Escola Forges Strategic Partnership with Saudi Logistics Academy in the Red Sea Region

Jeddah, [6th September 2023] – In a significant stride toward enhancing logistics excellence in the Middle East, the Escola Europea has formalized a collaboration with the prestigious Saudi Logistics Academy, based in Riyadh (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). The announcement was made during the inaugural Sustainable Maritime Industry Conference (SMIC) held in Jeddah, a high-profile event orchestrated by the Transport General Authority (TGA) and the Government of Saudi Arabia. The conference, which served as a beacon for maritime industry leaders, focused on charting the course for the sector’s future in the region towards the Saudi strategic Vision 2030.

In the photo (left to right): Adam Daoud from the Saudi Logistics Academy), Marco Muci (Escola Europea), Abdullah Alabdulkarim (Director, Saudi Logistics Academy), Eduard Rodés (Director, Escola Europea), and Ghada Ali Almunajemand

Eduard Rodés and Marco Muci, representing the Escola Europea, represented the Escola as they unveiled this promising partnership. The MoU that was announced sets the stage for a fruitful and dynamic relationship that promises to revolutionize logistics education and foster increased trade and networking between the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. The collaboration agreement was sealed by Eduard Rodés on behalf of Escola Europea and by Abdullah Alabdulkarim on behalf of the Saudi Logistics Academy.

At the core of this collaboration lies a shared commitment to harness the innovative capabilities of the Escola’s platform, fostering the development of a new generation of logistics talent in the Middle East. By leveraging the Port Virtual Lab (PVL) platform and actively engaging the Escola’s Open Lab, both institutes aspire to provide a comprehensive and immersive learning experience tailored to the needs of emerging logistics professionals. Furthermore, this mutually beneficial collaboration serves as a safe haven for the exchange of knowledge and expertise between ports in these two distinct regions.

The introduction of PVL’s dynamic and real-life port community simulation to Saudi Arabia marks a pivotal moment in the development of the logistics sector in the region. This cutting-edge tool will immerse participants in the intricacies of international trade operations within a controlled yet authentic environment. The partnership between theoretical knowledge and practical application will equip logistics professionals with the skills necessary to excel in the rapidly evolving industry.

As the partnership between the two institutes gains momentum, the next crucial steps in this collaboration are already in the planning stages. The forthcoming milestones include the scheduling of a pilot Port Virtual Lab course, set to take place in early 2024. This innovative course promises to provide a first-hand experience of port operations within a simulated environment, further solidifying the practical skills of aspiring logistics professionals.

Following this, an immersive ‘Motorways of the Sea Training’ program will take place. This unique training initiative will offer Saudi students an exceptional opportunity to embark on a transformative journey to witness the workings of two Mediterranean Ports – Barcelona and Civitavecchia. This hands-on experience will not only broaden their horizons but also provide valuable insights into port operations on the Mediterranean side of the world. These upcoming actions underscore the commitment of both institutes to nurturing and advancing the next generation of logistics experts.

As the Escola Europea and the Saudi Logistics Academy embark on this transformative journey together, the future of the maritime industry in the region shines brighter than ever. Stay tuned for further developments as this partnership unfolds and sets new benchmarks for logistics education and industry advancement. 

For media inquiries, please contact: Lidia.slawinska@escolaeuropea.eu

Port Virtual Lab

Port Virtual Lab: Empowering Logistics Professionals Worldwide

The Escola Europea is thrilled to announce the resounding success and international expansion of its Port Virtual Lab (PVL) training platform. Since its inception, this innovative educational initiative has transformed the landscape of port logistics education and created waves of opportunity for students and professionals worldwide.

Port Virtual Lab

In November 2023, the Port Virtual Lab will embark on yet another exciting journey, uniting with the Autonomous University in Barcelona (UAB) – our newest partner. This collaboration represents a significant milestone, bringing the PVL’s immersive learning experience to an even broader audience. The UAB is the second Barcelona university to put their faith in the Escola’s turn, incorporating the platform into their programmes, and ensuring that what they teach truly prepares their students for on-the-job demands of the logistics world. This follows the strategic partnership forged with the STC Group in Rotterdam. This alliance not only bolstered the PVL’s reputation but also marked a pivotal moment in the internationalization of the course. STC Group, a distinguished training provider in the bustling port of Rotterdam, added its considerable expertise to the PVL, making it a force to be reckoned with in the logistics education sphere.

