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Smart logistics concept

Back to basics: What is a Smart Port?

This year at the Escola we thought that we would go back to some basic (but modern) concepts connected to intermodal transport. With the series that we are calling #BackToBasics, we will begin explaining some concepts that are central to the transport sector today, but which can be confusing to some. We will kick-start our series with the concept of a “Smart Port.”

Daily Logistik: Asian Development Bank describes a smart port as a port that ensures “no waste of space, time, money and natural resources.”

What is a Smart Port?

 The inclusion of the word “smart” in the name implies the capabilities of the port and the integrated workflow (Marine Insight).  So what is it exactly? A smart port is a modern port that uses advanced technology and digital systems to improve the efficiency, sustainability, and competitiveness of its operations. Smart ports often use digital tools such as sensors, data analytics, augmented reality, big data, digital twins and automation to optimize the movement of cargo, reduce waste and emissions, and provide better services to stakeholders (which include shipping companies, customs authorities, and local communities). Smart ports may also include features such as renewable energy sources, electric charging stations (Onshore Power Supply), and smart infrastructure for logistics and transportation

“The goal of a smart port is to enable a more efficient, sustainable, and profitable port ecosystem that can support economic growth and regional development.”

What are Smart Port’s Digital Tools ?

Smart ports are classified as “smart” because they use a variety of digital tools to optimise their operations. These include:

  1. Sensors: Smart ports often use sensors to monitor various aspects of their operations, such as cargo movement, traffic flow, environmental conditions, and security. These sensors can provide real-time data that can be used to optimize operations and improve decision-making.
  2. Data analytics: Smart ports use data analytics to process and analyse the data collected from sensors and other sources, such as shipping manifests and customs declarations. This data can be used to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for improvement.
  3. Automation: Smart ports may use automation technologies such as robots, drones, and self-driving vehicles to improve the efficiency and accuracy of certain tasks, such as cargo handling and inspection.
  4. Digital platforms: Smart ports may use digital platforms, such as cloud computing, blockchain, digital twins and internet of things (IoT) technologies, to connect various stakeholders and enable more efficient and transparent communication and collaboration.
  5. Clean technologies: Smart ports can incentivize the use of cleaner technologies, such as electric vehicles and renewable energy sources, to reduce the environmental impact of port operations.
  6. Energy efficiency measures: Smart ports can implement energy efficiency measures, such as LED lighting and energy-efficient systems, to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Why? For cleaner, greener ports

The use of digital tools helps smart ports reduce costs, improve service quality, and increase agility and responsiveness to market demands. There is no doubt about it. However, another characteristic of a smart port is its emphasis on sustainable operations and the creation of a greener port.

Below you can find some elements that help characterise a smart port that as “green”:

  1. Promoting recycling and waste reduction: Smart ports can implement recycling programs and encourage the use of reusable containers and packaging materials to reduce waste and improve resource efficiency.
  2. The use of renewable energy: Smart ports can use a variety of renewable energy sources to power their operations, including
    1. Solar power: Smart ports can install solar panels on rooftops, car parks, and other suitable areas to generate electricity from the sun.
    2. Wind power: Smart ports can install wind turbines on land or offshore to generate electricity from wind.
    3. Hydroelectric power: Smart ports located near rivers or oceans can use the flow of water to generate electricity through hydroelectric power plants.
    4. Geothermal power: Smart ports can use geothermal energy, which is generated from the Earth’s internal heat, to generate electricity and heat buildings.
    5. Biomass: Smart ports can use biomass, such as wood chips or agricultural waste, to generate electricity through combustion or anaerobic digestion.
  3. The use of electric vehicles: Many ports have begun to use electric vehicles, cranes and container stackers within their terminals to minimise emissions and ensure cleaner air around the port community area. By providing multiple charging points, smart ports make it easier for the port community companies to operate these clean energy vehicles.

Overall, reducing waste and emissions is an important aspect of sustainable port operations and helps smart ports contribute to global efforts to combat climate change and protect the environment.

Sources:

“Partnership is the new leadership”

Written by Lidia Slawinska

Written by Lidia Slawinska, Digital Communication Manager – Escola Europea Intermodal Transport

Recently, while I took a walk to wind down from a long workday, I came upon an episode of a podcast “The Bid”. Hosted by Mark Wiedman, this particular episode invited the CEO of the Volvo group Martin Lundstedt to talk about the future of transportation. As the conversation went on, a catchphrase voiced by Mr Lundstedt stuck out to me: “Partnership is the new leadership”. It sounded simple to me, and yet it resonated with a powerful message. The conversation focused on fully electric heavy-duty trucks of the Volvo group, but the sentiment can be extended to the larger transport sector when thinking about its future. And there is very little doubt that its future is green.

We need to make sure that we are working together to lower emissions, achieve better designs and ensure seamless transitions. This is what is expected of us to protect our beautiful green planet. This is what was in the mind of Martin Lundstedt in his conversation with Mark Wiedman, and what should be on all of our minds.

Partnering towards lower emissions

One of the main goals today of our industry is to combat greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 is an extremely ambitious goal, and without collaboration perhaps it is impossible. Companies need to set aside their competitive differences and work together to come up with common standards and solutions that target traditional polluters and uplift renewable and clean alternatives.

A great example of collaboration in this field is the Blue Visby solution. The main idea behind this innovation is the eradication of an old principle of “Sail Fast, then Wait.” Through a multilateral platform, companies can use a “queuing system” for ships with a common port of destination. By sailing slower, vessels emit less polluters into the atmosphere and have a fast and efficient turn-around time whilst in-port (as the algorithm sets the optimal arrival time). For companies that collaborate and ascribe to this solution, competitiveness is not at the forefront – rather it is environmental sustainability (as well as efficient supply chain management).

