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European Rail Traffic Management System

The European Rail Traffic Management System – ERTMS

This month, in preparation for our upcoming SURCO – Rail Operations course which will take place in the fall of 2021, we have decided to focus on the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS)- an intiative that will be instrumental in the creation of a Single European Railway Area.

Creating a Single European Railway Area

Written by: Lidia Slawinska, Consultant

Rail transport forms an integral part of the intermodal supply chain. European ports have spent the last decades investing in port-rail connections that make it easy to transfer freight from the ship onto a train and vice versa. Countries have been focusing on standardising or facilitating transfers between different gauge dimensions in European countries. France has even gone so far as to start banning flights (passenger and cargo) between destinations that can be reached by train within a radius of 2 hours from the points of origin.

There is no doubt that in the sustainability focused post-Covid world rail is taking centre stage. This is why, in this month’s issue of #DidYouKnow, we decided to focus on the European Rail Traffic Management System.

On the opening day of the European Year of Rail 2021, the EU transport commissioner Adina Valean has emphasized the need to incorporate a digital layer to the physical rail infrastructures to improve network use, increase capacity and enhance safety. This means deploying the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and automating where necessary. “Only when we have a single system in Europe will we stop interchanging locomotives at borders,” Valean said. Instead of focusing on investing in new railway lines, operators and public authorities need to work on increasing capacity on existing lines, whilst working on the new digital infrastructure which will complement the physical infrastructures helping to make it more economical and accessible. So what exactly is this system?

What is the ERTMS?

Essentially, the European Rail Traffic Management System was created with the goal of replacing the various different national train control and command systems prevalent across the European Union – and therewith creating a seamless European railway system, and increasing the region’s global competitiveness. It can be looked at having two basic components:

  • The European Train Control System (ETCS) – an automatic train protection system (ATP) that will work towards replacing existing national train protection systems;
  • The GSM-R, a radio system that will provide voice and data communication between the tracks and the trains. It does so by using GSM frequencies specifically reserved for rail application.

 What are the benefits?

ERTMS is working towards being the train control system that brings significant advantages in terms of maintenance costs savings, safety, reliability, punctuality and traffic capacity. These can be classed as following:

  • Interoperability – no longer would international train management systems clash
  • Increased Safety – The speed of the trains travelling across the system would continuously be monitored, therewith providing greater international train protection;
  • Increased Capacity – Tracking all trains across one network will allow for a reduction in the minimum distance between the trains, therewith increasing overall capacity;
  • Higher performance – Punctuality is increase because of the higher level of monitoring and evaluation prevalent across the ERTMS. This also lowers the potential for failures, further increasing the standards of the network;
  • Greater competitiveness – the seamless market for rail transport on the European continent will make rail more competitive in relation to road transport. Cross-border rail services will also be facilitated, further improving rail’s outlook;
  • Lower maintenance costs – The costs would be reduced from a lower number of trackside components. Being separated into various levels of development, this reduction would increase with the increase in higher levels;
  • Staff – Though not replacing any jobs, the ERMTS would digitalise certain sections of the rail management system, therewith solving an issue related to ageing staff – currently troubling the rail industry;
  • Digitalisation – ERTMS, and its upcoming new radio transmission subsystem Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) is an enabler of digitalisation in the railway system;
  • Sustainability – By making the rail sector more competitive, ERTMS helps to level the playing field with road transport and ultimately provides significant environmental gains.

Already operational in Europe, the system is also slowly becoming the train control system of choice in other countries such as China, India, Taiwan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

What are the drawbacks?

As with any system, there are potential problems that can arise through the use of the ERMTS.

  • Complexity – the ERTMS sub-system comprises complex interfaces, which need to be developed to function seamlessly across the entire network.
  • Cost – the ERTMS comes with high costs both in terms of trackside deployment and retrofitting.
  • Time – With regard to ERTMS trackside deployment, demanding requirements in many public procurements resulted in lengthy tenders and delays in project delivery. Timing was also detected in errors found in the final testing stages – which should have been detected during the verification and validation processes.
  • Interoperability – Different parts of the network may have different technical specificities, and they might also have different operational requirements. The European Railway Agency is working with individual states to eliminate National Technical Requirements (NTRs) in each country to improve the ERTMS’ interoperability
  • Funding – The funding provided by each state alone is not sufficient. A significant portion is needed to come from the EU – and the EU has expressed its commitment to support the ERTMS.

The future of ERTMS

Currently the European Rail Transport Management System is already in use in commercial projects across the 9 core network corridors. Though still in its early stages, the system is being trialed to make sure that it can be fully deployed in the European area in the near future. Rail transport is integral to sustainable and clean transport, and therewith ensuring a seamless and innovative door-to-door supply chain that incorporates various modes of transport. Currently the European Union has selected Matthias Ruete as the European coordinator for the ERTMS. Ruete will be working with the rail sector to further deploy ERTMS along the EU’s rail network, giving the necessary political impetus for the project and the realisation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2016 between the European Commission, the European Union Agency for Railways and the European rail sector associations (CER, EIM, EPTTOLA, ERFA, the ERTMS Users Group, GSM-R Industry Group, UIC,UNIFE and UNISIG). Altogether, all of this work will prove invaluable towards the creation of a single European Railway Area – furthering the vision of efficient, sustainable and innovative European transport.

 

Sources:

Transporting perishables across the equator

Written by: Lidia Slawinska, Consultant

The end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century has brought tremendous progress to social, industrial and environmental aspects of society – all as part of the larger globalisation trend. In this issue of the #DidYouKnow series we look at how globalisation has affected the ability for us to receive perishable products from the other side of the globe and made it possible for us to diversity our diets with foods from other  climates.