Expanding Horizons: The Saudi Logistics Academy Partnership

The Saudi Logistics Academy’s reputation as a hub of logistics excellence in the Middle East is well-established. This month, our team travelled to Saudi Arabia to participate in the first edition of the Sustainable Maritime Industry Conference (SMIC) in Jeddah, organized by the Transport General Authority (TGA) and the Saudi Arabia Government. It was an event dedicated to shaping the future of the maritime industry in the region. During the event, we have discussed ways that we could leverage our innovative platform’s capabilities to nurture a new generation of logistics talent in the region, whilst nurturing trade and networking capabilities between the Mediterranean and the Middle East through education – which resulted in our signing of collaboration agreements to work together in initiatives like PVL and PLIKA – the Port Logistics International Knowledge Academy.

Escola team with Mr. Kitack Lim from the IMO

From left to right: Eduard Rodés (director, Escola Europea), Kitack Lim (secretary general, IMO) and Marco Muci (country manager, Escola Europea)

This partnership will introduce PVL’s dynamic, real-life port community simulation to Saudi Arabia, allowing participants to delve into the intricacies of international trade operations in a controlled yet authentic environment. It will bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application, equipping logistics professionals with the skills they need to excel in a rapidly evolving industry.

A Global Impact in the Making

As discussions with the Saudi Logistics Training Centre progress, the Port Virtual Lab’s influence will extend far beyond the European borders where it first began. This expansion signifies not only the PVL’s global recognition but also its commitment to shaping the future of logistics education worldwide. With each new partnership, the Port Virtual Lab reinforces its mission to address critical skills gaps in the transport and logistics sector on a global scale. It’s a testament to the power of virtual simulators in preparing young professionals for the challenges of the industry, regardless of geographical boundaries.

Port Virtual Lab: Bridging Real-world Skills and Virtual Innovation

The Port Virtual Lab is more than just an educational platform; it’s a gateway to the future of logistics training. At its core, PVL offers a dynamic, real-life port community simulation, enabling participants to immerse themselves in a controlled yet authentic environment. It’s here that they can conduct simulated international trade operations, honing their skills in logistics, transport, and international trade. Over the past 3 years, the PVL has trained 3000 students, expanding its reach and impact.

With 23 simulated companies within a digital port community system, PVL sets the stage for an unparalleled learning experience. The platform’s crown jewel, the pilot freight forwarder module developed with the support of Click&Cargo, allows participants to engage in near-real-life import and export operations. These simulations provide participants with real-life contracts and up-to-date information, ensuring that learning is not just theoretical but truly experiential.

Vote for YEP MED in the IAPH Sustainability Awards 2023

Paving the Way for Sustainable Community Building through Youth-Led Progress

Eduard Rodés - Director of the Escola Europea Intermodal Transport

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

By now you may have already heard, but if not let me be honoured in bringing you more exciting news regarding YEP MED‘s remarkable journey towards sustainability and community building. Not only have we been selected as a Top-18 Finalist in the Sustainability Awards of the International Association of Ports and Harbors, but we have also achieved the incredible feat of securing a spot as one of the top-3 finalists in the “Community Building” category—a testament to our dedication and innovation in this field.

Out of an impressive pool of 86 projects from around the world, YEP MED has emerged as a distinguished contender, showcasing remarkable dedication and innovation in the field of community building. This recognition serves as a testament to the significant impact and importance of our work in fostering sustainable and thriving communities.

 

Vote for YEP MED in the IAPH Sustainability Awards 2023

 

At the Escola, we are acutely aware of the importance of aligning our efforts with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In fact, we try to tailor most of our courses and activities to align with some of them. These global goals, ranging from ending poverty and hunger to promoting quality education and clean energy, are our collective roadmap to a more equitable and sustainable world.

Our projects and initiatives are designed with the SDGs in mind. Whether it’s reducing our carbon footprint, improving the livelihoods of local communities, or ensuring the responsible use of resources, the Escola is committed to making a meaningful contribution to these vital global objectives.

But it’s not just about what we do; it’s about who is leading the charge. Young people are at the forefront of progress, driving innovation and advocating for change. They are the torchbearers of a brighter future, and I couldn’t be prouder of the Escola in supporting and nurturing the talents of these future leaders.