Partnering towards better vessels

Another great field of opportunity for partnerships is vessel design. There is a huge demand for greener next generation vessels that integrate both smart technologies and rely on green and renewable fuels.

The processes to create and troubleshoot such designs are long, complicated and time consuming. Working together with other companies involved in similar initiatives not only brings together more minds to create the most efficient designs possible, but also speeds up the processes. Naval engineers, ship owners, classification societies and other actors need to be able to collaborate effectively and communicate easily.

Using new technologies, 3D models and online simulators, data can be shared across the band of shareholders. By using protected web-based information sharing platforms, agents can rest assured that their intellectual property rights are not infringed upon, whilst nourishing a pool of new ideas. A great example of this is the virtual reality tool used by Knud E. Hausen – Ship Space – which allows up to 64 users to work on a similar design using VR instead of relying on the traditional CAD software.

These solutions don’t need to be limited to vessel design. Different port authorities can work together to compare and integrate different technological solutions in different environments, therewith building on new ideas and sharing the innovative alternatives – making transport journeys consistent and easy for shippers calling at different ports.

Partnering towards seamless transitions

No innovation will be effective if the industry does not accept it. Agents across the board need to embrace innovative solutions and let the traditional processes gradually fade away. The transition towards new technologies and new fuels needs to be seamless and, above all else, secure. Any new modifications to a vessel (new batteries, carbon capture, etc.) can affect its stability profile, and therefore constant monitoring is needed to ensure the success of the change.

Innovative partnerships between vessel operators and onshore agents make this possible through the use of digital platforms. The Cloud can provide vast amounts of storage and up-to-date data to actors at sea and on land, ensuring that variables are regularly updated.

“Given the speed and breadth of the technology transition, this more proactive and collaborative approach is essential to maintain the trust of a key partner: seafarers” (Splash 247).

An example of such a partnership can be found in the Port of Barcelona, where 5G technology and a comprehensive 5G network will soon be tested for the first time in Spain. The platform will make it possible for agents within the port community and operators on land and at sea to communicate with each other and exchange information quickly and securely.

Final thoughts

We are taught as children that we need to share. We are told that teamwork is the path forward. At school we are frequently placed in small groups to work on presentations across all subject areas – underscoring the value that educators put on teamwork in a formative environment

As adults, we need to embrace that mindset as well. The climate emergency that we are facing today is very real – and to face it we need to reinforce whatever partnerships exist and create others, putting aside our competitive factors. We need to share ideas and solutions and work together to put them into action. We need to be partners with our direct and indirect competitors to make sure that our industry moves forward. With new technologies and ever-expanding research base, we have everything at our disposal to lead us through partnerships, and therewith help our companies, industries and even our planet thrive.

 Sources:

·     https://splash247.com/a-digital-framework-to-collaborate-on-decarbonisation/

·     https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-bid/id1441032838?i=1000585054887

·     https://www.knudehansen.com/news/ship-design-review-collaboration-virtual-reality-tools/

·     https://piernext.portdebarcelona.cat/en/technology/this-is-how-the-port-of-barcelona-will-deploy-the-future-5g-network/

The War for Talent

When I was younger, the search for employees was very different. Companies created preferred “job profiles,” which would remain unchanged for large periods of time. People would send in their job profiles and hope that they would be accepted for the advertised posts. Those with a university degree (any degree – as frequently the specialisation didn’t necessarily need to be directly linked to the job) were always held in higher esteem. The burden to fill the positions was carried by the unemployed.

We live in a different world now. Workers’ expectations for their professional careers and who they work for have changed. The pandemic has hastened a trend that was already gaining speed in the late ‘10s – of preferred workplace environments, possibilities for employee development and growth, and a work-life balance. On top of that, the rapidly changing nature of work fuelled by technological innovations and environmental ambitions has made job posts flexible, if not obsolete, flexible. This is true when we look at any industry, but when we look at the transport and logistics sector in particular.

The fight for talent

Attracting, identifying, and retaining talent is becoming one of the strategic issues for organisations in the post-Covid world. This is one of the exciting topics currently surrounding Port Logistics Communities (PLCs). Many of the members of these communities depend on each other, and thus the search for solutions and the effectiveness of any joint actions in this field is achieved through common work between different operators. Such inter-cooperation creates a working chain in which the weakest link represents the strength of the entire system. In practice this means that every person should do things to the best of their abilities to ensure overall success.

Until recently, a significant part of operator selection has been done traditionally through general testing and assessment of services. This approach is not ideal to effectively assess increasingly unpredictable or less repetitive operations, which require very short preparation and execution times, and where the margin for failure is small. Moreover, in today’s ever-connected world, it is necessary to rely on the quality of services provided by other participants in the operational chain, which makes individual evaluations complex. Increasingly, relationships must be based on a thorough knowledge of the way our suppliers operate, who then become collaborators and managers of different parts of the operations. Therefore, all of us must be concerned about the entire human element that makes up this team.

The quality of the Port Logistics Community is fundamental for its proper development.

The Port of Barcelona and the Training and Employment Group: a three-sided coin

The Training and Employment group of the Port of Barcelona’s Governing Council tries to help companies in the sector find and maintain the resources they need to adequately fill current and future vacancies. The companies in the port logistics sector are facing a new reality on a day-to-day basis: innovation has become the new fuel for companies, both due to the number of start-ups that pop up and because of the need for large companies to continuously reinvent themselves. This means that what until now was seen as a two-sided coin represented by training on one side and employment on the other, has now morphed into something new; with an third characteristic: innovation. This poses new educational challenges and calls for new training needs – for teachers and students – and new jobs.

