DidYouKnow posts related to Mediterranean projects, including TransLogMed and YEPMED

The Ports of Rome and Lazio, the Italian “Community” boosting the training of logistics operators of the future

Guiliana Satta

Written by: Giuliana Satta, Port Authority of Civitavecchia

At a difficult and uncertain time such as the one linked to the pandemic crisis due to Covid-19, projects such as “Youth Employment in the Ports of the Mediterranean” are of fundamental importance, especially in view of the messages, at the European level, that are becoming the basis for the future and that are at the heart of the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Today, more than ever, it is necessary to reverse development models and in every sector. And this is what is being done through the YEP MED project, co-financed by the European Union’s ENI and led by the Escola Europea, and in which the Port System Authority of the Central-Northern Tyrrhenian Sea is the only Italian partner present. With the contribution of the entire local port logistics community, which was formed last March following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, the project aims to increase and improve employment opportunities through the creation of real dual learning programmes with job placements, therewith strengthening the role of Small and Medium Enterprises operating in port ecosystems for future jobs creation.

The port of Civitiavecchia

In today’s historical moment, the Italian Port Authority is focusing on specific training of human capital to increase the skills of each individual port operator. To ensure that this can happen, it is essential to strengthen cooperation between actors who, on a voluntary basis, as happened with the creation of the Port Logistics Community (‘Community’), a. re willing to build a common strategy to contribute to the competitiveness of the entire port system in Lazio through the development of professionalism. Together with the “Community”, the Ports of Rome and Lazio will be able to build a global strategy in relation to the development and training of human resources that will have to be in line with the new demands of the labour market. To achieve these objectives, they are working closely with specialised training institutions to develop appropriate training programmes and establishing national and transnational partnerships with members of other port communities to exchange knowledge and best and most suitable practices.

The “Community”, made up of operators, associations and institutions, will hold regular meetings which will be coordinated by the representatives of the Port Authority. This will be done on the basis of a programme that will incorporate an annual calendar and a list of training activities. The sectors in which the Port Authority will focus on will concern Ro/Ro cargo traffic and the reception of large container ships in particular, with the YEP MED project aiming to play a major role in this new phase of maritime transport and logistics.

Container traffic at the Port of Civitavecchia has been consistently growing

Another important element in this initiative of the Ports of Rome and Lazio is a view to create new and foster existing commercial links with the countries of North Africa, with the ultimate aim of better improving the cooperation between the ports of the North and South of the Mediterranean. The entire port community believes in this interesting project, which incorporates 11 partners representing 7 countries from around the Mediterranean – an area in which the port of Civitavecchia is aiming to foster growth in the coming years. Today, in order to assess the growth and strength of a port, human capital is a fundamental element: it is the actions, energy, skills, strength and enthusiasm of the people that make the difference in successful port operations. Hence the importance of the YEP MED project. Vocational and educational training are essential for the training of the workforce, particularly the technical and highly specialised workforce that should live and gravitate in and around ports. For this reason, it is necessary to develop increasingly articulated professionalism in relation to the transformations imposed on shipping and logistics by the computerisation and digitalisation of processes, which will bring about more radical changes in the next five years than those that have taken place in the last 50 years. Therefore, having a high level of professionalism today and training young people will allow us to have a growing human capital for the next 30/35 years, with prepared professionals who will be protagonists of the positive change.

Clean fuels, electrification, water and hydrogen – How are ports handling energy transitions?

Written by Lidia Slawinska

Written by: Lidia Slawinska, Consultant

Over the past few months, a lot of our articles have focused on sustainable solutions in intermodal transport – whether they were connected to port operations, maritime transport or port-railway solutions. Focusing on alternative and clean energy solutions is vital, in particular in light of this summer’s heat waves, floods, and other weather phenomena which are gaining in strength every year. The European Union has recently renewed its dedication to the Green Deal, committing itself to substantially lowering the carbon emissions of the EU by an extremely ambitious 55% by 2030, and to eliminate net emissions by 2050. Taken together, all of this suggests that sustainability needs to take centre stage in all of our transport operations if we are to meet those goals and help protect our Blue planet.

The Escola is committed to promoting sustainable transport and incorporates its principles to all of its courses – and this is why this month we wanted to touch upon one of those. The upcoming course on Energy Transitions in Ports will take place in October of this year, and will aim to raise awareness and provide information to the management and technical staff of port authorities that are part of the MEDPorts Association on specific aspects related to energy transition in ports. However, when we talk about said “energy transition”, what do we mean?