Through our Youth Empowerment Program, we have provided opportunities for young minds to take the lead in shaping our sustainable initiatives. Their fresh perspectives, boundless energy, and innovative thinking have not only enriched our projects but have also reinforced our commitment to youth-led progress.

This brings me back to the IAPH Sustainability Awards. As we near the end of this final phase of this prestigious competition, we invite you all to participate actively and show your support for our endeavor. The public voting period, which runs from September 5th to September 24th, provides an opportunity for everyone to cast their votes for the project they believe deserves the most merit. Each vote holds significant weight, contributing 30% to the total score, while the remaining 70% will be assessed by the esteemed IAPH expert jury.

You can vote by going to the IAPH website.

The winners of the IAPH Sustainability Awards will be unveiled during the illustrious Gala dinner of the World Ports Conference in Abu Dhabi on November 1st. This momentous occasion not only celebrates our accomplishments but also underscores YEP MED’s unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on communities, the environment, and the future generations who will inherit this world.

In closing, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to every member of the YEP MED team whose hard work, dedication, and innovative spirit have brought us to this remarkable point in our journey. Let us continue to work hand in hand, pushing the boundaries of sustainability and community building, as we aim for even greater heights in the future.

Thank you for your unwavering support, and together, let us leave a lasting legacy of sustainability for generations to come.

Transforming Port Logistics Education with Port Virtual Lab: Escola Europea and STC Group Join Forces

[Barcelona, 05 September 2023] – The Escola Europea is proud to announce its strategic partnership with STC Group to further enhance and expand its Port Virtual Lab (PVL) training platform, revolutionizing education in the port logistics sector. STC Group, a renowned training provider in and around the port of Rotterdam, brings its wealth of recognition to the innovative training solution.

The upcoming course is set to begin in November 2023, offering participants a unique opportunity to enhance their logistics skills. This comprehensive training programme will span nine weeks, with sessions scheduled every Wednesday, providing a convenient and immersive learning experience for the international pool of participants.

Port Virtual Lab is an innovative and comprehensive platform that offers cutting-edge technological and educational tools. Serving as an online logistics lab, it provides international trade, logistics, and transport students and professionals with the opportunity to simulate real-life operations and access a wide range of tools to enhance their knowledge and skills.

The platform includes 23 simulated companies within a digital port community system. Notably, the pilot freight forwarder module has been perfected with the support of Click&Cargo, enabling near-real-life operation simulations of import and export operations. The PVL training programme spans over 9 days, offering interactive training modules and hands-on operations. The simulation is designed to provide participants with real-life contracts and up-to-date information, ensuring a dynamic and immersive learning experience.

What is Port Virtual Lab?

In 2020, Escola Europea initiated a tender to partner with a software company, aiming to develop an Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) as the backbone of its virtual training model. This vision led to the birth of Port Virtual Lab, a platform that replicates a real-life port community, enabling course participants to immerse themselves in a controlled yet authentic environment and conduct simulated international trade operations.

Participants in Port Virtual Lab courses assume various roles within the extensive range of companies created for the platform, covering the entire supply chain. These roles include those in freight forwarding, shipping, airlines, road transport, railway companies, and port terminals. Plans are underway to further enrich the simulation by adding more supply chain actors, enhancing users’ experiences.

Benefits of Simulation in Training Endeavors

The initial phases of the YEP MED project identified critical skills gaps in the transport market, particularly in areas such as environmental sustainability, international relations, digitalization, and port logistics operations. To address these gaps, it was essential to ensure that graduates were well-prepared for the challenges of the industry.

Virtual simulators prove to be ideal for this purpose, offering several advantages:

  • Real-time Practice: Trainees can practice operations without market risks.
  • Scenario Diversity: Various real-life scenarios enable effective problem-solving.
  • Sustainable Logistics Chains: The platform allows for the testing of different transport combinations, prioritizing sustainability or speed as required.

Exceptional educational offerings are pivotal in preparing young jobseekers for rapidly changing industries. Simulators and virtual realities play a crucial role in helping young professionals gain experience and confidence. PVL has been a significant step in the development of such training tools in the Mediterranean region, and this collaboration marks the platform’s extension further in Europe and beyond. In the most recent course, participants rated the platform with an impressive score of 4.94 out of a maximum of 5 – highlighting the effectiveness of Port Virtual Lab in enhancing participants’ logistics skills.