To help respond to this situation, a programme made up of several sub-programmes was set up in Barcelona. Incorporating a 360º programme, the idea was to cover all levels of the ecosystem. This system has been called “Vine al Port” in Catalan (or “Come to the Port” in English). It encapsulates various sub-programmes that are aimed at specific audiences: “Descubreix el Port” (Discover the Port), “Aprenem Junts” (Learning together), “Format al Port” (Training in the Port), “Port Talent” (Port Talent) and “Benvingut al Port” (Welcome to the Port).

The goal of this innovative system is to help the Barcelona port community come out strong in the war for Talent by tackling the issues at the fore – identifying what are the training needs that the companies lack, creating training programmes that fill the educational gaps that may exist, helping young students understand the professions of the port community (and what the jobs themselves look like through experiential courses and internships), and then finally filling any existing (or new) positions with the best prepared new workers.

Conclusion

The Escola and the Port of Barcelona have now embarked on this journey to continuously improve the Port Logitics Community. The port must reflect and represent the entire port-logistics community, publicising how its companies treat their staff and how they embody their fundamental values and responsibilities. Doing so will facilitate the community’s public image and therewith help with the war for Talent.

Companies must focus on tangible benefits in the form of good remuneration, mutual health insurance, pension funds, training, promotion, location, etc. It is also important to establish an emotional connection based on initiatives linked to environmental issues, social work or volunteering. In this respect, the PLC can carry out actions that complement what individual companies do with activities such as the food bank or the “Solidarity Container”.

 And finally, a sense of belonging must be fostered so that the people who work in the PLC feel that they are working on a common project with a scope that goes beyond what each one of them could achieve. It is important that this is known, understood and shared. The Port Community should be built together, with the collaboration of all partners involved.

In the new year we will be focusing more on our involvement in this Talent War. Keep an eye out for more news from us which will explain, with great detail, what “Coming to the Port” means and how you, or your colleagues or friends, can get involved to help our Barcelona port thrive.

I wish all of you a fantastic holiday season! 2022 has been, for lack of a more elaborate word, fascinating! The Escola has grown – through our port community, our projects and our initiatives. I am very exited to continue sharing with you our work in the new year.

Bon Nadal I Pròsper Any Nou

 

Written by Eduard Rodés, Director of the Escola EuropeaEduard Rodés

President of the Training and Employment Working Group
Of the Governing Council of the Port Community of Barcelona
Director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport
Barcelona 12 December 2022

Rail as key strategic freight transport

Railway is key part of the Spanish and European commitment to decarbonise the freight transport sector. Initiatives such as ‘ecoincentivos’, digitalisation, and automation, or “usage per load volume” are some of the challenges and characteristics that have been identified to help include rail as strategic freight transport.

Spain has the most kilometres of high-speed rail (3,402) in the European Union, and is the second country in the world (only surpassed by China). Nevertheless, despite these impressive numbers, beyond the road infrastructure equipment there are still several services linked to this transport that need to be developed, including the developments of digitalisation and the lack of equipment for its use. 

Within the area of freight transport (discounting passenger traffic), the commitment to multimodal supply chains could be the key to achieving the ambitious objectives of the European Union toward environmental goals; especially by making use of an existing and easily applicable means of transport such as rail. 

 

SURCO Operations II, que será en Madrid del 23 al 31 de enero 2023.

SURCO Operations II, que será en Madrid del 23 al 31 de enero 2023.

 

According to the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), transport accounts for 31% of energy consumption of land transport in the European Union. Rail, for its part, is seven times more efficient than road transport. In terms of emissions, rail accounts for 0.4% of all transport. If only freight transport were to be taken into account, the railway would play a fundamental role to reach a sustainable system and meet the global objectives set, since the train emits 80% less CO2 than its equivalent by road, according to sources from El Economista. In addition to reducing emissions, it reduces external costs by up to 50%: a train replaces 40 lorries and thus helps decongest roads, reduce accidents and lowers noise. It also consumes six times less energy and is eight times better in terms of air pollution.

 

Within freight transport, commitment to using multimodal supply chains could be the key to achieving global objectives, especially by making use of an existing and easily applicable means of transport such as rail.

According to Xavier Flores, the General Secretary of Infrastructures of the Spanish Government, one of the challenges towards achieving the expansion of this system is the fact that only between 4% and 5% of the total freight is moved by rail in Spain. 

 

The most efficient freight transport 

The following factors can be attributed to the efficiency of rail transport:  

  1. Low resistance: thanks to the wheel tread, the elastic deformation of the wheel-rail contact is comparatively low, as both elements are made of steel.  
  1. Optimal aerodynamic drag: In long trains, the friction depends mainly on the cross-section of the vehicle, not the length. This results in minimal energy consumption. 
  1. High-capacity transport: especially when the train reaches European standards of 740 m in length, and by boosting the electrification of railway lines, rail transport becomes a much more sustainable and competitive mode of transport than road for medium and long distances.  

Key for decarbonizing the transport sector 

There are several agreements that have created a roadmap for transport to reduce emissions: the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Green Deal in Europe are just some of them.  

In 2011, the European Commission’s White Paper set a target of shifting 30% of road freight transport over 300 km to rail or inland waterways by 2030. Since then, European governments, institutions and companies have been working to reach agreements to tackle climate change. Combined or multimodal transport has been presented as the most economically and environmentally sustainable option solution for achieving this goal.  

‘Ecoincentivos’: a commitment to the environment 

To get on board the decarbonisation train and encourage the use of rail for freight transport, the Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (Mitma) promoted the ‘eco-incentives’ programme. This was designed to last for the upcoming three years within the framework of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. 

