Lee Kok Leong, our special correspondent, meets Casey for the first time and finds out that she is a new shipping container starting her first day on the job at a port! Indeed, this is an important job as 85 percent of goods used within the world are transported in shipping containers arriving on container ships.
Kristina Bowden, in a new rhyming children’s book, chronicles the story of Casey as she meets new friends, experiences the workings of the waterfront, and learns the important role containers play in our world. The story, as told from Casey’s perspective, provides operational insight about the movement of containerized cargo. In sharing Casey’s journey, readers of all ages learn how containerized cargo makes its way from a ship to a port, and into local stores for purchase.
As Casey learns the operational ways of the waterfront, she experiences the importance of teamwork, helping others when they are lost, and discovers how much she loves being part of part of this “family that moves cargo every day.
”Now, as a hard-nose journalist, I asked myself, what has Casey to do with the adult world of the maritime industry? Plenty, as it turns out. For those of us with children curious about what we do, this book is a good introduction. For us professionals, this book can surprisingly shows us a thing or two about personal values that we can impart to our children. Casey the Container and her first day in port is a learning experience for the whole family.
Also, hopefully, through this book, we are reminded of why we love our jobs! Supporting this book is also a good way for us to show our support for STEM initiatives.
In your opinion, what makes a port such an interesting place?
Kristina Bowden (KB): The sheer physical size and moving components within it.When everything is operating according to plan, it reminds me of a symphony. The different sections working together, contributing in their specific way to achieve a goal.In this case, that goal is safely moving cargo.
From my son’s perspective, he loves to see the equipment. There’s something about ships, cranes, UTR’s, RTG’s and containers that get a four-year-old to say “Mom, this is so awesome!”
(Editor’s note: UTR: Utility Tractor Rig, RTG:Rubber-Tired Gantry)
Reading about Casey’s adventures, what personal values do you hope to instill in readers?
KB: When I’m not writing Casey’s adventures, I work in safety and health for marine terminals and stevedores. To me, embracing safety as a value within an operating environment is paramount. At the beginning of Casey’s journey, a few fellow containers named Frank and Molly share, “we embrace safety as a value and help others learn the way.” There’s not one piece of cargo worth injuring someone over. This message translates to all readers, young and experienced. Boxes and cargo can be replaced, people cannot.
Later in Casey’s journey, she finds a container who’s lost and needs help finding her way. The concept of teamwork and family is a continuous theme in her journey. Casey learns and shares with her new friend “The truth is rather simple and very plain to say: We’re a family and we move cargo every day. A little lost for bit unclear, we’ll make sure you’re okay because we always help each other in a teamwork kind of way.”
In all aspects of our life, teamwork and valuing family should be unwavering.
What is your advice for children thinking about a career in a port?
KB: It first starts with awareness. They can’t be a part of it until they know it exists. There are lots of opportunities in different facets that come together in ports. I strongly believe in trade and vocational training programs. There are good careers available that don’t necessarily mean attending college or university. For those who do want to follow a university track, Maritime Academies provide excellent avenues to pursue both licensed and non-licensed degrees.
What are the most important qualities to have for working in a port?
KB: Primarily, the ability to work well with others. Within an operating environment, the range of personalities and experience runs from “firstday on the job” to “seasoned professional.”
Having the ability to learn, listen, and contribute can make or break a career. Disagreements are inevitable, particularly with the various personalities in a marine terminal, but the ability to understand where the other person is coming from, understanding their perspective based on their experiences is critical for resolution.
What does success mean to you?
KB: Success to me means the ability to spend time with my family, create opportunities for us to explore the world, and flexibility within my schedule to make that all happen. However, this success only occurs because my husband and I work towards this goal together for our family. Teamwork makes the dream work and that’s true of our family.
The book is available for purchase on Amazon in both hardcover and softcoveroptions. For book stores and distributors, ordering is available through Ingram.