Undoubtedly, the platform’s impact will extend to other regions worldwide and will continue to leave a lasting mark even after the project’s completion in 2023.

“I think that this has been a very useful activity, as it allowed us to put into practice the concepts taught throughout our Masters” – Anna Berenguer i Dasquens (University of Barcelona)

For more information about Port Virtual Lab and the partnership between Escola Europea and STC Group, please contact Orlando Reveco at the Escola Europea (international@escolaeuropea.eu).

The Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport and the Regional Office of Sicily commit to training

The Regional Education Office of Sicily (Italy) or (Ufficio Scolastico Regionale per la Sicilia) and the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of training in Pathways for Transversal Skills and Orientation (Percorsi per le Competenze Trasversali e per l’Orientamento – PCTO) for secondary school students in Sicily. Both entities intend to promote collaboration between the education sector and the labour market.

This agreement aims to:

  • Decrease the gap between the demands of the labour market and the academic curricula of vocational and occupational centres for logistics technical professionals, taking into account the forecasted scenarios in the employment field taken from regional and national data.
  • Promote an increasingly solid and widespread dissemination of technical, scientific, professional and entrepreneurial culture in schools;
  • Implement technical courses aimed at promoting the port-logistics community and its main actors through the ‘Sicily Port Academy’, facilitating the connection between schools and companies in the sector.
  • Promote actions for the guidance of young people and for the development of learning environments that draw on the operational reality for cultural, technical, scientific and ethics training, also through the contribution of sector experts.
  • To implement training projects in the port logistics community of Palermo thanks to the educational paths of the ‘Sicily Port Academy’.
  • To foster a process of cultural development in which transversal skills and vocational training are the essential components to face the complexity of reality and activate in young people a greater sensitivity in looking at the work context in which they live and in which they will work in the future, representing a constant educational challenge that involves all the training agencies in the area, all in view of the continuous evolution of the work realities of the Third Millennium society.

According to Eduard Rodés, the director of the Escola Europea: The port logistics sector in Sicily needs to attract young talent at a time of great digital, energy and social transformation. The Escola Europea – as a point of reference for its partners who are ports and shipping companies – wants Sicily to become a model in this process. This strategic alliance between the USR Sicily and Escola Europea will facilitate and accelerate this indispensable pathway.”

“The protocol proposes to activate pathways for transversal skills and orientation (PCTO) that will allow students to come into direct contact with the logistics and port community and to learn about their professional paths, thus providing an important orientation/vocational cue for their future careers,” stated Giuseppe Pierro, Director General of the Regional Education Office of Sicily (Italy). “In this sense, PCTOs contribute to on-going in itinere through the development of an active protagonism and a greater awareness of their own talents and vocations; developing self-orientated skills becomes fundamental in a society characterised by the speed of change exacerbated by digital transformation. Orientation becomes more meaningful, the more students act in territorial occupational contexts, which allow them to apply knowledge acquired at school and develop skills through real scenarios”.

Upon the singing, the president of the Port Authority of the Western Sicily Sea, Pasqualino Monti stated: “Since last April the port of Palermo has been a part of the Escola Europea, the European reference centre for training in logistics and intermodal transport. This is a prestigious participation that can help us fill the gap for skills needed in the sector and to favour the continues development of workers’ employability. It is a fundamental step because we strongly believe, in cooperation with the Sicilian Region and the Metropolitan City of Palermo, in the training of new figures that are beneficial – or rather, indispensable – in our ports of call, which we have adequately upgraded and modernised in recent years. Vocational training – which this protocol seals – represents the strategic tool for every company to acquire the strength to compete; the winning weapon to expand into new markets, through the specific and professional skills of each person involved in the organisation’s growth process. A further surge in employment and, therefore, the need for highly qualified personnel, is what we expect in our ports today”.

“The synergy between USR Sicily and the Escola Europea, can undoubtedly represent an important opportunity for growth in terms of training and employment for the city in a strategic sector such as port logistics” said the mayor of the Metropolitan City of Palermo, Roberto Lagalla. “For a city like Palermo, which is currently looking at the port as one of the determining factors for its development, this agreement can only be viewed favourably because it can be a lever for training new professional skills”.

