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Port of Dover Chief Operations Officer recognised as ‘Extraordinary Individual’ at Industry Awards

At the British Ports Association’s annual awards ceremony last night, the Port of Dover’s Chief Operations Officer, Emma Ward, took home the ‘Extraordinary Individual Award’; presented in recognition of someone who represents the talent of the sector, shows selflessness in challenging times and embodies the best of the UK ports industry.

Responsible for managing the Port of Dover’s operation, which occurs on an unrivalled scale, Emma has acted as a changemaker at Dover, driving improvements within the system that have delivered growth and enhanced resilience. Starting at the Port in 1996 as a seasonal traffic assistant, Emma joined the terminal control team shortly after and was appointed duty landside manager in 2002. Emma has since worked her way up through operational roles at the Port, becoming head of operations in 2008, and chief operations officer in 2021.

Emma now oversees the entire operation at the Port of Dover – an operation that facilitates more lorries than all other UK ports put together, up to 110 miles of freight traffic per day, £144bn worth of goods and 11 million passengers each year. In addition to a thriving cruise and cargo businesses.  Colleagues throughout the Port agree that Emma leads her team with passion and humility – guiding the Port through what has been an undeniably challenging period over recent years.

Aside from the dedication Emma shows in her day-to-day role, an illustration of her selflessness in challenging times occurred in the run-up to the Port’s first busy summer seasonpost-Brexit and post-Covid. Emma diligently worked on preparations for the peak getaway period, leading her team on operational measures that ultimately secured a successful summer for the Port; facilitating the journeys of 1.7 million passengers, the vast majority of which did not experience enhanced delays. The isolated disruption faced by travellers over the first weekend of the summer holidays in July 2022 was cleared swiftly because of the work of Emma and her team, and their partnerships with local organisations, ensuring backlogs were cleared in 36 hours, with a return to normality within 48 hours.

Doug Bannister, Port of Dover Chief Executive, said:

“For us, Emma stands as the true representation of the very best the industry has to offer, so we at the Port are delighted to see Emma formally recognised and celebrated by this award. Emma is hugely respected around the Port and across the wider industry.  Her solutions-focused approach has led the Port through an unprecedented scale of change and has helped the Port community overcome a series of challenges over the past few years. Congratulations Emma!”

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