Jessica Rankin - Mainfreight
I came into Transport and Logistics because of my interest in International Business. I was always fascinated at the bigger picture on how different countries interact with each other. From this, I basically fell into the supply chain part of International Business. I started with Mainfreight International as an Export Operator shortly after finishing school, basically organising the consolidating of containers for export. I immediately developed a love for the industry. I then put myself through the Customs Brokers Course at night after work, twice a week for two and a half years. Once completed, I had to sit a National exam, of which I passed first time around.
Probably the favourite part of my job day to day is dealing with international companies (and their people) both overseas and in Australia. I know it is a cliché, but in this industry, you really do learn something new every day. Many people don't take notice of the supply chain but it is a massive part of the Australian economy and everything that happens within and between all countries. I am constantly dealing with things you may never have had to deal with before; dealing with many different countries, ranging from the USA, China to Iran and South Africa. Each country has different requirements for imports and exports, in regards to customs and quarantine. It can be exhausting to keep up with, but more so exciting and fascinating. Something is always changing if not here in Australia, then somewhere overseas.
" There are a lot of road blocks that will be put up and if you sit back that is where you will stay "
While many do consider Transport and Logistics as a male dominated industry, I may have been lucky in that I never found it too daunting. Like anything, if you let it get to you, you will never be successful, there can be road blocks put up, and if you sit back and let it be, then that's where you will stay.
Certainly in years gone by, the older generation may have had a bit of a boys club going on, but in my time in the industry people are a lot more open, if not encouraging to the contribution and success of women in the industry, especially in the International sector. Women are great operators and their attention to detail is very much valued. In fact, there are more female operators in the Mainfreight International section, than Male. It once was also not common for women to be Customs Brokers, but now it is becoming more of an even split.
The highlights of my career certainly have been achieving my customs brokers license and the avenues it opened up for me to progress in my career which continue to this day. I then applied for and was successful in becoming Operations Manager for Mainfreight SA. I wanted this role to further develop my skills in international trade and to also have a more holistic view on all the specifics required. More recently, it was a great honour in 2013 to be elected the President of the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia for South Australia. Through the presidency I have been able to meet some fantastic people from around the world as well as learning about being on a board, dealing with governments and the industry itself.