Maersk’s rainbow container made its way around the world to Port Houston’s Barbours Cut Container Terminal. This colorful container has served as a symbol of equity, inclusion and diversity where all employees, partners, and customers feel welcomed and can be themselves without judgment or fear.
The container not only serves as a symbol for Maersk, but also the entire maritime industry. The maritime industry has historically been a predominantly male world, but the industry is seeing more women and minorities entering the maritime workforce. According to the Diversity Study Group in London, employers are embracing the benefits of DEI data to support decision-making and respond to the growing importance of DEI issues.
As an international port in the most diverse city in the U.S., Port Houston has a duty to encourage and stimulate diversity, equity and inclusion in the maritime industry. In May of 2021, Port Houston formalized its commitment by officially adopting a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Position Statement. Additionally, DEI was formally established as a key priority for Port Houston with the adoption of the 2020 Strategic Plan providing direction for the entire organization.
Tom Heidt, Port Houston Chief Operating Officer, states that from his perspective, diversity can develop naturally as you strive for inclusion. He is challenging himself to intentionally bring more and different perspectives to the table, and he reminded everyone that we can all ask if we want to be included in something.
One of Port Houston’s strategic goals is to become “the best place to work.” Creating the right environment is a must to attract the specialized talent required by our multifaceted operations. A workplace culture that supports the success, psychological safety and professional confidence of every individual is the ultimate goal.
Kerrick Henny, Port Houston’s Chief Government & Public Relations Officer, states that as a black man growing up two miles from the port, he recognizes that fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace is not only morally right but also great for our business. A culture of DEI means every employee is supported, accepted, respected and safe at work, which leads to greater morale and results.
Port Houston has a tremendous opportunity to be an agent of positive change in our region and beyond, and we are grabbing that opportunity.