This initiative has encountered some setbacks, as it is only applicable for those companies that have or will see a minimum growth of 8% in the volume of cargo transported. During the first half of the year this figure was being reached by almost all rail companies in the sector. Nevertheless, starting from June 2022, there was a radical turn downwards experienced by the dependence on such sectors as: chemical, aluminium, metallurgical or automotive, industries which in turn have also seen a fall in their activities, according to sources from the newspaper Transporte XXI. 

Because of this, the Ministry of Transport is considering reformulating its aid plan in view of the decrease in activity suffered by railway companies in the second half of the year. However, the unused part of the total allocated budget for the current year (20 million) will not be lost, but will be rolled over to 2023. 

Furthermore, in accordance with the proposals set out in the “Safe, Sustainable and Connected Mobility Strategy” 2030 of the Mitma (Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda of Spain), called “Intermodal and Smart Logistics Chains”, the Mercancías 30 initiative was announced and will be launched, aiming to promote rail freight transport as the backbone of multimodal logistics chains. From the dual perspective of the post-COVID19 economic recovery and the achievement of the objectives of decarbonisation and sustainability of transport. This programme will allocate around 8.8 billion euros for the development of rail freight, both for infrastructure (6.8 billion euros) and equipment (2 billion euros). All actions are to be carried out before 2030.  

The long road towards digitisation  

The road to rail digitisation is a long one, with outdated systems and obsolete technology being among the main challenges to optimisation. According to McKinsey’s report titled ‘Digitizing Europe’s railways: A call to action‘ (2020), despite its robustness, Europe’s railways have outdated systems that are increasingly difficult to maintain. Some major European railways have several types of interlockings, some of which are more than a century old and use very obsolete technology. 

According to a PierNext article – an initiative of the Port Authority of Barcelona – to become the transport mode of the decarbonised Europe, railway must meet five digital axes: 

  1. Digitalising and interconnecting infrastructures 

  1. Automation as the basis for its operations and infrastructures 

  1. Processing and exploiting data 

  1. Run everything in the Cloud 

  1. Safety and security as top priorities  

The European rail sector can continue to promote technology systems. Digitalisation is key to this, especially when looking to become the central freight transport system in Europe and Spain.  The challenge is significant, as the window of opportunity is narrow, and regardless of their interests or wills, the whole industry must be willing to collaborate to drive change. 

The potential gains in cost and capacity efficiency, as well as the benefits of reduced CO2 emissions, are considerable, both within and outside Spain and Europe. To achieve this, operators, governments and companies must cooperate and act to promote the use of rail and co-modality as the most economically and environmentally sustainable response to today’s global challenges. 

 

Look out for our upcoming courses: SURCO Madrid 2023 – Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

Healthy habits create new traffic for temperature-controlled logistics

The growth in healthy eating habits has led to an increase in demand for temperature-controlled logistics

Lockdowns, and the subsequent re-openings of our societies have influenced how we, as a society, approach our overall health (we’re looking at you Peleton!). This demand for healthy nutrition, which is marked by the changing global diet trends, has increased. In response to that, cold logistics has become central in the response to meet this rising demand for fresh and frozen foods.

Many of the players in the reefer industry have noted that the growing healthy consumption habits have helped sustain growth in reefer volumes post-pandemic; a growth that is expected to continue despite the nuances of a more subdued 2022. “There is a growth in demand over the last few years, and there is an increasing need in the logistics sector to move products related to that trend, whether it is health products, fresh food or frozen food,” says Cold Chain Federation UK chief executive Shane Brennan (El Mercantil, October 2022), adding that “it is clear that this will be an area of safe investment for the next five to ten years”.

A maritime growth

When looking at overall reefer trends, it is clear that the maritime leg has taken a large volume of investments in recent years. Up to 46% of global trade in perishable goods is transported by sea – and in many cases these require very specific temperatures throughout the different stages of transport (in transit, in port, or even during the last mile delivery).

Different goods also have different standards set by international organisations, and it is pivotal for transport operators to ensure that perishable goods are transported in conditions that don’t affect product quality (for a refresher on the Cold Chain, head to our blog to read up on the Introduction to the Cold Chain).

Because more and more people want access to fresh fruits and vegetables (in- our out-of-season), the reefer container business has been thriving. The El Mercantil article quotes Gregory Tuthill, the director of SeaCube (an innovative North American company specialising in the leasing of containers) as having attested to this trend. “In general terms, we can talk about a growth that is accelerating right now and that has to do mainly with products such as fresh fruit and vegetables”. This trend has “an effect on the demand for refrigerated containers.”

With more reefer containers, more storage space in ports is also needed. As an     example, we can look at the Port of Barcelona. Hutchison Port’s managed BEST container terminal in the Catalan Capital has enhanced its reefer services in recent years. The terminal is now able to carry out semi-automated pre-trip inspection services for reefer containers. Repairs to any damages can also be carried out on site. “The Hong Kong-based operator is in a position to offer an integral and complete service for reefer containers, from connection and disconnection, to their monitoring, or the personalised attention to super reefers.” Similar investment in temperature controlled equipment management has been seen in other ports of Europe, and is expected to grow in the coming years.

6 keys to an effective temperature-controlled logistics

From maintaining stable temperatures and documentation requirements, to packaging and security considerations, we recommend you our spanish course in Temperature-Controlled Supply Chain Logistics in  Barcelona.

For more ifnormation on temperature-controlled supply chain logistcis in spanish, download  and jump on the guide:

Sources:

–      Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport #DidYouKnow blog

–      El Mercantil

–      Container News

Commercial Container Ship

HydroPen: A solution to container fires?

Ever since man was able to transport goods by sea, hazards and dangers have existed to the cargo involved. Starting from the ancient Greeks, the design and size of ships continued to evolve to match the demand that was growing in an increasingly connected society. In the 20th century sea transport became more even extensive as our society became more globalised and technology more developed.