The current climate

According to some scientific estimates (2019: The Atlantic), it is likely that sea levels will rise considerably by the end of this century, therewith putting 14% of the earth’s major ports susceptible to flooding and erosion. This is near-universally explained by the rising global temperatures, which contribute to a faster melting of the ice caps.

Maritime transport currently is responsible for about 80% of freight transported globally (by volume). As such, nearly 3% of CO2 emissions are sent into the atmosphere alone – a percentage that has increased by more than 30% in the last two decades. This characteristic of the current “golden age of oil” has had a detrimental effect on our climate already. Continuing on this same trajectory will increase this number to nearly 17% of all global emissions by the middle of our century – therewith further hastening the rise of the sea levels.

All of this suggest that leading ports need to take action now and adapt their infrastructures to offset any threats that may arise from the rising sea.

Clean fuels

When thinking about the prospect of energy transition in ports, the fuel used by the visiting vessels is central. Ships – whether they are cruises or container-carriers – need to stay in the ports they visit – to load and unload, and to re-supply. This requires the ships to stay powered whilst these operations are taking place, and ports have had to design alternative electrical systems of On-Shore Power Supplies (OPS) to lower their emissions in-port. Many ships have already started to run on new alternative fuels that have considerably smaller carbon footprints – including LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), hydrogen, ammonia and ethanol.

The vessels that operate within a port – the ones transporting the pilots or tugging the larger vessels entering the harbour – would also need to be modified. Some ports have already taken initiative such zero-emission crafts – one example being the Hydrotug boat under construction in the Port of Antwerp.

This transformation of the vessels, which also includes the capacity to be powered by the on-shore electrical or gas-powered systems, would need to be accelerated for the industry to become greener.

Electrification

As hinted in the previous section, electrification is a vital process in the energy transition of ports. Making sure that the modern ports have adequate electric facilities and technologies in place, be it through either OPS, electrified wharfs, or electric ferries or vessels that perform other port operations.

Energy production

Trying to make sure that the energy transition in ports is not a double-edged sword, which then puts increasing pressures on existing power infrastructures in their hinterlands (and therewith continue to leave a significant carbon footprint), ports also need to think about using their vicinities to generate their own power. Turning seawalls into energy producers, or having offshore wind turbines can significantly increase the Gigawatts that the ports will depend on – therewith limiting the strain on the traditional infrastructures. It is vital that ports transform their mindset and develop new technologies that can create electricity from solar power, marine power, or bioenergy. Ports will need to become electricity producers that depend on a multitude of sources to supply their operations, whilst making sure that they are doing so with limited or no emissions to comply with the emerging global regulations.

In fact, some estimates now say that by the middle of this century, industrial ports will have the capacities to generate ten times more than today. This data was presented in the DNV GL’s study on Ports: Green Gateways to Europe. The report also stated that the energy transition methods that many ports are either considering or already implementing could easily account for the increase in port activities – traffic has been consistently increasing as globalisation has driven the economies forward. In order for this to take place consistently, the report recommends 10 specific transitions that would need to take place:

  1. Electrification of port-related activities
  2. Fuel switch for maritime transport
  3. Electrification of industry
  4. Integration of offshore wind
  5. Energy system integration
  6. Hydrogen as a feedstock and energy vector
  7. Phase-out of fossil-fuelled power plants
  8. Carbon capture and storage
  9. New regulations
  10. A circular and bio-based economy

(Source: Offshore Energy)

Final thoughts

Transforming our current energy infrastructure has taken centre stage is both our political and social dimensions. The transport sector has also taken note, and many private and public entities have already taken (sometimes) drastic steps to try to lower the carbon footprint of transport. Ports, in particular, have taken note – knowing that they represent the connection between the sea and the land, and therefore need to lead in the sustainable revolution and guide both land, rail and sea transport operators on the path towards decarbonisation.

Automation and innovative technologies already exist that can help ports become energy-efficient. With new laws and guidelines already in place, including the Paris Climate Agreement, the European Green Deal, and the latest EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, the path ahead for ports is doubtlessly difficult and winding, but righteous. Smart Ports and Green Ports are now becoming synonymous with the Ports of Tomorrow. The journey forward is green, and to survive, ports need to make sure that they on it.

Sources:

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.