We are talking about, of course, the cold chain. New technologies in reefer transport and logistics have made it possible for the market of cold chain products to expand. The reefer is essentially a homogeneous transport product, but it works with markets that have a very broad range of products, ranging from pharmaceuticals to perishable foods (and even fresh flowers). How is it that we are able to find fresh avocados from Peru in our local (European)_supermarkets? How are delicacies from the Southeast Asian countries reaching our homes? The areas which produce the most perishable products—the southern states of the USA (California, Florida, Texas, Arizona), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia—have in the past faced great marketing challenges due to their distance from the major markets of Eastern and Central United States, Canada, the Far East or Europe.  It is through the wonders of intermodality and temperature-controlled transport – a supply chain that ends at the door of the final consumer – that we can enjoy the tropical delicacies in the old continent.

What are the factors that need to be taken into account when transporting perishable?

Fresh products continue to metabolize and eat up their nutrients throughout their shelf life. This process begins with the harvest or slaughter, and continues through packing, distribution, marketing and the final sale. The decomposition processes are all dependent upon temperature – the higher the temperature, the faster the degradation.

“In fact, as a general rule, most of these degradation processes double their rate for each increase of 10°C [1]” – a vital statistic for shippers and transport operators who need to preserve the integrity of their cargo during long-distance journeys.

This so-called Q10 quotient means that maintaining an edible product’s temperature at 10C less than the temperature during which it is handled can almost double the product’s shelf life. Though this is not a universal rule that can be applied to all products (some sub-tropical fruit can suffer damages due to extremely low temperatures), it is significant enough for professionals to consider, and thus offset their their losses.

When tropical delicacies are transported to opposite corners of the world, uniform quality in both product appearance and taste are essential. This is why packaging, refrigerating, pre-cooling, and storing are vital – the inability to do  effectively will result in a waste of product, time and losses in profits.

Packaging

It is important to note, that alongside the refrigeration tactics used by transporters, packaging also takes centre stage – in particular in the cases of fruits and vegetables, plants, and cut flowers. Proper packaging ensures product protection during transport and facilitates transport. Improperly sized containers, for example, topped with rough handling by port infrastructures can lead to products damage. Overfilling can cause bruising and can also lead to decreased compression strength inside the container. Underfilling a container can also cause product damage by allowing for the product to move during uneasy transport conditions (rough seas, irregular road surfaces, etc).

Overall it is vital to ensure that the containers are properly packaged and prepared, with detailed considerations of the temperatures required for the preservation of the transported products. Knowing exactly what are the different stages and characteristics of this preparation will help you create a durable, efficient and sustainable cold chain.

Choosing the mode of transport

As previously hinted, the transport of temperature-sensitive goods is very particular, and therefore it is imperative to choose the correct mode of transport to ensure high quality services and product delivery. Intermodality plays a key role, as sometimes different modes would need to be used to maximise the efficiency of the cold chain. Once precooled, the items would need to be carefully loaded onto appropriate packaging and transported at stable temperatures. Therefore, the design and condition of the equipment used will need to be considered, alongside the mode of transport to be used (which depends on the distance to be crossed).

These decisions should be made in consideration with the following:

  • Destination – where is the product heading
  • Value of the product – are there certain losses that can be accepted by the client?
  • Degree of product perishability – how temperature sensitive are the products?
  • Amount of product to be transported
  • Recommended storage temperature and relative humidity – important to take into account in particular with precooling and storage steps
  • Outside temperature conditions at origin and destination points
  • Time in transit to reach destination by air, land, or ocean transport – Refrigerated trailers and van containers are generally preferred for most high volume transports during a week or more
  • Freight rates negotiated with the carriers – Services and schedules can change on a weekly basis. Are door-to-door services offered (generally the case with carriers who use containers and trailers, but air cargo has also been know to transport highly perishable goods). Air freight is considerably more costly and does not tend utilise refrigerated containers (although refrigerated air containers are used) – but the transit time is generally given in hours instead of days / weeks.
  • Quality of transportation service – which can usually be gauged through past customer reviews, local trade publications, port authorities, among others.

On top of using the correct mode of transport, customers should also familiarise themselves with the refrigeration systems used to understand what kind would best protect their product. Some companies may opt for mechanical systems (which use diesel generated electric power), cryogenic (which use liquid or gaseous nitrogen), dry ice (low-cost but highly effective method to keep temperatures down), wet ice (which tend to be used as supplements to other cooling mechanisms and get placed on top of the containers to avoid product contamination), gel refrigerants (frozen containers of chemical eutectic gel to help maintain lower temperature within larger containers), ventilation (preferred for live-cargo and high – emission products as it employs a method of using air ventilation to circulate the buildup of CO2 or ethylene, etc). Though not extensive, this list demonstrates the large array of possible options that operators in the cold chain use.

From the above it is evident that the cold chain requires a myriad of additional considerations on top of the usual decisions that need to be taken when planning an efficient and sustainable transport chain. Through technological advancements we can now transport fresh vegetables from Almeria to the United Kingdom, and help transport fruit, tomatoes and other vegetables from the Northern shores of Africa and the Eastern Mediterraenean to the countries of the E.U, alongside tropical vegetables form the far East and West. All without worrying about significant product deterioration or losses.

These, and other topics, are covered in the Escola’s Technical Course on Temperature Controlled Transport. For more information about the upcoming edition, you can head to the course page, or contact us as info@escolaeuropea.eu.

Want to know more? Check out these additional resources:

Infographic: Why Real-Time Data Matters to the Maritime Industry

Big Data is a field that extracts and analyses data from data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software. But why does it matter to the maritime industry? For this month’s #DidYouKnow series we have prepared an infographic that details the main concepts that surround real-time data and maritime transport. 

Curious to know more? These and many other concepts are covered in our Motorways of the Sea course. Contact us to find out what are the upcoming courses this year.

Why real-time data matters to the maritime industry 1/2 Why real-time data matters to the maritime industry 2/2
Shipping operations are becoming increasingly automatised

Beyond 2020

Marta Miquel

Written by: Marta Miquel – Chief Business Officer at the Escola Europea Intermodal Transport

As we close 2020, we can reflect on the fact that the year has been far from what we expected it to be. It is obvious that the pandemic, which began to ravage our societies in 2019 but fully accelerated in March of 2020, has brought our daily lives to a standstill, and has therewith marked a before and, above all, an after in our personal and professional lives, in the way we do business and in the way our sector has to face the future from now on.

