The teachers’ legacy

In today’s modern world the true protagonists and heroes are the teachers, and their role in our port-logistics communities in particular is invaluable. I will begin this reflection by recalling a 1999 film that impressed me, entitled “Butterfly’s Tongue” by the magnificent Spanish film director José Luis Cuerda (Albacete 1947 – Madrid 2020), who died on 4 February.

The film gives the account of the life of a teacher from a small village in Galicia (in the North of Spain) who was concerned that his students should acquire knowledge and values. A sympathizer of the Second Spanish Republic, a renovator and a laic, he then finds himself facing the military uprising of July 18, 1936 that alters the life of the village, and marks the beginning of the Civil War.  Cuerda ensured that through the cinematography and the script, the conflicts that were experienced in this small community were clearly represented. In the end the school where the protagonist works becomes a reflection of these tensions and transforms into a place to defence for everyone’s ideas and principles, for better or worse.

The teacher is a central element of the village and of the community, because he or she has contact with the students and the huge responsibility to transmit his or her knowledge and ideas to them. Simultaneously he is conditioned by the parents, who watch and to an extent control what the teacher transmits to ensure that it is in accordance with the generally accepted principles. The teacher and the community jointly embody the basic ingredient of the structuring of collective intelligence and behaviour.

A teacher is a person who helps students acquire knowledge and virtue.

Knowledge

What is knowledge? A generally accepted definition demarcates it as familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which [can be] acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning. It can refer to a theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It can be implicit (as with practical skill or expertise) or explicit (as with the theoretical understanding of a subject)[1].

Virtue

What about virtue in that case? Virtue (derived from latin: virtus, Ancient Greek: “arete”) is moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and a reflection of good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics that promote collective and individual greatness, and specify doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong.

Working on the development of knowledge and virtue through the Forma’t al Port programme (get trained in the port), a question arose that I had not asked myself before: who are the teachers in our community? This then spiraled into subsequent thoughts: do we know them and do they know us? Do we prepare with them the topics that are taught to the students in the academic environment? Do they share our values and our priorities?

The discovery and, certainly to me, surprise, was that so far in the community of the Port of Barcelona – not so much. Close and collaborative relationships between companies and training centres are few and hard to find. The Forma’t al Port programme has definitely been a turning point by favouring quite a few contacts with dual training opportunities through the workshops themselves and through the contact with participating sector associations, which created positive prospects for the students.

In April, an activity called Getting Talent will take place. This event will allow the teachers of the training centres that collaborate with us on a regular basis to come and visit with the companies of the communities for one or two weeks. The idea is to establish a relationship between teachers and professionals that favours such close relationship and the exchange of knowledge, experiences, concerns and expectations, among others. Ultimately it is to advance towards a new reality in which the preparation of people is built by all – what the experts call collaborative training that allows the development of a collective intelligence. Dual training and such teacher’s stage are very likely essential to that type of collaboration.

Collective intelligence emerges from the interaction of similar individuals in daily activities and in problem solving – a regular occurrence in a port community.  It develops the capacity to participate in intellectual cooperation with the goal to create, innovate and invent, and as such should soon be a key determinant of efficiency. It should ultimately be accepted as a challenge that can be understood and effectively addressed by an organisation or sector.[2]

Learning by doing is an excellent strategy for the fostering of collective intelligence. Dual training and the training of teachers and company managers is an excellent way to move forward.  It is a new challenge on which we can all work together.

Get involved and collaborate!

Eduard Rodés

Director

Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

[1] Wikipedia

[2] Based on the study “Collective Intelligence Education, Enhancing the Collaborative Learning” by Jaime Meza et al. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325650291

IoT impact on Port Operations

The IoT (Internet of Things,) known as the ability to connect devices and objects through a digital network, is a term that has ceased to be new and has slowly become part of our daily routine. Nowadays devices connected to the IoT permeate our homes, with people relying on devices such as Roomba, smart refrigerators or Alexa. IoT’s capabilities are much more powerful and each of the sectors of our economies have taken advantage of the benefits of this technology operations and management.

When looking at the maritime industry, and ports in particular, we can see that the advantages of incorporating IoT into their operations for the interaction of M2M (machine to machine) in telematic devices and sensors has resulted in a positive impact. Shipping has recognised that the best strategy for the future is no longer to prioritise massive physical growth but rather to optimise flows and logistics processes. Given this need, the IoT provides the ability to manipulate, control and monitor actions – an important step (albeit not the only one) within the grander scheme of things.