YEP MED in Egypt celebrates success to empower young people in the Mediterranean port sector

YEP MED’s closing ceremony highlights the project’s significant achievements, including the adaptation of eight training courses, training 72 teachers, and conducting 161 courses that trained nearly 3,700 young people, the YEP MED Talent Programme, and the World Port Sustainability Program (WPSP) successful submission.

The YEP MED project, an innovative initiative aimed at empowering young people , particularly NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) and women, in the Mediterranean port and logistics sectors, successfully concluded its journey with the YEP MED final conference & Steering Committee held on July 24th – 25th, 2023, at the Steigenberger Hotel El Lessan in Damietta, Egypt.

The two-day event united delegates from partner organizations alongside individuals associated with collaborating institutions, YEP MED trainees, and companies. The opening session commenced with welcoming remarks from key figures such as Rear Admiral Ahmed Hawash, Chairman of Damietta Port Authority, and Mr. Eduard Rodés, the CEO of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport. The session continued with thought-provoking keynote addresses from prominent figures like Dr. Esmat AlKaradsheh, representing ENI CBC MED Programme, Admiral Dr. Refeeq Galal, Chairman of Damietta for Container Handling Co. (DCHC), Prof Ismail Abdel Ghafar Ismail Farag, President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, which was presented on his behalf by Prof Akram Soliman Elselmy, and Rear Admiral Reda Ismail, Head of the Egyptian Maritime Sector.

The first session started with a presentation of YEP MED global results and YEP MED Talent by Mr. Eduard Rodés and Ms. Marta Miquel, respectively, shed light on the project’s significant achievements, which included adapting 8training courses, training 72 teachers, and conducting 161 training sessions. This resulted in the training of nearly 3,700 young individuals and women, with a remarkable 47% representation of women and 53% for men, contributing to gender balance in the workforce. The average participant age of thirty reflects the project’s focus on empowering young individuals at a crucial stage in their lives. Moreover, the project enabled approximately 1,100 internships and job placements, forging collaborations with over 250 companies across the seven countries represented.  This was followed by a presentation made by Prof Akram Soliman Elslemy,  YEP MED project manager at the Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) and Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology, which highlighted the project’s results that exceeded expectations on all levels. Each partner was then able to present their contributions, with speeches by Ms. Mar Marzo from Valenciaport Foundation (Spain), Mr. Rabieh Sabra, the president of the Beirut Chamber of Commerce in Lebanon, Mr. Jobrane Ben Mansour, OMMP (Tunisia), Mr. Husain Al-Safadi, the Chairman of the Aqaba Development Corporation through a remote connection) from Jordan.  Finally, the testimonial of Dr. Ahmed Kamel – DCHC, Trainer at YEP MED Egypt closed this part of the event.

The second session discussed the future of the project and included a presentation about the newly created PLIKA (Port Logistics International Knowledge Academy) was presented by Orlando Reveco from Escola Europea – shedding light on the legacies that YEP MED will leave behind upon its completion.  Then Prof. Alaa Morsy, YEP MED project coordinator at AASTMT, discussed the project’s sustainability and future.  The Session ended up with the signing ceremony for the PLIKA initiative (Port Logistics International Knowledge Academy) – an organisation created out of the work done by the training institutes during the YEP MED project.

The conference ended with the testimonials from trainees of the YEP MED in Egypt and the awarding ceremony for the esteemed partners, YEP MED students, and local companies that participated in the trainees’ internship and employment.

On the second day of the gathering, the YEP MED Steering Committee took place. Partners were able to discuss the future of cooperation, project sustainability, and the project’s closure. The day began with a warm official welcome from Damietta Port Authority, followed by a welcome note from Mr. Eduard Rodés. During the Committee meeting, topics such as the progress of activities, reporting, and payments to partners were discussed by representatives from the Escola Europea and Mes Advocats (Paula Baltar, Reyes Durá, and Gerard Navarro respectively) provided updates on the project’s financial management and the handling of minor amendments.

Dr. Esmat Karadsheh from ENI CBC MED delivered an informative training session on project closure guidelines, and the participants engaged in an open discussion on the YEP MED Final Report guidelines and dates. The event concluded with closing remarks and a visit to Damietta Port, offering participants an opportunity to witness the tangible impact of the YEP MED project first-hand.

