Posts to appear on the #DidYouKnow section of the website

Container ship in Port

The road towards sustainable port operations

This month, in anticipation of our annual summer school on port operations, we thought we would tackle the topic of sustainable ports, with a break down of practical measures being taken by ports to reach net-zero emissions in the next three decades.

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Written by: Lidia Slawinska, Consultant

In recent years, smart and sustainable have become interchangeable when talking about the future of transport. With the goal of working towards a more connected, intelligent and sustainable world, port authorities and port operators across the globe have been actively working in line with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals which work to improve financial and social inclusion, support humanitarian efforts, facilitate access to education and to health services, and to combat climate change. All partners have agreed that this is necessary to help build a sustainable world for future generations – and actors involved in transport operations have a particularly large part to play.

The IMO has predicted in recent years that maritime transport will continue to increase over the next decades, culminating with a rate 250% higher in 2050 than what we see today. Knowing that maritime transport already contributes nearly 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is evident that the industry needs to change to ensure that the increased rate does not counterbalance any global sustainability efforts.

Ports play a key role in the development and maintenance of efficient and supply chains, and therefore they will also play a key role in their redesigns to make them sustainable in the effort to achieve net zero emissions of shipping operations by 2050. One way that ports have started to do that is to invest in electrification.

Ports as energy hubs

Container operations at the Port of Rotterdam

Container operations at the Port of Rotterdam

The concept of having ports used as energy hubs for the shipping world is an enticing one. Imagining that the infrastructure could serve as a sustainable operation, with electrified terminals, reach stackers, loading cranes, etc., and then knowing that the onshore power supply points could also help maintain low emissions of vessels in port and at sea is very appealing. Digitalisation will be the enabler of this process of bringing electricity closer to the different intermodal transport modes through ports – through electrification processes – and will open doors to new innovative solutions, alternative business strategies and intelligent controls. Connected carries, cargo and people will make sure that transport transactions are transparent, traceable, and trustworthy. Ports can serve as the energy hubs that make all of this possible.

Electrification

Electrification is already spreading through the shipping world. It can be done to ships to make sure that they consume fewer fossil fuels and therefore lower their carbon footprint. Other forms of transport, as well as the supporting infrastructure provided by ports, if electrified, can substantially help increase the sustainability of maritime operations. As an added bonus, electrified ports also emit lower noise pollution, therewith improving their relationships with the neighbouring cities.

Electrification is also inextricably linked to sustainability. As more and more carriers invest in either fully electric or hybrid motors, ports are expected to offer onshore power supply stations, which in turn puts more demand on the creation of relevant infrastructures. As a result, those ports that invest in the innovative infrastructures transform into important nodes with substantial power needs which would need to be taken from a nearby electricity grids. This is because visiting ships, regardless of the duration of their stays in the port, will want to recharge their batteries to make sure that they have enough energy for subsequent transport legs all the while getting energy to support their stays in the ports themselves. As a result, ports will become large electricity consumers, ready to cater for both large and alternating load requirements – all of which will depend on the stability of the electricity supply.

One example of a European port that has successfully incorporated electrification efforts is that of the Port of Tyne in the Northeast of England. Its electrification projects, among other initiatives that helped it win the UK Clean Maritime Operator Award in 2020, have contributed to the cutting of the port’s fossil fuel consumption by 260,000 litres, reducing energy use by 2.3 million kWh and eliminating more than 1,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

New technologies moving ports closer to full electrification

Alongside onshore power supply points, there are other technological developments that are helping ports on the path towards full electrification. One such development was recently announced by Hyster Europe, during the TOC Global Showcase. Having spent years working on zero-emission container handling solutions, Hyster’s catalogue of port equipment that utilises lithium-ion batteries and other fuel cell technologies got more extensive. Having partnered up with Capacity Trucks, Hyster is now working on the creation of electric, hydrogen and automation ready terminal tractors. The most interesting part of these developments is the use of hydrogen fuel cells – something that the company has been investing in and working on since 2017.

The Ports of Auckland Ltd is another example of bringing ports closer to the innovative and sustainable solutions of tomorrow. With an impressive goal of reaching zero emissions by 2040, the port operator has incorporated a wide range of solutions including automated straddle carriers and expanding the terminal’s overall annual capacity. Alongside this, the port has invested in fully electric tugboats, built by Damen Shipyards and powered by Echandia’s E-LTO batteries, which can sustain more than 70 tonnes of bollard pull.

Etug at the Ports of Auckland

Credit: Damen Shipyards

More efficient port management

Apart from investing in new technologies to reach their sustainability goals, ports also need to optimise their port processes and operating procedures to improve turnaround time, decrease time spent idling in ports, and therewith improving the overall maritime transport operation. Digitalisation is key in this – as ensuring smooth and reliable digital connectivity between all transport operators can only help make the planning and follow-throughs of any processes more efficient.

5G is already being tested to try to increase the speed of data exchanges between different transport parties, with the Internet of Things, AI, and digital twins set to help increase the overall reliability of port operations, and therewith contribute towards efficient port management models.

Concluding thoughts

It is not a secret that the maritime sector accounts for around 3 percent of the word’s total GHG emissions. As most the world’s transport relies on the maritime route (and the current trend shows the number increasing significantly in the next 3 decades), it is imperative for any actors involved in maritime operations to make sure that fossil fuels are eliminated (to the extent that it is possible) and substituted (or complemented by) renewable alternatives. As maritime transport does not exist without ports, bringing sustainability to them seems like a necessity to help greenify the sector. Electrification and digitalisation are two such steps that ports can take to work towards that goal – and therewith ensure a clean and green supply chain that supports our globalised world.

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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.

 

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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.

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