Although it seems that the year will end with significant economic pitfalls for many companies, it is not all bleak. It is now evident that the virus  will have also contributed significantly towards the advancement of various key aspects of the logistics-port community: the digitalisation of the sector, the resilience of the services and its commitment to the environment. These are all strategic lines of work to which Covid-19 has given a boost and in which, now more than ever, it is necessary to continue working in the training circle of those who are working in the sector and future professionals, equipping them with the (potentially new) appropriate skills.

As an essential sector, the logistics-port community has been able to rise to the unusual occasion. It showed that the specialisation of companies contributes to quality solutions and, in this case, adapts accurately and rapidly to shifting realities. This requires teams of people with extensive knowledge of the logistics sector and international trade and who, despite being knowledgeable about the different branches or disciplines of trade, must be constantly re-trained to offer services that meet the needs of society and the evolution of the sector. These can range from the most theoretical aspects, which help to develop operations correctly, to teamwork abilities and digital literacy, which would ensure the proper and efficient use of new digital tools.

It cannot be denied that our community has already been working for decades towards the digitalisation of processes for the integration of operations at local levels and the facilitation of communications at international levels, and that the creation of Port Community Systems and the integration of maritime-port single windows have greatly sped up the interaction between the community’s actors. However, it is necessary to continue to move towards systems which allow the integration not only of port processes but also of elements of all facets of international trade and of the supply chain. For example, the use of digital documentation or single customs windows could be further developed and implemented universally across the European region. This is only the first step towards a sector in which not only data is exchanged, but also treated as “big data” and where added value can be obtained from the information collected for the improvement of the efficiency of our operations, making use of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

These digital improvements will help companies and their workers optimise resources, be more efficient and, consequently, reduce the impact of operations on society and the environment. However, we do not have to leave these decisions to one algorithm or one machine alone. New guidelines such as the GREEN DEAL and the proposed climate law at European level mean that environmental concerns are increasingly linked to our economy and our sector, calling for more intermodality, new fuels and alternate energy sources, and the application of stricter standards. The transport sector, considered to be one of the sectors with the greatest impact on the environment, will have to adapt to the restrictions on the limits of emissions. It is essential that the actors of our community are aware of both the impact they generate and the possibility of protecting the environment from additional emissions with the decisions they make. Once again, training becomes a key tool to provide all those involved in operations with the means to calculate and diminish this impact, which ranges from efficient truck driving to calculating and assessing emissions.

In this line, the Mediterranean project YEP MED puts these three main axes of relay in the front lens when the sector needs it the most. The project, led by the Escola Europea, will receive approximately 3 million euros in funding from the European Union (90% of its overall costs). It aims to align the needs of the logistics-port sector with the training of the sector participants, all through a training modality centred around a virtual lab, and ultimately improving employability in the sector. Focusing on young people NEETs and women, the project looks to advance our sector in the Mediterranean beyond 2020.

Thanks to the involvement of 8 logistics communities in the North and South of the Mediterranean, the region will be able to move towards a future with less unemployment, more digitalisation, less inequality between genders, and a greater reduction in emissions, demonstrating that the sector not only adapts to any situation, but also provides alternatives which make the logistics-port communities more committed to the economic, social and environmental progress.

You, as one of our Alumni, have decided to be part of this community, and it’s now your turn to make it happen.

The Environment

Transport and the Environment

With Coronavirus, it may seem that sustainable transport took a back seat to the more immediate consequences of the health crisis. In reality, however, this is not the case. Ports, shipping companies, freight forwarders, rail operators, and logistic operators all continue to look for solutions to the difficulties caused by the national lockdowns whilst tackling emissions and greenifying transport solutions.

This month we have caught up with one of our own professors – José Francisco Vidal. With the Escola since its founding, José Francisco was the head of the Shortsea Promotion Centre Spain before retiring and continuing to contribute to the field through consulting services. Below you can read his thoughts on the current situation of transport through an environmental lens.

José Francisco Vidal

Written by: José Francisco Vidal

Logistics and transport have proven to be essential services during the current pandemic. By proving their resilience to the supply of basic goods for members society that have been moved to their homes, and characterised by their effectiveness, transport and logistics operators have demonstrated their efficiency and reliability.

But transport must not only be efficient and reliable, it must be sustainable and, to do so, it must take its efforts a step further to care for the environment.

According to EU data, transport in Europe is the second emitter of greenhouse gases, with 24.6% of the total emissions recorded. It is also the second CO2 emitter, with nearly a thrid (29.7%) of the total emissions in the region.

The EU targets for this year, prior to Covid-19, were 20/20/20 – 20% greenhouse gas reduction, 20% increase in renewable energy use (in the case of transport by 10%) and 20% improvement in energy efficiency.

While overall emission reduction targets appear to have been met, individuals in the transport sector are further behind. The situation is even grimmer when looking at air transport.

The targets for the next decade are even more ambitious, reducing greenhouse emissions by 40%, increasing the share of renewable energy by 32%, and improving energy efficiency by 32.5%.

The contribution to these objectives of all segments of transport must undoubtedly be accelerated, not only in order to comply with the EU rules in force, but also for their own competitiveness.

Energy Efficiency

In terms of energy efficiency, new, more aerodynamic and hydrodynamic designs can be expected. These will vary across the means and modes. We can expect to see more efficient engines and more efficient maintenance systems. Using new technologies, especially intelligent transport systems (ITSs), transport operators will be able to improve the energy efficiency of their infrastructures and their vehicles.

In the field of maritime transport, energy efficiency goes through more hydrodynamic hulls, more efficient propellers, fairings and more effective paints.