Initially we saw the IoT utilised to optimise the mobilisation of containers in terminals, monitoring of the control of working hours and accesses, towards the activation of equipment, control of cranes or prediction of maintenance. All this could be summarised not only in information reports but also in future opportunities. Knowing the data is always beneficial but knowing what to do with it is much better and this is the real gain from the process. To correctly identify where the processes can be optimised is the most difficult job of the sensor data collection. To date no universal algorithm or formula exists, and each terminal, each product and each country has a different dynamic that must be evaluated and readapted to involve the complex analysis of experts who actually manage to identify the weak sections of the processes.

On the other hand, the IoT is common practice of digital ports even if this does not mean that everything is done digitally. Monitoring, control and data collection have become daily routines, but the prediction of many activities is the new leading characteristic that the IoT is taking. It entails predicting supply chain breaks, equipment failures and many other aspects that are associated with artificial intelligence.

The cons?

What are the downsides? The main concern is that such implementations may expose the ports and organisations relying on digital data collection to unauthorised external interventions or cyberattacks. Nevertheless, large companies have understood that it is part of the risks to be mitigated, and that without these strategies sooner rather than later companies that do not adopt them will lose competitiveness.

The future?

Information is becoming more and more valuable. At the same time, it is becoming more public and freely accessible. The IoT interconnects equipment to obtain information; this information then collaborates between companies to obtain benefits. The scope of the IoT has managed to expand to all those who indirectly interact with logistics or port activities. We have left behind the information gap that in the past was termed the “Maritime Adventure”, and today exporters need to have constant control of situations to optimise the supply chain.

From a direct link to the truck driver through an app interconnected with the port community system, to the most detailed environmental control system, the IoT has infinite contributions in the port activity. It can be customised to the needs of each actor and promises to have event higher levels of performance with the emergence of 5G (in the not-to-near future).

 “According to IDC (International Data Corporation), there are already nearly 200 billion computerised devices, with 20 billion of them wired and communicating via the Internet, and more than 50 billion sensors that track” around the world. The maritime sector, as the majority holder of international transport, has the responsibility to act efficiently and safely to reduce costs in a globalised market. This requires the optimisation of each of the shipping processes, and that in any case the IoT is a tool that allows to promote these objectives.

With the world constantly becoming “smaller”, and speed and accuracy becoming more important to customers and operators, there is hardly any doubt that the Internet of Things is the language of the future – and it is up to us to knows this language and to learn to decipher the information collected by it to improve the door-to-door supply chain, and the operations in the ports in particular.

For more information, check out these articles:

 

Written by:

  • Vanessa Bexiga, Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

Information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and the Escola’s courses

With the current uncertainty surrounding the global Covid-19 pandemic, transport authorities and both private and public entities have taken several measures to offset the health and economic consequences of the virus. With this in mind, the Escola’s courses and operations have been halted until the 30th of March (with the possibility of extending this date should the authorities deem it necessary). This has resulted in a number of our regularly scheduled courses to be postponed.

Though we know this may adversely affect some of you who have registered to or planned to attend one of the courses, please know that the decisions were made with the regard for everyone’s safety and in accordance with the official regulations set out by the Spanish government to contain the spread of COVID-19. Please contact us if you would like to know more about the new course dates, or stay tuned via our social media channels which are updated daily. The information on our website is always the most up to date, but our staff is still working and will reply to any enquiries arriving by email.

In the meantime, we wish for all of you to stay safe and healthy.

Temperature controlled logistics: Spotlight on pharmaceuticals

Professionals operating in the field of temperature controlled logistics need to take into account the condition of the products across all stages of the supply chain – beginning with storage and product preservation, through the transport of the cargo that is sensitive to changes in temperatures or varying atmospheric conditions, up until delivery to the customer. This broad spectrum of products includes pharmaceuticals, which need to be handled under particularly strict conditions as any changes may affect chemical stability or alter their properties, and cause serious health-related consequences to the end-consumers as a result. To ensure that these changes do not occur, pharmaceutical companies have to be able to prove that their products are transported through a stringently temperature controlled supply chain. It is vital that all parties involved, from the producer, conveyor to end customer are assured and can prove the integrity of the cargo.

The responsibilities in the temperature controlled supply chain vary among each of the parties. While the carrier needs to be responsible for preserving the transport conditions indicated for each type of medicine, the producer needs to ensure that the carrier is aware of the acceptable margins of error for temperature changes, what are the risks that may be acceptable, and what actions should be avoided to preserve the integrity of the product, etc.