There is no doubt that cargo transport by sea has drastically evolved over the years. However, as with anything, with larger volumes and varieties of goods carried, more risk emerged. Container fires are unfortunately very common – today they happen on average every 66 days. It is up to industry experts to try to figure out a way to prevent or contain catastrophes – and it looks like the Danish company Viking has come up with a solution that will help shippers mitigate such risks with the HydroPen.

History of container fires

Whenever a large fire breaks out aboard a ship, the cargo on board is determined to be the cause. The contents of containers can shift around, burn, explode or even liquify if proper storage and handling is not carried out.

Following many disasters at sea that caused either massive losses in life or in cargo, the International Maritime Organization came up with regulations to try to prevent or minimise such disasters in 1958. Because of this, a lot of dangerous freight can be tracked. Freightwaves reports that today, 10% of 60 million of maritime containers moved globally are declared as dangerous goods under the IMO regulations. Unfortunately, 1/5th of those are either poorly packed or incorrectly identified – therewith increasing risk of container fires and potential maritime disasters.

Common causes of container fires

There have been quite a few large container fires in recent history. The first step to eliminating such disasters would be for the industry to identify the risks, follow the safety standards, and develop feasible fire prevention and containment technologies.

The most common cause of container fire continues to be misdeclaration of container cargo. This could be assigned to either clerical errors or to nefarious activities, but in both cases can lead to huge destructions of property and a loss of life. Another cause could be improper container storage. In the past, dangerous seas have caused shifts in improperly secured containers aboard ships, which then resulted in fires or explosions. Finally, the third most common cause is improper fire containment, control equipment and staff training. Better fire-fighting equipment on board the ships, with crew that is fully trained in its usage, could help offset the fire risks at sea.

Other common causes of ship fires can be assigned to:

  • Engine malfunction
  • Improper electrical wiring
  • Improper handling of kitchen equipment on board of vessels
  • Mislabelled combustible cargo

Industry solutions

After each catastrophe, industry partners and insurance companies have tried to carry out analyses to determine what the causes were, and thus help prevent similar fiascos in the future. Many insurance companies have already stressed the need to promote better ship designs and fire-fighting equipment to help the crew manage any potential misfortunes (Allianz Global).

New technologies seem to be the answer. Recently, the Nordic company Viking has come up with a new tool – the HydroPen – which has promising potential. This tool is an “innovative, water-based drilling machine that enables crew to effectively and efficiently fight container fires high up in the stack.” It consists of two components – a lift to raise a drill or spray unit to the location of a fire and the unit itself.

How does it work?

In the event of a fire inside a container on board of a ship, the HydroPen can drill through a standard container door or wall. It then can use a special hose, which is connected to the vessel’s fire main. Using pressurised water, it can spray the insides of the container and put out the fire before it can spread beyond the container (causing more damage to other cargo and potentially the vessel itself. With proper training, this tool could potentially prevent large maritime disasters.

For more videos on how the HydroPen works, you can also head to the Viking YouTube channel.
 

Final thoughts

There is no doubt that the shipping industry continues to evolve – with larger distances, larger shipments, and a larger variety of cargo. For the shipping industry to remain safe and efficient, it needs highly trained staff that know how to protect the cargo during the vessel trajectories, employees that know how to properly label cargo, and innovative technological solutions that can help mitigate any potential risks that may arise from circumstances out of our control.

Vessel operations are highly complex. At the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport we offer an array of courses that can help you expand your knowledge of the industry from the perspective of the shipper, the freight forwarder, the port authority and the end client. If you are interested in knowing more, you can check out our available courses or contact us directly for more information.

Sources:

Why are shortsea shipping routes on trend?

In 2021 Shortsea Shipping recorded an 11.7% increase over 2020, and managed to surpass 2019’s figures, when 269 million tons were moved, according to Shortsea data.

The so called ‘Butterfly effect’ that has is origin from the Chinese proverb: “The flapping of a butterfly’s wings can be felt on the other side of the world.” It can be used to illustrate the causes and changes that led to the increase of short sea shipping traffic and routes in the Mediterranean. This led to the need for specialized talent capable of managing intermodal transport logistics chains.

Several factors have influenced this upward trend in short sea shipping, mainly the shortage of truck drivers and the relocation of production from Asia to Africa or even Europe and thus changing the maritime trade routes.

Why this?

Shortage of truck drivers

One of the factors responsible relies on the global shortage of truck drivers, specifically, 2.6 million jobs were left unfilled worldwide in 2021, according to the Driver Shortage Global Report 2022: Summary.

Some of the reasons why truck driver positions are disappearing are: the difficulty finding operational workforce, since the average age for truck drivers is 55 years, in addition to being a profession that requires long periods away from home, which is a hindrance for the younger generations, who are more aware of the need for work-life balance. These reasons are compounded by the lack of female drivers and the lack of training and, therefore, of qualified drivers.

In addition to this, restrictions and problems for supply chain worldwide led to a shift in lower risk production locations, increasing local production.

Supply chain shifts and energetic dependency

China’s zero covid policy have aggravated problems in supply chains worldwide, especially in the Mediterranean, and have had a direct or indirect impact on European industries, which have opted on the recovery of production in Europe and America to the detriment of Asia.

Moreover, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has made clear that the only way to be energy independent is through renewable energies, therefore decarbonizing the transport sector.

Beyond being on trend, the shortsea shipping routes have proven to be the most effective solution to these disruptions, being not only strategic for industries but more sustainable in the short and long term. Facing global supply chain adaptations, energy dependency issues and the urgent need to decarbonize the sector, as well as the need for qualified workforce for intermodal transport, see highway in the Mediterranean are becoming great commercial routes.

Therefore, more and more specialized talent capable of managing intermodal transport logistics chains might be needed because of this changing scenario.