Clean(er) Air

In terms of reducing emissions, strategies in land transport focus on the use of alternative fuels and the use of hybrid and electric motors. While in urban transport the use of LNG is spreading successfully, in the transport of goods it still faces resistance, caused in part by the lack of adequate supply infrastructures. Instead, urban transport has successfully began using mixtures of synthetic products or new catalysts. Current research also has progressed in the field of the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel, both liquefied and gas-shaped, although sadly its price and high volatility do not appear to place it on the nearby horizon. Closer is the use of biofuels.

The use of hybrid and electric motors has seen advances only in the field of private vehicles. What public policies around freight transport have tried to do instead is to attempt to reduce road transport routes using intermodal systems, which lower environmental impact in combinations of road-rail, road-sea and rail-maritime.

We must not forget to mention here the maintenance of road infrastructures, which plays an important role in energy consumption and therefore contributes to higher or lower emissions.

As far as emission reduction is concerned, the main bet in ports is on the electrification of the docks to supply the energy needed to the ships’ when moored in ports. In navigation the maintenance of fossil fuels requires the use of lighter ones, such as Diesel oil, and for heavier fuels the use of low Sulphur, including the use of filters for exhausting gases, i.e. either fresh water or seawater scrubbers. Hybrid motorizations are also being used.

The use of alternative fuels is already advancing at a safe pace. Re-motorizations such as those undertaken in Spain by Balearia for the use of LNG seem to work well. Other fuels under study and testing are Ethanol, Propane and Biodiesel. Looking ahead, the sights are set on the use of hydrogen, although there are still many doubts to dissolve and a long way to go to make it less dangerous and more competitive.

I finish with the use of new technologies to improve transport performance. Operators have already began using route optimization, improved operating and maintenance systems, etc. and began, using Big Data, Blockchain and IoT to address operability, transparency and sustainability issues. The road ahead for 2020s is tough, but with concentrated efforts from transport professionals, researchers and policy makers, it will be possible to slow climate change. We must all act now! Let us embark on this difficult task together.

Smart Cities

What does living in smart cities mean for privacy?

In the 2000s we are witnessing an exponential growth of the use of information technologies – smart cities or smart ports are becoming the norm. These are slowly pervading all aspects of modern life, including smart refrigerators, smart doorbells, smart plugs, smart bathrooms, etc. The revolution has also affected a larger societal section, with smart cities and smart ports also gaining traction in progress. We have already talked about certain smart technologies that affect port operations, such as Digital Twins, Drones and Smart Containers. Nevertheless, we haven’t yet asked the question: What does this spread of smart technologies mean for us as individuals?

This month, we have caught up with Brad Smith from Turn on VPN to talk about what these advancements mean for our privacy.

If you would like to know more about what VPNs are, check out the guide written by VPN Thrive.

Then, have a look at the article by Brad Smith, reproduced below: 

 

Written by: Brad Smith

Written by: Brad Smith

The idea behind a smart city is one where technology is extensively used to improve the quality of life of people living in an urban area and ease the provision of everyday services. This can mean sophisticated connectivity across the city, automated systems, highly available online resources and so much more.

However, this kind of setup also comes with a few challenges that aren’t normally so pronounced in a traditional city with privacy being the biggest one. How does living in a modern city affect people’s rights to privacy especially in places where privacy laws are not that strict?

Smart cities trends and their privacy implications

There are certainly many components that make a modern smart city in 2020, especially the ones that are built from the ground up. However, three of them do stand out in the way they affect your privacy as you go about your day to day life. Also, keep in mind that some of these technologies have been heavily deployed in traditional cities.

Increased citywide public surveillance and tracking

There is a lot of interest in using citywide public surveillance systems in smart cities across the world. These technologies have especially taken centerstage in the Middle East, China, and some European countries. Sophisticated public surveillance and tracking technologies are being deployed in smart cities to help the authorities in enforcement efforts and for other reasons.

However, such technologies, though useful in some places, do raise a lot of questions in the way they are deployed and how they are used especially with privacy and personal freedom in focus. Indeed, the debate around citywide surveillance has attracted some fair amount of controversy with some progressive governments even going as far as banning the use of these technologies in public.

Citywide connectivity and high-speed internet

The rolling out of 5G and other connectivity solutions in smart cities is integral to their development. A smart city without a stable, high-speed internet that is accessible to everyone is not a smart city. Today, even traditional cities that are trying to transition into modern cities have put a lot of resources into communication technologies such as 5G, public Wi-Fi, and other supporting infrastructure.

Government services moving to the cloud 

A smart city must have a big percentage of government services available via the internet. Indeed, most smart city projects today are geared towards moving entire government services to the cloud. This of course means an increase in data collection.

Increased popularity of smart ports

Another smart city trend is the invention of smart ports. A smart port is one that makes use of automation and innovative technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, and Big Data to improve performance. The industry of container shipping and ports has been slow on the uptake in embracing change. Still, new systems, solutions, and technologies are emerging that will change the face of shipping in the future, ensuring the sector is more connected than ever before.

The smart port aims to generate transparent and efficient services that add value to the clients. An intelligent port features automated management of all entries and exits at the terminals, monitoring, and managing queues. The smart port removes the need for paperwork during container deliveries and collections, as well as automatic lighting.

In port cities like Montreal, emerging technologies provide useful real-time data for lorries to help them plan their trips and avoid traffic congestions, and lower carbon emissions.

This real-time data and smart sensors go a long way in monitoring crucial infrastructure, enabling the port operators to schedule predictive maintenance and reduce the need for yearly inspections. The data from the sensors, such as pile head sensors in the quays, allows the ports to track the eventual tear and tear and track the impact of cargo yet to be unloaded.

Privacy concerns over today’s smart cities

All of the technologies being deployed in smart cities today require the collection of data on a large scale. This, as expected, raises a lot of questions in terms of privacy going forward for people living in these so-called smart cities. How do you ensure that your right to privacy isn’t lost when everything’s made to collect your data?

