learned that the recipient of this year’s ‘Young Freight Forwarder
of the Year’ award was a woman named Jenifer Taylor, we lit up with
excitement. As originators of the ‘Women in Air Cargo’ series
(now a common trend amongst air cargo reportage), we are only too eager
to shine a spotlight on those previously dim corners of air cargo where
women sometimes still reside.
Mark us down as surprised, then, when we tried
to find any information on Ms. Taylor. She just received this powerful
recognition from a wonderful, old line, industry-building organization,
but it seems the cargo community was content to simply report that a young
woman won an award—nothing more. Everything we read was a quick
recycle of the BIFA (British International Freight Association) Freight
Service Awards’ press release—as if it’s enough to say
that someone is young, a woman, and received an award. As an organization
with quite a few women in the ranks, we’d like to clarify—it
isn’t enough. If it is important to report on the recipient of an
award—if it is important to report on that recipient for the sake
of their gender—then it is doubly important to highlight what, exactly,
Astonishingly enough, each report we read neglected
to even mention what Jenifer does. We reached out to Jenifer to offer
her the opportunity to illuminate the cargo community about her work,
her award, and what led her into logistics.
Jenifer Taylor has worked at
Santova Logistics for the past four-and-a-half years. She describes Santova
as “a sophisticated end-to-end supply chain management solutions
business. We identify areas within our clients’ company that we
believe we can offer improved efficiencies and a competitive advantage
by refining their supply chain. This is achieved through our IT solutions,
Intellectual capital, and supply chain analysis.”
A typical day for Jenifer involves “coordinating
global shipments of varying commodities from start to finish, and focusing
on the most appropriate route and cost-effective delivery of each.”
She works with her customers to coordinated all top-to-bottom arrangements
for their shipments, “providing the costs of transporting goods
and the arrangements that need to be made, informing them of shipping
options, transit times, or regulations affecting shipments… communicating
and negotiating rates daily with carriers, such as transport companies
“I arrange collections and deliveries,
book space with carriers, raise all the necessary shipping documents and
arrange consular documentation as required; I also prepare and transmit
“I raise and send invoices out to our customers
as well as check [that] invoices from our suppliers have been received
correctly and pass these for payment.”
While her responsibilities remain, for the most
part, in the UK, Jenifer says, “All markets are different because
of client’s expectations; overseas territories have different requirements
and legalities that differ from the UK.
“My responsibilities may begin in the UK,
but are always far reaching, from controlling overseas collections or
deliveries [to] ensuring cross border compliance to final point completion
of a movement.”
Like many people in the cargo community, Jenifer’s
journey into logistics was seeded by a basic desire to explore the world.
While she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study in school, she knew
she “wanted to meet new people and gain some new experiences, as
well as earn money to travel.”
According to Jenifer, “One is not able to study logistics in school
in the UK.
“When it came time for me to leave school
I had two choices: I could either go onto further education or find myself
a job. I enjoyed the social aspect of school and had a passion for Maths
and English, however at 16 I wanted to get out into the world and start
“I visited a local careers center and was
encouraged to apply for a freight training scheme working for a cargo
handling agent at Heathrow airport, and I have been working in logistics
ever since,” said Jenifer.
A few years ago, a report was released that claimed
women were better multi-taskers than men (an idea most glaringly illustrated
when watching a woman wrangle all the elements of her career and family
life), so it comes as no surprise that Jenifer finds freight forwarding’s
multiplicity of roles and demands so satisfying.
“The range of roles within freight forwarding
to make a complete supply chain is vast, which makes it intriguing. I
am constantly learning something new.
“The industry is ever changing, every day
brings another exciting challenge, and you never know what the day ahead
has in store.
“The range of commodities being shipped
around the world is immense, and working for a truly global forwarder
presents opportunities to learn about different industries, businesses,
and cultures, which helps keep things interesting.
“The diverse and passionate people I’ve
met within logistics have inspired me to excel; with hard work, focus,
and versatility there can be a career for you regardless of your level
of education,” said Jenifer.
To receive the award from BIFA, Jenifer wrote
about how BIFA can “more effectively engage with younger employees
of its member companies,” but it was certainly her work with Santova
in South Africa that helped ossify her as the obvious recipient of the
South Africa is Santova’s biggest market,
having been founded there. Jenifer works as the “key contact for
a significant international client . . . successful in implementing new
major high street fashion brands into South Africa.” Working with
two high street fashion brands—Topshop and River Island—Santova’s
“innovative supply chain model . . . has now become their global
standard.” The result of Santova’s success in South Africa
has lead to a new contract for another high street brand, “with
more stores in the pipeline.” Jenifer has become instrumental in
changing the face of South Africa, paving a smooth road over which international
companies may travel into the continent.
With so many responsibilities to juggle, it’s only healthy to indulge
in a little escapism—and Jenifer’s are particularly healthy.
She runs “to stay relaxed and keep [her] mind focused,” and
enjoys “using [her] imagination… regularly [watching] films
and [reading] fiction novels.” In terms of going somewhere for work,
she would like to visit the USA, where “starting a career is more
difficult due to higher educational requirements,” but for enjoyment,
being a lover of nature, she’d “like to go on a safari in
South Africa or visit the Galapagos Islands.”
Interestingly, there is only one other woman
in her office, “but most of [her] colleagues within [the] network
. . . are women.” This story is one we hear often, and we wondered
what advice the Young Freight Forwarder of the Year would offer other
young people—and young women especially—interested in logistics.
“Training on the job can certainly take
you places, there is a lot to learn, the industry is male dominated and
can be a daunting place.
“Stay strong, determined, and work hard
and you will be rewarded with an exciting, vibrant career,” Jenifer