Shortsea Shipping Transport Talent

In a short future scenario companies form the logistics and transportation sector might need more qualified talent capable of managing intermodal transportation logistics chains, as this is the most cost-effective and environmentally sustainable option.  Trainings like Most Iberia are top gear and economical options for professionals or companies seeking to specialize its personnel with the latest trends and topics in the sector.

Source: El renacer comercial de las autopistas del mar | Actualidad Económica (elmundo.es)
PORT VIRTUAL LAB_Simulators_training_Escola Europea

Virtualization and simulation at the Escola Europea’s Portvirtuallab.com

The development of advanced computer systems is enabling new ways of interacting and learning via simulators: a trendy learning environment that enhances learners’ experiences.

Some logistics organizations are betting heavily on technology, either to improve their competitiveness in an increasingly digital world, for mimicry with other similar companies in the sector or for fear of being left behind in the new relationship models between operators.

The adoption of simulators and virtual reality for initial and continuing education allows trainees to gain hands-on work experience in a remote, risk-free environment; it enables them to solve problems more effectively, ultimately improving customer experiences. These immersive programs have much broader use, as they can enable participants to develop skills for career advancement.

PORT VIRTUAL LAB_Simulators_training_Escola Europea

Simulators open the door to new possibilities and innovative ways to leverage digital learning solutions, within a larger ecosystem. The virtual simulator creates a digital world in which users can interact, collaborate, practice and solve problems. It is ideal for corporate and collaborative learning, providing learners with the tools they need to succeed while allowing them to manage their own learning experience.

Digital disruption and simulators

Learning moves into what would be neuro-linguistic programming, as the learner experiences the experience as a reality. The learner is in the space and work environment in which we can transfer the knowledge and procedures to successfully perform the operations. It is the closest thing to the realization of an internship in a company. If this is complemented by a teacher who accompanies him/her in the realization of the activities, not directly but by giving support, when necessary, it allows an enriching experience.

The learner’s activity in their virtual work environment and how they access information will help them identify opportunities where their experience can be improved.

From there, it is about enabling the learner to find what they need and when they need it. Rather than prescribing an end-to-end learning journey, as in traditional courses, embrace the chaos. Today’s learners know how and where to find the knowledge they are looking for.

Virtual training opens the door to new possibilities for training at a time when the winds are blowing in favour of innovation. With advances in technology progressing along with a culture that is increasingly accepting of remote learning and other digital initiatives, now is the perfect time to begin formulating a virtual simulator strategy for organizations.

A success story: training for students of the Master’s in International Trade at the University of Barcelona.

 

In the month of May 2022, a course was held for students from the University of Barcelona. A “Practicum” for those who chose to do their master’s final project using the training platform Port Virtual Lab (PVL) developed by the Escola Europea together with the company Click&Cargo. The course achieved spectacular results. Thirty students from 10 different countries in Europe, Africa, America and Asia wanted to take part in this immersive experience of international trade.

 

University of Barcelona_PVL Port Virtual Lab_

 

The goals for the course were:

  • Develop economic analysis skills to better understand international trade as an important and formative element.
  • Promote the presentation of simulated scenarios to participants to develop and refine their knowledge of international logistics and transport operations.
  • Stimulate the responsible and autonomous development of the student so that he/she can acquire fluency in problem-solving and decision-making in the face of unforeseen circumstances, incidents and conflicts produced by the dynamics of the company and its interactions with clients and suppliers.
  • Encourage teamwork and working with remote teams in the conduct of international trade operations.

The course developed theoretical sessions on the following topics:

  • Carrier and logistics operator
  • ERP for carriers
  • Market research
  • Commercial, transport, customs.
  • Contracts and Incoterms
  • Freight list
  • Tariff classification
  • Intermodal transport
  • Dangerous goods
  • Single Administrative Document (SAD)
  • Supply chains.

For the training of these students, the immersive technology facilitated by PVL  was used and allowed to turn around and change the paradigm of hands-on training by implementing a comprehensive training suite using the simulation platform to move the training sessions to a fully virtual environment. The hands-on experience and the instructor remained the same, but by adding a virtual reality layer it was possible to hold the session in a completely digital and risk-free environment. In addition, trainees could participate from anywhere, although this time the training was held at the Escola Europea facilities in Barcelona.

In addition to learning new procedures, participants were able to practice their techniques with simulated companies. Since the software automatically tracks useful metrics so that trainees know exactly what operations they have pending.

 

The final result was comprehensive: hands-on training without having to leave the digital world. The trainees went through the commercial, operations, financial administration and quality modules. They had to interact with teams operating in other countries (in this case simulated) and complete operations from start to finish.

And in the end, they had to submit a report justifying all the operations carried out.

 

Results were satisfactory, and students rated the course with a score of 4.75 out of 5, which is an excellent outcome.

Conclusion: At the intersection of simulated, virtual and reality

 

The reason why learning and training with simulators are so effective is that it offers all the advantages of digital learning (ease, “computerization” and remote collaboration) without any of the previous drawbacks that distinguish virtual from reality.

 

As these two fields begin to blend, it is to be expected that greater training opportunities will emerge, and the Escola Europea wants to be a protagonist in this progress that will allow for the development of more prepared and sustainable logistic-port communities.

 

Eduard Rodés

Director

Escola Europea

 

#DidYouKnow – The increasing threat of cyber attacks on ports

Living in an increasingly digitised world has decreased distances between countries. The world doesn’t seem to be vast anymore – countries in the northern hemisphere can get tropical fruits from the southern hemisphere (and vice versa) at a few days’ notice. Communication between different countries has become instantaneous. The increasing innovations have made our planet seem a lot smaller.

