DidYouKnow posts related to MOST courses

Porto di Civitavecchia

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

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.

Written by:

  • Marco Muci, Country Manager for Italy – Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport
  • Lidia Slawinska, Consultant

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

 

Useful links:

#DidYouKnow – Zero emission stays in ports

Smart cities to smart ports. The Escola Europea knows how important it is to include current innovations being piloted, tested and implemented within the transport sector to counter-act climate change in its courses. Our trademark MOST course takes place on board of the Grimaldi Lines vessels Cruise Roma or Cruise Barcelona (depending on the day the courses begin). These vessels have recently undergone tremendous alternations to become the first emission-free vessels in port in the Mediterranean. Antonio Vargas, one of the MOST course regular teachers, explains their importance and relevance to the current legal and political climate within the region:

Sustainability has been the subject of debate in recent years and the awareness of some shipowners on this subject has led them to adopt many measures that in some cases are required by law, but in others arise from the concern to combat pollution generated in ports and its impact on the cities they serve.

Since the implementation of the European regulation applicable to SECA (Sulphur Emission Control Zones) zones for the reduction of emissions from ships sailing in the English Channel, Baltic Sea and North Sea, and particularly from January 2015, shipowners were forced to replace the use of fossil fuels (HSFO or LSFO) by the Marine Diesel Oil (MDO) and alternatives with a maximum permissiveness of 0.5 percent sulphur contents. This resulted in three options:

  1. Opting for the first measure with the consequent 50 percent increase in the cost of fuel;
  2. Providing ships with scrubbers that allow them to clean the ship’s exhaust gases before leaving through one of the chimneys;
  3. Significantly increasing freight rates, if the market were to accept such increases, or, in the worst case scenarios, suspending maritime services (a situation that has occurred in some cases).

In practice option b) has been chosen by the majority of shipowners, both with open cycle scrubbers and closed cycle scrubbers.

A current and demonstrative example of this situation has been the case of the shipping company Finnlines, belonging to the GRIMALDI group that planned its strategy so that all of its fleet would be equipped with scrubbers before January 2015.

“Zero emissions in ports” was the slogan used by the Grimaldi group to demonstrate its environmental commitment. The company equipped the vessels Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcelona with lithium batteries that allow them to consume only electricity during their stays in port, avoiding the use of generators powered by MDO.

Following this policy, 12 RoRo ships are being built in the People’s Republic of China which, with a capacity for 500 semitrailers, in addition to lithium batteries, will be equipped with solar panels, silicone paints, propellers coupled to the rudder, alongside other technological innovations, including scrubbers. These give value to the Grimaldi Green 5th Generation programme, which is being developed by the GRIMALDI group and which will be operational between 2020 and 2022.

The Grimaldi group, through its adhesion to the “SAILS” Charter (Sustainable Actions for Innovative and Low Impact Shipping) has confirmed its commitment to contribute to the protection and improvement of the marine environment, an initiative launched last July (2019) by the French government, with the support of the French Navigation Association. It was the first Italian company to sign the charter.

The company’s green commitment also reaches the terminals, with the installation of solar panels and wind towers, as with the case of the Valencia Terminal Europe which has joined the European project H2PORTS (implementing fuel cells and Hydrogen Technologies in Ports).

As a member of the International Chamber of Shipping the Group agreed to pursue the Global Goal of halving its total CO2 emissions by 2050. Finally, as a founding member of the Clean Shipping Alliance, it has actively committed to provide support in the implementation of new standards emanating from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on sulphur emissions.

To know more about the legislation and the new initiatives regarding environment in transport, check out the latest edition of the MOST Iberia training programme. Sign up!

Written by

  • Antonio Vargas, Grimaldi Lines