Ways to protect your privacy

One way to stay private is to use tools like a VPN or encrypted messaging software. One of the major functions of VPNs is to encrypt your data and online traffic. This is especially important when you want to stay anonymous while connecting to public networks. With a messaging app that offers end-to-end encryption, you can also keep your conversations private.

There is no doubt that living in a smart city is more convenient and sustainable than in a traditional one. As you enjoy all the benefits that come with the advanced connectivity in these urban dwellings, don’t forget the importance of staying private.

Institutional panel - YEP MED Kick Off Meeting

EU-funded YEP MED project to provide employment opportunities for the Mediterranean youth

The 9th of September 2020 became the official start date of the project “Youth Employment in the Ports of the Mediterranean“, or YEP MED in short. The project, co-financed by the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) of the European Union and led by the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport (Spain), aims to develop port-logistics training and vocational (TVET) resources adapted to sector needs to strengthen youth employability; increase and upgrade local employment opportunities through the creation of real dual-learning programmes with job placements, strengthening the role of SME’s operating in the port ecosystems for future employment creation; and setting up collaborative national and transnational partnerships between port-logistics associations, operators, SMEs, training centres and VET providers, whilst introducing a public-private partnership (PPP) co-management process.

Between the 7th and the 8th of October, the project kicked off by bringing together representatives of the partner companies and stakeholders in a virtually-held international event. On the 7th of October, presidents of the participating public authorities and private entities gave their own analyses and outlooks on the logistic and transport sectors in the region. The second day of the conference was dedicated to meetings between the partners to lay down the groundwork for the months ahead.

“The digitalisation, environmental and sustainability aspects are currently a priority for all ports and port logistics communities.  Operations are also analyzed from the point of view of their impact. New generations must understand the impact of their decisions on the environment and must design sustainable logistics chains.” – Eduard Rodés, Director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

“For us you are not a common strategic project, because you are one of the best scored ever project submitted. We have very high expectations of you. It’s the first project on ports and it’s not easy to succeed. It’s impressive because you are gathering competitors and it is still a major achievement for the programme. You are here to cooperate in something so important as it is training.” – Vincent Ernoux, Coordinator of branch Office in Valencia Antena, representing the managing Authority of the ENI CBCMED Programme.

 

About YEP MED

 

YEP MED Logo

YEP MED logo

Counting with the participation of 11 partners from Spain, Italy, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, including public administrations such as Port de Barcelona (Spain), Autorità Portuale Mar Tirreno Centro Settentrionale (Italy), Port de Marseille-Fos (France), Damieta Port Authority (Egypt), Office de la Marine Marchande et des Ports (Tunisia), Aqaba Development Corporation (Jordan) and Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut (Lebanon), as well as training centres in each of the countries such as the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport and Fundación Valenciaport (Spain),  Arab Academy (Egypt) and Institut Méditerranéen de Formation aux Métiers Maritimes (Tunisia), the project will strengthen the networks between the different countries and build the young employment sector across the Mediterranean basin. Associated entities, such as MEDPorts Association and Consell Valencià de la Joventut will also join the project.

YEP MED project was approved under the ENI CBC MED Programme call for strategic projects in 2019. It is 90% co-financed by the European Union funds, and will receive 2.9 M€ throughout its 30-month duration. During the project implementation phase, the partners and associates of the project will create virtual courses and carry out trainings for both trainers and trainees, while at the same time creating a stable network that will ensure that the training continues after the end of the project, ensuring equal opportunities for women and for young people in the years to come. For more information, you can contact Concha Palacios at the project office, citing YEP MED in the subject line.

 

*This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union under the ENI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union or the Programme management structures. 

Innovation and Digitisation

Innovation and digitisation post Covid-19

As we enter a new era in the Escola’s development and begin to work on our new project YEPMED, which aims to ameliorate the labour situation for young people across the Mediterranean, we have caught up with Anwar Zibaoui to share his thoughts on the importance of collaboration and sharing of know how in the era of the 4th industrial revolution, and the digitisation and innovation that come with it. Check out the full article below. 

The YEPMED Project aims to better match the labour market skills needs and dual TVET offer in the Mediterranean Port communities sector in order to contribute to jobs creation and productive economic growth. 

 

Anwar Zibaoui

Anwar Zibaoui, chairman of ACASME and founder of AZ Meda Advisors & Consulting

Twelve years after the world financial crisis sent the economies of the developed and developing world into disarray, we are once again facing an unknown situation. An unprecedented tsunami that has confined millions of people to their homes, shaken the stock markets, forced countless businesses to close, including local markets and restaurants and emptied our streets, paralyzing our economies. Historical precedents tell us that such a situation could significantly alter political and economic systems, reconfigure ideas and theories, and impose radical changes to our lifestyles.

In this case, the unexpected allies have been innovation and digital technology, which helped alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on individuals, businesses and governments. In the midst of the chaos, a new era set in the digital world is emerging, and with it creating new opportunities. Nevertheless the benefits of technology are not equally distributed, as more than 3.6 billion people on the planet still do not have access to the Internet. In the informal economy, teleworking does not exist. For millions of children, access to online education is a remote dream.

It is time to coordinate our reaction to the new challenges, because innovation and digitalisation are here to stay. Their implementation has accelerated exponentially and there is no turning back now. It has changed the way we work, learn, buy or socialise. We must be prepared for the so-called new normality.

Never before has the digital agenda been as necessary and vital as it is now. It is not only an immediate response to the measures taken to combat the virus, but it is also indispensable to research and innovation. The current economic models are breathless because of the speed of change. We are in the era of globalisation, climate change, pandemics, digital transformation, the collaborative economy, urban concentration and the depopulation of the rural world. All of these represent many changes that governments all across the globe are struggling to regulate. However, these also highlight new divergences and polarizations between economies and societies. This is why new responses are needed.