Companies operating in the pharmaceutical cold chain should be kept up to date with the latest market regulations and standard rules. Due to the complexity of transporting these types of cargo, this task can be challenging. In the EU, the Directive 2001/83/EC is the foremost legal document guiding the production, distribution and use of medicinal products. In addition, other organisations regulate and establish new procedures, including theWorld Health Organization, Parenteral Drug Association, International Air Transport Association, Pharmacopeia, among others.

Though it is important to recognise that different medicines and different transport methods have their own characteristics of preparation and transport, there are general considerations that must be taken into account regardless of the pharmaceuticals being transported. This includes questions such as whether the storage facilities at the destination similar to those of the origin. Refrigerated vehicles or passive cooling systems will have to be considered to ensure the drugs not be compromised en-route. Minimising the amount of time the pharmaceuticals spend at ambient temperatures is critical, especially in warmer climates. The load needs to be securely stowed inside the transport units to ensure uniform air circulation and temperature distribution. Frequently, the use of temperature and humidity measuring devices is recommended.

Air freight temperature controlled logistics

Air cargo transport is the most popular method of transport for cargo with high levels of temperature control. Air transport is advantageous when it comes to speed issues, overcoming geographical obstacles or lack of infrastructure for other means of transport. The main weakness of this type of transport? It is extremely expensive, both in financial costs and in terms of the  environmental footprint.

Sea freight temperature controlled logistics

Around 20% of pharmaceutical payloads are moved via ocean freight. Sea freight temperature controlled logistics is substantially cheaper when compared to air freight shipping. It also offers a more controlled environment in comparison to air transport. There are fewer control points and disruptions, as sea freight cargo will not be touched until it reaches its final destination. With new technologies in the maritime sector, the transport units allow tracking and monitoring in real time (a big plus for the clients!). There are few load movements, which limits the potential breaks in the cold chain and potential exposure of the products to ambient temperatures. The main weakness? It is considerably slower than air transport.

In general, there is an enormous mindset that this type of products due to their characteristics and specificities must be transported by air.

The main question thus is: Air or sea freight transport? Sea freight, done well, is an excellent mode in the right circumstances, though the same is true of airfreight. It is understandable that emergencies will always require medicines to be transported rapidly from point of origin to destination, but with tighter regulations on the temperature control and cold logistics chain in the pharmaceutical industry ensured by the maritime authorities, the gap between air and sea freight is closing in.

Intrigued? Check out our upcoming course on Temperature Controlled Supply Chains.

Written by:

  • Raquel Nunes – Co-Founder of YoungShip Portugal

The Port de Barcelona and the Escola Europea reaffirm their commitment to Forma’t al Port

The Port de Barcelona and the Escola Europea-Intermodal Transport reaffirm the Forma’t al Port programme

During the next three years, the Escola will continue to offer practical course-workshops to promote the use of port services, intermodal transport and the improvement of knowledge in the sector.

The Port de Barcelona and the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport have signed a new collaboration agreement for the Forma’t al Port programme, with the goal of organising and coordinating practical courses adapted to the needs of the students coming from local secondary schools and training centres to promote the use of port services, intermodal transport and the improvement of knowledge of the maritime and intermodal sectors.

The Catalan port authority, with the collaboration of the Escola, will be responsible to prepare the training materials related to the educational lectures which will be given as part of the courses. To help offer the training at a reduced price to the students, the Port of Barcelona will offer a contribution in study grants for the duration of this new three-year period of the project.

As part of the programme, an executive and academic committee will be created to ensure quality education and excellence in the programme management. Both the Port and the Escola Europea-Intermodal Transport will assign a representative to the committees to help coordinate and prepare the courses. The organisation and management of the courses and the committees linked to the programme will be carried out by the Escola.

The Escola Europea is a training centre dedicated to provide quality training and education to students and future professionals of the transport sector, with educational programmes tailored to port activities and intermodal transport – to help better understand the sector.

This collaboration, together with that of other public entities, associations and private companies, will help ensure the continuous training of the Barcelona logistics community in order to face the challenges of the future and strategically place Barcelona and Catalonia in the forefront of logistics activities in Europe and the world.

The Port of Barcelona’s commitment to education

With the signing of this agreement, the Port of Barcelona reaffirms its commitment to being a driving force in the country’s economic activity and a generator of employment. To this end, it works to establish partnerships between companies in the Port Community, training centres and administrations in order to improve training and employment; all key aspects to consolidate as a reference point in innovation and sustainability for the region.