Women in Maritime: Melissa Shell
This week in Host’s “Women in Maritime” series, we’re featuring Customer Support Manager Melissa Shell, who works at Tradepoint Atlantic in Baltimore, MD.
Melissa’s favorite part about working for Host is that the company has helped her recognize her own potential. “I’ve been given the opportunity to take on roles and responsibilities I never knew existed,” she says.
Fresh out of college, Melissa joined Host in 2004 as a receptionist in the company’s Baltimore agency office. She steadily took on new responsibilities and mastered each one, moving to the accounting department, and then to operations where she assisted with vessel operations and handled freight forwarding, customs paperwork, and import/export documentation.
When there was an opening in the Baltimore office for a manager in 2015, Chairman & CEO Adam Anderson called Melissa and asked her to take the job. “I was shocked,” she admits. “I was an admin at the time, but Adam assured me I was ready to lead. He was right. No one knew the Baltimore office’s full scope of operations better than I did. He recognized that potential in me before I ever considered it.”
A year later, Host was awarded the 10-year license agreement to operate marine cargo operations at Tradepoint Atlantic, a 3,100-acre multimodal global logistics center in Baltimore Harbor. The company asked Melissa to help set up the team there. “I had never worked at a terminal in my life, but once again, Host saw my skill sets and guided me to an exciting new place in my career,” she explains. Melissa provided administrative support, customer support, labor scheduling, contract administration, and billing as the company took over operations at the site.
Today, Melissa is the Customer Support Manager, overseeing all cargoes that come in and out of Tradepoint Atlantic. “I know everything that crosses the scale or pier, whether by truck, rail, or ship,” she explains. She also oversees logistics and inventory management, berth scheduling, labor scheduling, operational planning, and billing. “Multitasking and time management are important skills for my job,” she laughs.
Her favorite thing about the maritime industry is the people. “Everyone brings something different to the table. I’m always learning. Our people are passionate about their work, and we’re all so willing to teach one another and share our knowledge.”
“Working at Tradepoint Atlantic is exciting,” she says. “It’s fascinating to see all the different cargo we’re handling here, and I love that I have played a role in getting it started. I help tee bars come in, knowing they may be used to make the car my friend buys. I help coal get shipped, knowing it will be used in power plants overseas. I’m a small, but vital piece of these puzzles. That’s really special to me.”
Her advice to women considering a career in the maritime industry: “Go for it. It’s very fulfilling to know you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day, and that’s what this industry gives you.”