The Girl with the Transport Tattoo

Logistics researcher Emine is well connected

Date posted

1 December 2016


Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve; Emine Akgun is so dedicated to her work she has had it inked on her arm.

The transport researcher celebrated her lifelong interest in logistics and supply chains by getting a tattoo portraying a truck, bike, container ship, aeroplane and train.

The unusual body art has delighted colleagues at Edinburgh Napier University’s Transport Research Institute, where Emine, 30, is studying for a PhD.

The student, of Cupar, Fife, became intrigued by transport networks as a young girl growing up in the Aegean Sea port of Izmir in Turkey.

She watched the container ships rolling in and found herself contemplating their origins and cargoes.

Emine said: “I became very curious about the comings and goings, and also took an interest in the trucks I could see and the supply chains which kept the shops stocked.

“As the years went by, the system become more international and the ships got bigger and bigger.”

This interest became the launch pad for an academic career based on logistics management and freight transport, which saw Emine do an undergraduate BSc degree in her home city in Turkey and a Masters degree at Jonkoping International Business School in Sweden.

But it wasn’t until she got to Edinburgh Napier that she turned her favourite subject into a permanent feature of her left arm.

She said: "I always wanted to have a tattoo. I was fascinated by the notion of people using their bodies as a blank page to portray things on. 

"Then one day I was talking to a friend and he said: 'If you are into logistics so much, why don't you get a truck?’

“He did not expect me to take the suggestion seriously but I thought ‘why not’. Only I won’t just get a truck.”

Following a chat and some preliminary sketches at Studio XIII in Edinburgh city centre, Emine had the five different forms of transport inked on her arm in a 45-minute session in September.

She said: “I liked the tattoo straight away and it has become a bit of a talking point at the university. I may even get come colour added in the future.

“The first sketch had a small cute boat but that wasn’t what I was looking for so I got it altered to depict a container ship instead.”

Now Emine is determined to ensure that life imitates body art and she makes a success of her PhD on using local transport policies to support urban freight consolidation centres. She is investigating how and which supportive urban freight policies would be used to make consolidation centres more feasible. 
She said: “I enjoy the study process, but I am also looking forward to having that degree in my hands.

"I am doing two main things right now. I am writing my first conference paper, which I will present in Dublin in January, and I am also trying to organise interviews with local authorities in Scotland, England and Sweden to discuss policy making processes and how they manage urban freight operations."