Eduard Rodes, the director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport and lead beneficiary of the project, expressed his gratitude and pride during the opening ceremony: The YEP MED project stands as a testament to what can be achieved when we come together with a shared vision for education and youth empowerment.” As the project drew to a close, the YEP MED final conference & Steering Committee served as a moment of reflection, celebration, and inspiration for the future. The project has proven that together, a stronger and more interconnected society can be built, where challenges are overcome with determination and cooperation.

Empowering Port Communities: The Remarkable Journey of the YEP MED Project

Eduard Rodés, Director - Escola Europea - Intermodal Transporrt

Written by: Eduard Rodés,
Director – Escola Europea – Intermodal Transporrt

These days, we are celebrating the successful completion of the YEP MED project, an ambitious initiative aimed at aligning the skills needs of the labor market with vocational education and training opportunities in Mediterranean port logistics communities. Led by the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, this project has played a pivotal role in creating employment opportunities, particularly for NEETs (young people not in employment, education, or training) and women within the region. Let’s delve into the project’s inception, its remarkable outcomes, and its aspirations for the future.

A Journey of Collaboration and Excellence

The YEP MED project began its journey by setting high standards for itself. Out of 184 projects submitted for consideration, it was rated as the top project, setting a significant challenge to excel and deliver outstanding results. Involving seven countries from the Mediterranean region, the project fostered collaboration between vocational training providers, private sector representatives, and public administrations at local and international levels. The active participation of all partner organizations from these seven countries was a remarkable achievement, underscoring the project’s commitment to inclusivity and collective progress.

Identifying Critical Skill Priorities

Within the logistics communities, the YEP MED project identified three critical skill areas that would shape the future of the industry:

  1. Digitalization of Management and Information Processes: Responding to the COVID-19 crisis, the project prioritized digitalizing maritime and terrestrial operations for efficiency, transparency, and resilience in logistics.
  2. Environmental and Sustainability Aspects: With an emphasis on ecological impact, the project aimed to design sustainable logistics chains to minimize the industry’s environmental footprint.
  3. Collaborative Approach and Knowledge Sharing: By fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing, the project sought to drive industry-wide progress and competitiveness.

 Empowering Individuals and Communities

The YEP MED project successfully achieved its objectives, positively impacting port communities and empowering individuals within the sector. It developed tailored vocational resources, enhanced employment skills, and established collaborative partnerships to ensure the sustainability and long-term impact of its efforts. Through various training courses and internships, it significantly contributed to enhancing employability and creating job opportunities for young individuals and women in the sector.

International Collaboration and Global Aspirations

International collaboration was a cornerstone of the project’s success, enabling the exchange of ideas, innovation, and best practices. Looking ahead, the YEP MED project aspires to extend its impact beyond the Mediterranean region and become a global reference for port industry initiatives. The project’s recognition as a finalist for the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) award for Best Initiative in Port Community Building further validates its significance and sets an example for other port initiatives worldwide.

Epilogue

The YEP MED project stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and dedication in shaping the future of port logistics communities. By empowering individuals and fostering sustainable growth, it has become a guiding star for navigators in the port industry. As we move forward, let us join hands in harnessing the potential of our training centers and ports, embracing innovation and collaboration, and fulfilling the needs and aspirations of our society. Together, we can achieve the impossible and create a future where port communities thrive, and opportunities are accessible to all.

PLIKA: Transforming Port Communities through Innovative Training and Collaboration

Introduction

The birth of the Port Logistics International Knowledge Academy (PLIKA) can be attributed to the imperative of adapting and innovating in the face of the challenges brought about by the global pandemic in 2020. Amidst these unprecedented circumstances, the YEP MED project emerged, shedding light on the demand for novel methodologies and solutions to provide remote training within an international framework. It was within this backdrop that the Port Virtual Lab was conceived, a ground-breaking simulation platform that revolutionized the landscape of international trade operations.

The pandemic brought forth various restrictions and limitations that disrupted traditional training methods and hindered international collaboration. Recognizing this challenge, the YEP MED project team sought to create an innovative solution that would transcend physical barriers and enable remote learning and collaboration. The solution came from the hand of Port Virtual Lab; conceived as a groundbreaking platform that allowed students to engage in international trade operations by exchanging simulated operations with teams from different countries and ports. This virtual environment transformed the way operations were conducted, innovating on the traditional approach and introducing a new level of interconnectivity and collaboration.

