The woman truckie smashing the transport industry glass ceiling

The chances are you've never met a woman quite like Uni Patel. 

The mother-of-two is something of a rarity in New Zealand - she's a female truck driver.

As a holder of a class 5 driver licence, Patel's office is a 360 horsepower 18-wheeler Mainfreight truck. 

Of the roughly 124,000 class 5 licence holders, only 3 percent are female.

Patel says driving the 46-tonne big rig takes all her concentration, with reversing and lane changing the most challenging aspects.

"I can never be on autopilot," she told The Project.

Auckland Chemcouriers branch manager Clinton Smith says Patel is "very particular about doing the job right".

"She likes to do it as the process should be, she doesn't take shortcuts and she pushes herself and she strives to do it 100 percent every time."

Patel, who arrived in New Zealand in 2001, says she moved into the big rig after driving buses for three years in Auckland.

And now, even after years behind the wheel, Patel says people are still amazed to see a woman in the driver's seat.

"People kind of didn't expect this kind of job to be done by a woman," she says.

"It's a male-dominated industry but women can fit [in] very nicely."

Watch the video.