By CAITLIN CROWLEY

FOR the first time in its 108 year history, Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) is welcoming a female shiploader operator to the elite crew responsible for loading and unloading the 120 million tonnes of cargo which passes through the port each year. 

Kara Moore started extensive training for her new role this month after beginning her career at GPC as the very first female dozer driver in 2006.

“I grew up driving an old Massey Ferguson 65 on my family’s cattle property and have been driving tractors, trucks and dozers my whole life but never imagined myself in a shiploader cabin,” Moore said.

“The opportunity to be a shiploader operator doesn’t come along often and in some cases you’re waiting for someone to retire because it’s such a niche industry and specialised skill.”

Kara Moore enjoying the view from what will be her new office. IMAGE: GPC

Moore will celebrate her 15-year work anniversary at GPC this June and said she was ready for a new challenge after a career operating dozers and working in construction.

“There were applications for the role from very talented operators and everyone was really excited for me when I found out I was chosen and I was grateful to have a lot of support from everyone,” she said. 

“It really didn’t sink in that I was going to be a shiploader operator until I started my training – you definitely have to have the stomach for working at heights but I’m really enjoying the challenge and the view.” 

The rigorous training is expected to take four to six months. Once it’s complete, Moore will join GPC’s team of 64 shiploader operators, currently an all-male crew.

Chief Executive Officer Craig Haymes said GPC was proud to see employees like Moore excelling in their profession.

“It’s really inspiring to see Kara taking on a typically male dominated role and we’re hoping it encourages more females to step into the industry and follow in her footsteps,” he said.

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