Advancements in technology facilitated the seamless integration of participants from diverse backgrounds and locations. Port Virtual Lab provided a realistic and immersive experience, enabling students to navigate the complexities of international trade operations, exchange information, and make informed decisions in a risk-free environment. This became the key to success – making sure that the students that passed through our doors got real hands-on experiences that would help them flourish once they have found employment.

Enhanced Collaboration

The platform fostered collaboration between teams from different countries and ports, transcending geographical boundaries. Participants were able to work together, exchange knowledge, and gain insights from diverse perspectives, resulting in enriched learning experiences. The need to interact with students from other cultures, in different time zones, and with diverse perspectives greatly enriched the work and interpersonal skills of participants. I count both students and instructors in this group. These intercultural exchanges provided a unique learning experience, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of different perspectives, customs, and practices. It broadened participants’ horizons, enabling them to develop cultural intelligence and adaptability, crucial skills in today’s interconnected world.

They learned to be flexible, accommodating varying schedules and finding ways to collaborate effectively despite geographical constraints. Moreover, the interaction with students and instructors from different cultures enhanced participants’ interpersonal skills. They developed cross-cultural communication skills, learned to navigate cultural nuances, and built strong relationships based on respect and understanding. These interpersonal skills are invaluable in a globalized world, where effective communication and collaboration across cultural boundaries are essential.

Realistic Simulation

Port Virtual Lab provided a realistic environment where participants could engage in simulated trade operations. This immersive experience allowed them to develop practical skills, make informed decisions, and understand the intricacies of international trade. This also served as a practical solution for students who were unable to participate in on-site internships due to pandemic-related restrictions. Many companies were hesitant to allow external individuals access to their facilities, making it challenging for students to gain hands-on experience.

Port Virtual Lab’s simulation capabilities proved to be a game-changer in this regard. By immersing students in simulated trade operations, Port Virtual Lab offered a viable alternative to traditional internships. Students were able to engage in practical exercises, familiarize themselves with essential ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, and gain a comprehensive understanding of basic operational procedures. This not only facilitated their learning but also enabled them to acquire valuable industry-specific skills.

The results of this approach have been remarkable. Companies have recognized the value of students’ experience with the simulation platform and now actively seek interns who have been trained using Port Virtual Lab. This shift in attitude is primarily driven by the time and resources saved by companies. By having interns who are already familiar with the operations and workflows through the simulator, companies can streamline the onboarding process and minimize the need for internal staff to dedicate extensive time to training basic operations.

Furthermore, the Port Virtual Lab’s simulation experience provides a level of consistency and standardization in training. Students from different educational institutions or backgrounds receive the same fundamental knowledge and skill set, ensuring a common baseline of expertise. This standardization not only benefits the companies employing interns but also enhances collaboration and communication among industry professionals.

PLIKA – YEP MED’s legacy

Recognizing the potential of simulators, training centers and instructors are embracing this technology as a valuable tool to enhance their teaching methodologies. This transition requires adapting instructional approaches, curriculum design, and assessment methods to effectively incorporate simulators into training programmes. It necessitates upskilling instructors to leverage the full potential of simulation technology and integrate it seamlessly into their teaching practices.

This is where PLIKA comes into play. The birth of the Academy marks a significant step towards fostering collaboration and progress among port communities worldwide. It serves as a collaborative platform where, on an international level, training centers, instructors, and industry professionals can come together to share best practices, exchange experiences, and collectively address the challenges associated with the integration of simulators in training programmes. It provides a space for knowledge exchange, networking, and cooperation, fostering a community-driven approach to enhance training effectiveness and innovation. The primary objective of PLIKA is to build a strong network of collaboration, positioning port communities as lighthouse of development and drivers of societal progress. It’s founding members are those who collaborated on the YEP MED project, including the MEDports Association – which helps enlarge the collaborative forum of partnerships.

Through PLIKA, training centers can share insights on successful simulator implementations, discuss strategies for curriculum integration, and collaborate on the development of standardized training modules. Instructors can exchange pedagogical approaches, explore simulation-based teaching methodologies, and access resources to enhance their instructional techniques. Industry professionals can provide valuable insights into the practical applications of simulators and contribute to the development of industry-relevant training programs.