There is no doubt that technological change threatens jobs, but it can also create alternatives. Relations at work, between companies, employees, services, mobility… are evolving. The only key to progress is to improve innovation and education. As in everything else, the future of Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean lies in adapting, sharing experiences and moving forward together.

Following the current model, Mediterranean governments are focusing on job creation rather than on business creation. This is an outdated model that consists of launching massive public employment programmes instead of financing and investing in successful businesses that create jobs. It is clear that economic progress is directly related to training, research and innovation activities, and that there is a correlation between social progress and business activities.

The life cycle of companies should demonstrate to many countries that the secret of eternal youth is constant innovation. Governments need to balance expenditures and invest in tangible infrastructure such as roads, railways or ports. However, they must also invest in intangibles such as education, research and development. R&D is the key driver for building and consolidating a knowledge economy and implementing a culture of creativity in which young people are inspired, transform their ideas, raise their ambitions and pursue their dreams.

Entrepreneurship and the private sector can drive adaptation to technology and innovation, be the vehicle to engage young people and move forward. We must promote a new mental framework, a new attitude, harnessing the energy of young people, and fresh ideas, because these are the ones that bring opportunities. Innovation is a lever for value creation because it transforms the way we do business and has a multiplier effect on the growth of a nation and its companies.

Innovation is the way to growth and survival. It is the model for the promotion of a company or a country. Technology is already here, but by itself it is not the answer. It is a facilitator and accelerator of new ways of being and doing. To be able to create wealth and ensure a future, innovation is not an option, it is a necessity.

The Mediterranean region will have to create hundreds of millions of new jobs over the next three decades. This challenge presents an opportunity for the region to transform its economies and harness the creativity of its large youth population and the disruptive power of technology to create wealth.

Whether we like it or not, production lines will require less and less manpower thanks to more efficient machines, automation and robotics. In addition, the next wave will bring more artificial intelligence, 3D printing and new capabilities that will make additional manual labour redundant. We already know that 8 out of 10 jobs will be lost due to new technologies (not immigration or globalization), that 64% of the jobs that exist today will be automated, and that 66% of the jobs for the next 10 years have not yet been invented.

The transition to the fourth industrial revolution, combined with a crisis of governance, makes it imperative to thoroughly reconsider human capital and adapt education to the labour market in order to achieve prosperity and stability. New digital technologies generate a new competitiveness that, for the moment, does not apply to many Mediterranean countries. For the region, a successful transition would guarantee business competitiveness and be a determining factor for regional industrial consolidation. Doing nothing is a risk of negative impact on its future growth and productivity.

In our region, the most immediate economic challenge is not diversification or new tax regimes, but the creation of productive and sustainable jobs for the youth. At the same time, we must be equipped with the combination of talents and skills that will make industry 4.0 a generator of wealth and social peace. We must be concerned about the level of training of the workforce and its quantitative and qualitative nature. The factors that today allow us to better evaluate it are the development of the digital culture, the skills and the capacity to think creatively.

The region has an enormous human capital waiting to be developed. Education, the promotion of the private sector and an understanding of this technological revolution will be key ingredients for success. This is a complex task that will require a broad social consensus and determined action by governments.

The digital potential is unlimited. This represents an opportunity for the Mediterranean. A large market with rapid growth. A hub of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Young people have the resources to find solutions to pressing problems.

Leaving the Mediterranean behind in the digital transformation is not an option. The pace of the fourth industrial revolution will wait for no one. As the United States and Asia move forward, Europe and the Mediterranean need to forge their own identity. Today the imbalance is obvious, and everything that prevents an improvement in innovative capacity is conditioning the future.

The main key to innovation is training. Companies that invest in their employees to provide them with the right knowledge are the ones that grow. Governments must do the same, improving qualifications and promoting innovation in all key sectors of the economy and in the education system. If they stop betting on the education of the new generations, they will condemn them to depend on others for life.

There is a great need for a new platform of collaboration that brings together governments with businesses and other actors interested in public-private cooperation in the Mediterranean, facilitating a progressive dialogue that understands and respects the values and culture of the region. Investment in young people is needed to unlock the demographic dividend in an area where the interests of governments, the private sector and international organizations are fully aligned. This requires joint action by all today, to ensure a prosperous region tomorrow.

This crisis will pass, but we must not forget that innovation and digitalisation are the path to survival and development, the fuel for constant progress and the model for the rise of a company, a nation or a region.

Article published in its original form can be found here.

Porto di Civitavecchia

The Port Community of Civitavecchia post Covid-19: What’s next?

Marco Muci

Co-written by: Marco Muci, Escola Europea Intermodal Transport

Lidia Slawinska

Co-written by: Lidia Slawinska, Consultant for the Escola Europea

The year 2020 is slowly cementing its place in the history books as the year that the world stopped. The health, social and economic consequences of this year will be felt throughout both the developed and developing world well into the middle of the decade. Transport, the backbone of the consumer-driven industry that existed pre-Covid19 is undergoing a major shift. This can be said of both, freight and passenger transport. As we approach the autumn, and the start of our fall courses, we wanted to evaluate the situation in our partner ports. In this post Marco Muci, the Escola’s Country Manager for Italy, took a look at the current situation in the Port of Civitavecchia, and the outlook for its future.

The current crisis triggered by the spread of Covid-19 has caused tremendous consequences for the port of Civitavecchia and, subsequently the city itself;  much more than other ports in Italy. The root cause is quite simple: unlike many other ports that base their economy on the movement of goods, Civitavecchia bases its work mainly on the transport of passengers (both in cruises and ferries). All this was clearly demonstrated by this crisis, in which the total disappearance of tourism resulted in profound crises for shipping agencies, freight forwarders, port companies, guides, NCC companies and bus companies. More than half of the workforce of the port community is currently in layoffs, pending the end of the state of emergency.

