Kim Charlton, Longshoreman at Port Canaveral, has been working on the waterfront since 2001, twenty-one years in the maritime industry. She started working in maritime because of her father who previously worked for Carnival Cruise Line. That was when Carnival first started sailing out of Port Canaveral. Kim says it was inevitable that she would end up on the docks with her father.

“I love being a part of the maritime industry and being a member of a union, but even more, I love learning about the operations and new equipment,” said Kim Charlton. “Being a tiny woman and operating a huge forklift, loading and unloading ships, is empowering.”

Kim currently works with Ceres Terminals at Port Canaveral. She says that Ceres is like one big family and the team members are wonderful to work with. “Because of Ceres, I learn and grow. They keep me safe on the waterfront and I am grateful to the company.”

Ceres Terminals places a focus on safety as their number one value. All Ceres employees and managers are required to enforce the mandatory Life Saving Rules, that help keep everyone safe on the waterfront. These rules serve as safety guidelines that Ceres team members must follow. Over the years, the docks have changed and evolved, and safety has been placed at the forefront of all operations.

Along with new safety standards, more ships have come into the port. Ceres currently operates out of terminals 1, 3, 5, 6 and 10, unloading and loading pallets, luggage, and servicing trucks. Kim plays a big role in the operations because she oversees the longshoreman at the terminal.

Kim deals with passenger luggage, overseeing the ILA, and handling cargo that comes in and out of the terminal. “I believe other women should work on the waterfront because it can give a woman her own individual identity by learning such a unique job, which can turn into a passion. Being a woman on the waterfront has its challenges, especially when you are one of the first on the dock.” When Kim arrived on the waterfront, there were not many women, but as the industry grows, she has seen many more women join the maritime industry.

Kim mentioned that dealing with passenger luggage that has no weight limits is the biggest challenge because some of the bags weigh as much as her. Thankfully, Ceres utilizes the Vaculex Baggage Lifting System, which helps eliminate dangerous repetitive lifting. Ceres is the first and only stevedoring company in the United States using this system. The Vaculex picks up luggage weighing up to 100 pounds, removing the tension from the body.

“The Vaculex is really a savior for our backs, especially for the people who have made a career out here, as I have. To be honest, this job is my passion. I just love everything about it,” Kim said.

Outside of work, Kim is a single mother of two daughters, Genavieve who is 14, and Sydney who is 11. Kim said that she spends every moment with her beautiful daughters when she can. Kim’s hobbies include playing billiards and collecting tools (most of them are pink). “I am a very independent woman and try to do everything myself, including home repair and service on my vehicle.”

If Kim could do anything in the world, she would learn how to operate a crane. In fact, it has been a goal of hers for a very long time. We hope that Kim completes her goal one day and we will be cheering her on at Ceres.

Ceres Terminals

Ceres is an advocate for women working on the waterfront. The company places a big focus on diversity and inclusion. As the company continues to expand, Ceres hopes to add more women and create inclusive programs for all employees. Ceres is a leader among marine terminal operators and stevedores in North America. Operating in many of North America’s major marine ports, the Company provides terminal management as well as services for all types of cargo, including container, bulk, breakbulk, automotive, project, military, cruise, intermodal facilities, RO/RO operations, and M&R services.