by managing every task, from security and housekeeping to running forklifts, handling freight, using computers, working on Tally duties, and managing secretarial work. However, finding jobs for all of these women was not a quick feat.
The quest began in January 2022 when the Dadri CFS’s current staff began talking with local contracting organisations to make a case for women to receive training and job offers in the impending new warehouse.
After much debate, the on-the-ground teams realised that persuading the women’s families to allow them to come work in a warehouse was the biggest obstacle. By March 2022, the teams had begun to speak with the families of prospective female applicants in order to inform them of the advantages of having a female employee at the Maersk warehouse. After the families had been persuaded of the women’s safety, sanitary working conditions, and equal opportunity, an organisational structure and a list of workforce requirements were created.
Some women were able to start working in unskilled or semiskilled positions right away, but others had to go through training to operate Material Handling Equipment (MHE) like reach trucks and forklifts. During April and May, the institute and trainers were identified to undertake the training for these women in specialised tasks. After much preparation, these women started receiving their training from July onwards.
“A lot went into finding and skilling the right women to take on the right job at the warehouse we were building. There were many ups and downs, and several times, we felt that this was an ambition we were just not in a position to achieve. But our whole team in Dadri rose to the challenge, left no stone unturned and stayed committed to our goal,” says Sudeep Sivarajan, Maersk Depot Manager, North India. He added, “The 84 women have joined a total workforce of 350 employees at our Dadri CFS, and we are hugely motivated to improve the gender representation at the facility further.”