To combat the aftermath that will result from this economic downturn, various proposals have been made by the stakeholders involved (by the association of shipping agencies in particular), to try to give a future to the port and its workers. Some of the more noteworthy ones are:

  • Mitigating the liquidity crisis of companies to cover the entire lockdown period at minimum. This is considered to be the fundamental issue to be solved in order to stabilize (and reverse the downward trend in) employment levels and revenue shortfalls of companies;
  • Reducing the burdens on companies by mitigating the tax wedge and introducing tax relief for companies that are committed to maintaining employment levels;

Simplifying the bureaucratic procedures that slow down the fluidity, and sometimes cause blockages, of goods and ultimately aim for a future based on automatized logistics processes and controls;

  • Increase the number of quays servicing container traffic in the immediate aftermath of the crisis whilst the passenger sector remains stagnant, and prepare other quays to take over once tourism is re-established in the coming years.
  • The Association of Shipping Agencies has proposed that, to minimize the consequences of the crisis, the costs related to the unloading / embarkation of goods should be reduced. A decrease in the rates of boarding / disembarkation fees would benefit the process of relaunching the port. Similarly, they have proposed an experimental reduction of the monthly anchorage tax amounts, which would result in a lower cost of the ‘port system’, making the port of Civitavecchia potentially more attractive;
  • A modernization of the existing docks, which would benefit the trades and the companies and improve the movement of goods;
  • The completion of the Simplified Logistics Zone, which would lead the way for a renewed interest in the port, increase the credibility of the port and its logistics system, and have significant effects for the territory through the exemption of VAT and duties for non-EU goods. Promoting Simplified Logistics Zone will attract industrial investment and revitalize international trade.
Port of Civitavecchia

The Port of Civitavecchia

Civitavecchia is now at a crossroads following the tremendous effects that coronavirus has had on the country as whole. Whilst waiting for the much coveted “European Recovery Fund”, which will give a breath of fresh air – so to speak – and a boost to one of the most affected economies in the world, the country can turn to one of the most effective solutions to recover and innovate – education. In 2019 the Escola Europea has opened its Italian headquarters at the premises of the Port Authority of Civitavecchia, investing in the potential of the port and the territory itself. In line with its ideals and goals, the Escola has already launched various projects and is preparing others that are about to begin – all designed to help develop the region. Its flagship – the MOST Italy course for professionals – is now in its sixth consecutive year. The course is an advanced training initiative for professionals that focuses on the Motorways of the Sea, and the promotion of intermodal transport as a base for sustainable transport chains of the future. This year’s edition will take place on board of a Grimaldi Lines Ro-Pax from 10 to 13 October 2020 on a crossing between Civitavecchia and Barcelona. During the training participants will have the opportunity to experience sustainable intermodal maritime logistics and the motorways of the sea first-hand, with ample networking opportunities provided to foster professional relationships that will last once the course is over.

Another project that the Escola has launched last year, which was welcomed by the training institutes and the Municipality itself, is “Formati al Porto”. This initiative, sponsored by key national associations, aims to bring students closer to the Port of Civitavecchia and its port community.  It is exclusively offered to university students, ITS students and those attending the last year of their high schools with study paths related to transport, logistics, circular and international economies. In this context, “Formati al Porto” will help today’s students – future professionals – acquire knowledge of the professions of the logistics sector, with a particular focus on maritime activities and intermodal transport. Ultimately the project will lead to a better technical preparation of the students, which will have an impact on the employability index of the participants.

The Port Network Authorities predict that the ports will be the ones to kickstart the recovery of the Italian economy. In the meantime the Port Authority of Centre-North Tyrrhenian Sea (of which the Port of Civitavecchia is part of) can move from the comprehensive network to the core network, a shift which would guarantee access to new resources and future possibilities to the port that serves as the gateway to the eternal city of Rome.

Final thoughts…

Milton Friedman, an American economist and a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate, once said that “only a crisis – real or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around”. The Italian peninsula was hit very hard by the health emergency, and it is now that we will begin to see whether any real change (societal or industrial) will take place. The Port Authority of the Centre-North Tyrrhenian Sea has a tough and uncertain path ahead – with a potential shift towards freight-focused operations and the investment in infrastructures that would kickstart the economic recovery of the region. The ideas area certainly rampant – with sustainable transport options and innovative solutions to terminal operations available to all. Education is the key to identify and implement many of these changes – and it is in our hands to produce real change and make sure that the tragedy of Covid-19 has some positive outcomes.

Sources

Towards gender equality at sea

Historically, the shipping industry has been dominated by men, and the sea has been deemed a “man’s world”. This pattern can still be witnessed today, with a larger percentage of male workers hired for onboard positions when compared to the low percentage of female employees. In fact, only around 2 percent of the world’s seafarers are women, with the vast majority (94%) employed in the cruise industry. Long months at sea, complemented by hard physical labour have driven this trend and made it difficult for women to join the crews of international tankers, containerships, etc and to balance out gender equality.

Today, there are organisations that work towards the normalization of women in shipping – with the IMO having launched several initiatives. One such initiative was setting the theme for the 2019 World Maritime Day as “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”– and so providing a unique opportunity to raise awareness of gender equality and to give visibility to the contributions of maritime women all over the world. Similarly, since 2015, the European Neighbourhood Instrument has put special focus on gender equality and the economic empowerment of women on both shores of the Mediterranean, and has been working with projects that give light to the incredible work of women in Europe and Africa.  The Union for the Mediterranean itself has dedicated a vast amount of their social and civic work towards the empowerment of women, developing the employability of women in Africa, and WOMED, which aims to prepare the next generation of leaders.

Nevertheless, the shipping industry is not only composed of seafarers– it also comprises a whole network of professionals that design, build and manage on shore operations. Let us take a look at the situation in more detail.

