A Rose among “Porters on the waves”

Cao Thi Quynh Giao CEO at Vietnam Shipping Gazette
Cao Thi Quynh Giao – CEO at Vietnam Shipping Gazette

Looking at a stylish Cao Thi Quynh Giao with long hair, earrings, fashionable outfits… it is hard to imagine that her occupation is closely linked with forklifts, vessels that transport bulky containers - logistics! Undertaking various roles from field work to today’s position as head of an industry magazine, Quynh Giao is among few women with thorough understanding of logistics industry in Vietnam.

Journey to becoming a connoisseur of logistics!

Upon graduation from the Vietnam Maritime University, with a major in sea transport economics in 2000, Cao Thi Quynh Giao started her career at the Consulate of Panama in HCMC. Panama is a maritime-dependent country and a large provider of maritime services such as toll collection, selling flags and licensing vessels and ships all over the world. Two years later, she moved to work at the Vietnam Sea Transport and Chartering Joint Stock Company (VITRANSCHART JSC) – a state-owned maritime trading and shipping service company. At that time the logistics industry was not developed as it is today, and specialization in sea transport gave Giao little knowledge of logistics and supply chains.

After five years with VITRANSCHART, Giao received an offer for the position CEO at the Shipping Gazette, a specialized magazine for forwarding, air cargo, container and oil transportation companies. From that time, she started to learn about logistics by taking training programs in Fiata, Iata to improve her knowledge of logistics and supply chains and to make sure the magazine she was leading was going on the right track. 

Today, the 20-year old Vietnam Shipping Gazette has become a leading magazine in logistics shipping in Vietnam and is well-known in the region. The magazine also has a logistics TV channel in Vietnam.

Cao Thi Quynh Giao at an Aus4Skills training course in logistics
Cao Thi Quynh Giao at an Aus4Skills training course in logistics

Overcome gender biases 

Quynh Giao often jokingly refers to logistics as a “job of porters”! The name itself already suggests hard work, especially for women. Pressure is felt even before a woman starts the job, given that logistics is socially defined as a job for men, not women. The gender imbalance is obvious right at school. 

Devoting herself to logistics, Giao realized that the key to success of a business is people. With this in mind, she led the Vietnam Shipping Gazette to expand its recruitment services in sea forwarding over the past eight years. In 2017 Quynh Giao became one of the first members of Aus4Skills program to support Vietnam’s logistics industry.

During her visit to Australia, Giao found out that many Australian women engaged in jobs such as container/truck drivers, warehouse operators, or forwarding staff at ports. Upon return to Vietnam, Giao became more inspired connect vocational schools logistics enterprises. By providing students with internship opportunities, raising women’s awareness of employment opportunities in logistics, the current challenge of filling the shortage of 180,000 logistics employees could be solved. 

According to Giao, the big challenge that is often faced by women working in logistics is the social perception that they are less determined and confident than men. “Beside the role of a business leader, a woman also needs to fulfill her role as wife and mother, which requires very effective and efficient time management to fulfill these roles” – Giao added.

Quynh Giao also shared her personal opinion that a pressure felt by women working in the logistics industry is establishing and maintaining relationships with clients. Being a woman, she finds it difficult to negotiate or make deals at dinner with clients, most of whom are men. She has chosen to use women’s typical ‘weapons’ such as softness, patience and flexibility to convince her clients and lead the company to what it is today.

Cao Thi Quynh Giao at a talkshow
Cao Thi Quynh Giao at a talkshow

The most refractory volunteer!

One of the jobs that Giao and her colleagues have persistently been doing over the past 10 years is coming to manufacturers at the VSIP processing zone to provide guidance to their staff on how to read and understand shipping schedules and the technical terms, so as to help them shift their trading method from FOB to CIF. Despite many times being rejected by enterprises that feared to take risks, Giao did not give up and kept explaining and persuading. Her persistence finally paid off: she was welcomed by many enterprises as a special “volunteer”. 

Recalling the 13 years of leading Vietnam Shipping Gazette, Giao feels happy with what she has done in creating strong linkages between forwarding businesses and export companies. Logistics is part of the supply chain and it has the role of ensuring goods are transferred from manufacturers to end-users. Logistics has created a service network to support domestic and overseas forwarding of cargo and goods, contributing to the development of other economic sectors of Vietnam.


Cao Thi Quynh Giao – CEO at Vietnam Shipping Gazette.

+ Graduated Maritime University in Vietnam and Australia

+ Master in communications management

+ Master in transport management and organisation

+ Entrepreneur and instructor

+ Business and marketing advisor to logistics corporations

+ 15 years of experience in training and strategy development



Additional information