According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women represent almost 47% of all the workforce in the United States. This ratio, unfortunately, doesn’t translate to many individual industries. In trucking, for example, women remain significantly underrepresented. Reports from the American Trucking Association published a couple of years ago found that women composed merely 11.4% of the trucking workforce.
That being said, some women have still managed to make an enormous impact in the industry. And today on International Women’s Day, we’d like to celebrate one of them. We wouldn’t have refrigerated containers as we know them today without the revolutionary research of Barbara Pratt.
Right after finishing her degree in physics in the 1970s, Pratt was employed by SeaLand to investigate how and why perishable cargo spoiled even in refrigerated containers. To do this, Pratt actually traveled the world on a cargo ship living inside a reefer! In a specially designed container that served as both a lab and her home, Pratt investigated how temperature shifts in the outside world affected the temperature inside the container and, thus, the shelf life of perishable cargo such as fruits and vegetables.
Thanks to Pratt’s findings, refrigerated containers were re-engineered to better withstand and adapt to different temperatures as they travel around the world. So if you’ve ever wondered how is it possible to find apples from New Zealand in a grocery store in Florida, well, it’s because of Barbara Pratt’s innovations.
At QuickLoad we’re all about breaking new ground in the logistics industry, both technologically and culturally. Stories like this one fill us with hope that our industry can move toward a more innovative and inclusive future.
Happy International Women’s Day to all the wonderful women of logistics!