Women at sea

The issue of gender equality in shipping is a very complex one, and has been on the radar of many international organizations for years (with a particular boost following the women’s rights movements that gained momentum in the late 2010s). In 2019, the IMO has tried to push the promotion of women at sea and begun to investigate the roots of any gender-related incidents. The studies have identified instances of sexual assaults and abuse directed at women on board of deep-sea shipping routes – in line with the general trend identified across many other industries following the rise of the #MeToo movement. Nevertheless, this has not been the principal barrier to getting more women to join crews onboard. “At the end of the day, it is all about equality – the work on board of a vessel is physically demanding. Even with the advances in automation, a lot of hard work still has to be done by the crew, and stamina and physical strength are a must! Women at sea should, of course, feel safe and comfortable, and at the same time pull in the same amount of work as the men crew members”, commented Vanessa Bexiga, a maritime engineer and seafarer herself. Routes with more frequent port calls are easier for everyone, as they help diffuse physical and psychological tensions between the crew members, and are more appealing for women seafarers.

Photo of Seafarer Daniela Andrade from the Ecuadorian Coast Guard #MaritimeWomenPhotoShare

Another issue identified by Bexiga is the lack of transparency and publicity visible in the shipping industry, which is the true barrier. Maritime news and developments almost always stay within the maritime sector, and do not transcend the social strata of the broader society. As a result, there is no true reference which can serve as an entry point for women to become interested enough to try to enter the maritime world – something that would need to change to put the profession on the radar of young women contemplating their future employment options.

Cruises are another story – in the last few years Celebrity Cruises in particular has taken on the leadership role in the promotion of women and sea, and began to push for the employment of women at sea. The most famous example is the advancement of Kate McCue to the role of Captain on the bridge of Celebrity Summit in 2015 (you can follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/captainkatemccue/?hl=en). She is now the captain of Celebrity Edge, and has gone down in history as the first American woman (and fifth overall) to have been given the command of a mega cruise ship. Last year Celebrity Cruises became the first company to boast of an all-female officer crew – further helping combat the perception that sea work is a man’s job. Visibility is key in normalizing the role of female seafarers, and to this end, the IMO has started the #MaritimeWomenPhotoShare hashtag – to make women seen both within the maritime community, and in the social media and news reports. You can check out the existing photo bank here: flickr.com/photos/imo-un/sets/72157713420624662/

Achieving complete gender equality is a long process, and it will take small and decisive steps to get there. It is not a sprint, but a marathon, and we are moving in the right direction.

Women on shore

Women on shore is a completely different story – as they are not faced with the same barriers as women on board. The months-long isolation is not a factor, and theoretically barriers shouldn’t exist for women who want to advance in the sector. As with many sectors, however, this is not the case. Women still get overlooked for promotions, and frequently aren’t trusted with positions of higher responsibility. Moreover, having children is a career-ender for a woman at sea, and it also affects the perception of the availability of a woman on shore.

It is not all bleak. Marta Miquel, the Chief Operations Officer at the Escola Europea, has noticed that many companies are realizing that women hold management skills that help enterprises relate better to current social trends, digitalization patterns and human resource management through the use of analytical thinking and pragmatism, with added touches of empathy and social sensibility. Automation in terminals has made it possible for employers to look for soft skills in their new hires – with the ability to speak English being at the top of the desired list – and the high number of female university graduates has made it possible for women to slowly even out the gender imbalance in the sector.  This is supported by the fact that the Escola Europea, a training center specialized in transport and logistics and founded in 2004, has noticed a significant growth in the presence of women in the industry. 50% of registrations for the training courses of the Escola come from female participants, who find themselves in the 18-22-year-old age group.

This balance is not evident in the Escola’s courses organized for executives, where the percentage of women is significantly lower. This could be seen in a positive and negative light, says Miquel: “The good news is that women at a young age are becoming empowered and seduced by this interesting industry. However, the bad news is that they do not get the chance to escalate as quickly as men, or get discouraged when accessing the sector.”

Maritime Associations for Women’s rights:

 

Officer Nkopuyo Abraham – photo by IMO #MaritimeWomenPhotoShare

If you are interested in this topic, take a look at the many different women’s right associations and capacity building programmes that are dedicated towards gender equality. The Women in Maritime Associations has launched a number of them, as listed on the WIMA’s website:

  • The WMU (World Maritime University) Women’s Association (WMUWA) aims to establish a network of past, current and prospective female students by expanding international networks with other organizations worldwide while planning for future growth: http://wmuwa.wmu.se/
  • Pacific Women in Maritime Association (PacWIMA) set up in Fiji in February 2004 and relaunched in Tonga in April 2016. (http://www.pacwima.org)
  • Network of Professional Women in the Maritime and Port Sectors for West and Central Africa launched in Benin in February 2007.
  • Association for Women in the Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa region (WOMESA) established in Kenya in December 2007. (http://womesa.org)
  • Women in Maritime Association, Asia (WIMA Asia) established in January 2010 and relaunched in the Philippines in 2015. (https://www.facebook.com/wimaasia/)
  • Women in Maritime Association, Caribbean (WiMAC) set up in Jamaica in April 2015. (http://wimacaribbean.com)
  • Arab Women in Maritime Association  (AWIMA) established in Egypt in October 2017 (http://www.arabwima.org/en/home)
  • Red de Mujeres de Autoridades Marítimas de Latinoamérica (Red-MAMLa), established in Chile in December 2017.
  • WISTA, formed in 1974, and connects female executives and decision-makers around the world- https://wistainternational.com/

This article has only touched the tip of the iceberg that is the topic of women in shipping. In the past 5 years a lot of progress has been made to improve the disparity that exists between the two genders. Although more work has to be done, we are going in the correct direction. “It needs to start in schools! I used to go to schools to talk about my experience as a seafarer and present it as an opportunity for young girls. The sea is my life, and I want to share it with young girls and boys alike. Historically it hasn’t been accepted as a profession for women, and this is why we need to educate the youth and normalize it for young girls. It is no longer only a fool’s dream – women are sailing the seas, and show no signs of slowing down,” concludes Bexiga.

Special thanks to Vanessa Bexiga and Marta Miquel for their contributions to this editorial.

Written by

  • Lidia Slawinska

 

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