The port sector has also been riding this innovation wave. In the final years of the twentieth century, and in the first decades of the twenty first century, ports have been going through a digital transformation to keep up with any new challenges, optimising their operations and creating new strategies (including automation, RFID tagging, etc). All of this has been centred on the ability to interconnect information technologies and operation technologies, cloud computing, the internet of things, big data, among others.

All this modernisation has come at a price – and digital innovation has given rise to cyber threats and cyber-attacks. This has not left any industries unaffected. Ports, as vital infrastructure points to nation-states – have become frequent targets to both national, international and clandestine attacks. During their own digitalisation efforts, ports need to ensure that cybersecurity stays at the forefront, whilst being considered a facilitator of automation and future developments. The transition into the digital sphere has thus morphed into cybersecurity challenges that ports need to address before realising the complete potential of innovative technologies. This is why we decided to deal with cybersecurity in ports for this month’s #DidYouKnow article.

What kinds of cyber threats exist for ports?

Making sure that ports are safe from cyber threats is critical towards ensuring safe and secure operations of ships both at sea and onshore. This is not a new issue – the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has already adopted various resolutions that aim to minimize (if not eliminate) cyber risks in the maritime industry. For example, under the IMO’s resolution MSC.428(98), port administrations need to ensure that the systems that are in place in their communities appropriately address any risks or security concerns for vessels that may exist in cyberspace. This is because port operations are vital in international and national maritime trade. It is within their boundaries that vessels arrive, load, and unload their cargoes, top up fuel, and carry out other vital information towards the proper functioning of the global supply chain.

In the modern digital world, port cybersecurity must be seen as a top priority for any transport operation

There are many types of cyber risks that can affect ports and their operations. These can be grouped the following 7 categories (which are by no means finite as the digital sphere is a constantly evolving creature).

  • Eavesdropping, interception, hijacking -This group of risks includes, but is not limited to, incidents such as the interception of emissions, sensitive information, network reconnaissance, network traffic manipulation, etc.
  • Nefarious activity & abuse – This group of risks includes, but is not limited to, incidents such as the denial of service, malware, brute force, identity theft, phishing, targeted attacks, abuse and theft of data, manipulation of information, etc.
  • Disaster – These risks can emerge as a result of environmental disasters, natural disasters, etc.
  • Unintentional damage – These can include the use of unreliable sources, erroneous administration of IT/OT systems, information leakage, among others.
  • Failures and Malfunctions – Any information system always has the potential to fail or malfunction. This group of risks includes failures to systems, devices, navigation and communication systems, main supply systems, failure or disruption of service providers, etc.
  • Outages – As information and digital systems depend on the energy grids, these risks include any possible main supply outages, network outages, absence of personnel, loss of support, etc.
  • Physical attacks – perhaps the group most associated with the general term of “cyberattacks”. This category includes fraud, sabotage, vandalism, theft, unauthorised access, terrorism, hacktivism, piracy, coercion, extortion, or corruption

What are the legal frameworks?

IMO Resolutions

Providing worldwide cybersecurity guidance for ports is the International Maritime Organization. Various resolutions have already been passed by the organisation to try to create standards for ports and shipping lines to follow to ensure maximum cyber security and cyber regulatory frameworks that minimise the risks for all parties, including ISO/IEC 27001 and the Guidelines on Cyber Security on Board Ships.

SOLAS

SOLAS – or the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea – is a treaty that has established the minimum safety standards for shipping. It covers requirements for equipment, construction, and the general operation of vessels. It has been adopted by over 150 nation-states. In terms of cyber security, its Chapter IX — Management for the Safe Operation of Ships — requires every shipping line and any person or company that is responsible for a vessel to comply with the International Safety Management Code (ISM). This code has been adapted to include sections on cybersecurity concerns.

ENISA

ENISA is the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity. In 2019 its position was strengthened with the EU Cybersecurity Act, which also defined a general framework for Information, Communication and Technology products, processes, and services. All EU member states need to comply with the ENISA requirements, though there are some that have also adopted their own national initiatives to further shield themselves from cyber risks. This includes the French CIIP law, the German “IT-Grundschutz” and the UL Cyber Security Code of Practices, among others.

 

Conclusions

This #DidYouKnow article is by no means an extensive deep-dive into the world of cyber security – as it is a very broad and complex topic that only specialised cyber professionals could explain. It does offer, nevertheless, a glimpse into the complexity of issues that arose with the digitalisation of our modern world.

Ports are not immune to the cyber risks, no matter how digitised and seemingly prepared they are. Most of such attacks involve people and fragmented system landscapes, and therefore every port community is potentially at risk. The digital divide shouldn’t be ignored – and the fact that the maritime world is central to keeping global supply chains moving and thus is crucial to information exchanges associated with them further highlights the shared nature of cybersecurity risks. Therefore, for the maritime world to function effectively, the management of cyber risks must be carried out properly and shared with all stakeholders, ranging from port authorities, shipping operators, port facilities and terminals, maritime agencies, customs agents and maritime law enforcement agencies. The cyberworld does not have physical borders, and therefore the mitigation of any threats there is trickier.

Cybersecurity in port operations is no easy (nor isolated) feat. It is essential for all partners involved in transport operations to be aware of the risks involved and to learn to take the necessary steps to prevent or stop any potential threats that may develop. This includes following good practices that certain port operators may establish to reach a baseline of cybersecurity. In 2020, the port industry has faced a fourfold increase in cyber attacks against OT systems (a fourfold increase from 2017). Cyber-attacks are unfortunately becoming common. Therefore it is important to note that, at the end of the day, port operations and cybersecurity in the twenty first century are two sides of the same coin.

Intrigued? The Escola Europea is organising a summer school in port operations – with a focus on vessels and goods that are processed through the Port of Barcelona in the month of July. In the course we go over all the aspects of port operations, including the new cyber threats and their mitigation procedures. Check out the programme on our website.

Sources:

The Little Prince

Let’s learn together

On the 15th anniversary of the Escola Europea…

The Little Prince

-“Farewell,” said the little prince sadly.

-“Farewell,” said the fox. “Here is my secret:

Only with the heart can one see well; the most important is invisible to the eyes”.

-“Only with the heart… What is most important is invisible to the eyes….”

– repeated the little prince to remind himself.

-“What makes your rose important is the time you have devoted to it.”

-“It is the time I have devoted to it…” repeated the little prince in order to remember it.

-“Men have forgotten this great truth,” said the fox. “You must not forget it! You are responsible, forever, for what you have cared for. You are responsible for your rose…..”

-“I am responsible for my rose!” -repeated the little prince to remind himself of it.

The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Eduard Rodés - Director of the Escola Europea Intermodal Transport

Written by: Eduard Rodés, director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

“We learn together” is a declaration of principles and an arrow into the heart of someone who has dedicated a large part of their professional life to education and training.  In 2017, the BBVA bank, in collaboration with the Spanish newspaper El País, launched the educational project “Let’s learn together”, which aimed to pave the way for a better life, and which materialised in a series of easily accessible videos on the internet featuring interviews, stories and workshops with the participation of well-known people in the field of education, teachers, intellectuals and a long etcetera. It was a marvel that I recommend without reservation. In one of them, Nuccio Ordine, a professor at the University of Calabria and writer, takes part. In a brilliant talk, he quotes several times from The Little Prince to refer to the relationship between people and the cultivation of these relationships. In doing so, he refers to the passage of the encounter between the little prince and the desert fox. I wanted to begin this article by taking the last part of the encounter in which beautiful things happen. The first thing is that it tells us is that what is most important is invisible to our eyes. We already knew that, but we need to be reminded of it often so as not to forget it.  Secondly, that what is important is what we have dedicated our time to, the scarcest and most precious resource we have.  And that when we have established an emotional bond with the other, we are also responsible for it.

Think for a moment that the rose is our Port Community. With it, with its members, we can have a distant and indefinite relationship. Or, alternatively, a close relationship with strong ties in which we recognise and need each other. One in which we collaborate and help each other, without ceasing to compete in what we must compete in. To get to know each other we have to spend time with each other in reciprocity, including education.

To build this relationship we need time, rituals, symbols, and values to share and to recognise each other. I hardly ever talk about time because it is generally interpreted from the point of view of the priority that we give to things. In other words, we have time for what interests us, and we prioritise it as such. Rituals, on the other hand are more subtle. They are articulated by joint activities that are carried out. Here I would highlight the Port Community Governing Council. The working groups that have sprouted over the years play a fundamental role. One of the most effective, in my opinion, groups is the Telematic Forum, to which I belonged for many years, and which plays a fundamental coordinating role in the smooth running of the sector’s operations. In recent years, I have promoted what is now the Occupation and Training Working Group, in which the main actors of a Port Logistics Community participate and are represented together with representatives from the world of employment and education – members who have never before maintained a direct and continuous link with the port. This benefits everyone. It is a clear example of the PPP (public private partnership) that has characterised the way many of the western port communities have operated in terms of port development investments for decades. And it is through these groups that we can say that we learn together.

I have long maintained that these relationships produce synapses and shape a collective intelligence that enriches us and makes us stronger. The Port of Barcelona‘s Strategic Plan identifies competition between gateway logistics chains as the fundamental factor for the future. In my opinion, this involves competition between logistics-port communities, which must be capable of creating solutions that adapt to the needs of each moment, through a dynamic disappearance process, and altered to the evolutionary needs of the market. This is something that John Gattorna defined as living supply chains. These communities must increasingly become so, also from an international point of view. Our trade missions must serve to promote real cooperation between operators in each port. This will certainly involve setting up systems that allow for permanent and sustained contact over time.  The recent cooperation agreement between the Port of Barcelona and the Port of Busan in South Korea serves as a good example of the start of a network with such characteristics.

In 2022 an event took place that I believe will mark a turning point in relations in the world of education and that will become a symbol in time. With the start of a new academic year it was announced that, after the summer, a public high school will be set up in the port. It will offer a higher degree in logistics, transport and international trade. It will extend the training to cover everything from initial training to occupational training. My idea for this institute in the port is that companies should be involved from the beginning. The training should be dual, and students should do part of their training inside the companies. It will also be essentials for the teachers to be able to make short visits to the companies to meet the people who manage them and to discover their day-to-day operations first-hand. Moreover, the professionals from these companies should also be occasional teachers at the high school. This would allow the students to gain knowledge directly from the sources of the information.

Ideally I would also like for it to be a great centre of education that defends values. That we would all be able to learn and educate together, with shared responsibilities and commitment. At the Escola we have always said that we provide education and values that identify with creativity, innovation, dialogue, self-determination, work, commitment to people and the environment, and knowledge. We hope that we can help everyone share such goals’ and that the effort will make us stand out for having tried to do things well.

“My flower perfumed my planet …

I couldn’t understand anything then! I should have judged her by her actions and not by her words. She perfumed and illuminated my life! I shouldn’t have run away! I didn’t know how to recognise the tenderness behind her poor astuteness! Flowers are so contradictory! And… I was too young to know how to love her”.

The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

Learning and moving forward together is the challenge that we must work towards, because together we are strong. Building our Community has to be a priority and that means dedicating time and effort to it. We need to be aware of its contradictions and shortcomings, and appreciate what it does for us. Even if we may find it hard to recognise and sometimes only become aware when we go out to other ports in the world. We have a treasure that we must nurture in order to continue learning together.