The collaborative nature of PLIKA enables stakeholders to learn from each other’s experiences, leverage collective expertise, and accelerate the adoption of simulators in training environments. By coming together under the PLIKA umbrella, training centers and instructors can navigate the transition process more efficiently, avoiding duplicative efforts and benefiting from shared knowledge.

Conclusion:

PLIKA’s establishment symbolizes a collective commitment to empower port communities, training centres and drive societal progress. By fostering collaboration, sharing knowledge, and embracing innovation, PLIKA enables port communities to become catalysts for economic growth, sustainability, and social well-being. Through its initiatives, PLIKA aims to create a future where port communities thrive, making a lasting impact on the industry and society as a whole. Training centres are not left behind. The emergence of simulators as a vital component of business training has necessitated an unprecedented transition effort by training centers and instructors. PLIKA serves as a collaborative platform where stakeholders can share experiences, exchange best practices, and collectively address the challenges associated with incorporating simulators into training programmes. By fostering a collaborative community-driven approach, PLIKA aims to enhance training effectiveness, encourage innovation, and facilitate the seamless integration of simulators in the educational landscape, whilst at the same time ensuring that port communities stay at the forefront of global innovation and progress.

Written by:

Eduard Rodés, Director - Escola Europea - Intermodal Transporrt

Written by: Eduard Rodés,
Director – Escola Europea – Intermodal Transporrt

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

Written by Orlando Revecco, Digital Product Manager of the Escola Europea

Driving Innovation: Escola Europea and Barcelona Port Foundation join forces

The TECHLOG Project, Port Virtual Lab and the Green Deal

Written by Eduard Rodés, Director of the Escola Europea

Written by Eduard Rodés, Director of the Escola Europea

At the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport we are slowly approaching the end of a very busy period. With the Europea project YEP MED nearing its final days, the Escola’s signature course bookings gaining full steam ahead, the SIL conference at which not one, but two of our big projects were featured alongside our signature training offers, and more, we have had very short periods of respite. This is good news for us – a testament to the influence that we hold throughout the Mediterranean port community. But this quarter I wanted to share with you – our alumni community –a particularly special partnership that we have forged; one with the Port of Barcelona’s Innovation Foundation.

This past month, the Escola Europea has forged a strategic alliance with the Barcelona Port Innovation Foundation, setting a firm commitment to propel the transformation of the maritime-port sector. The agreement highlights already existing innovative initiatives such as TECHLOG – a project co-funded by the European Union which will encourage joint Technology Transfer Initiatives (TTI) to achieve common quality standards for transport and port specialized staff within the participating ports and beyond – and Port Virtual Lab – a complete logistics virtual simulator that offers technological and educational tools through which international trade, logistics and transport students or professionals can simulate real life operations. Central to these efforts is the two parties’ dedication towards achieving the objectives of the European Union’s Green Deal, with a comprehensive understanding of sustainability that encompasses economic, social, and environmental dimensions.

Transforming the Maritime-Port Sector

The Barcelona Port Innovation Foundation, supported by prominent entities such as the Port of Barcelona, Ackcent, and Aggity, has set forth an ambitious mission to establish the maritime-port sector as a worldwide leader in innovation and operational excellence. Fuelled by their unwavering dedication, their primary objective revolves around transforming the Port of Barcelona into a dynamic Smart Hub, underpinned by the seamless integration of cutting-edge technological advancements and the fundamental principles of the Blue Economy.

And this is where we come in.

TECHLOG

TECHLOG project

As an integral part of this endeavour, the Escola Europea actively participates in the TECHLOG project, which is co-financed by the ENI CBCMED programme. This initiative entails a series of activities directed towards training educators for the development of Living Labs.

“A Living Lab (LL) is an open-innovation ecosystem centered around user participation, situated within a public-private-people partnership. This unique model is rooted in a systematic user co-creation approach, seamlessly integrating research and innovation processes.”

The Escola Europea has been at the forefront of these labs in Livorno (Italy) for participants from the Western Mediterranean, and in Alexandria (Egypt) for participants from the Eastern Mediterranean – making sure that the knowledge is accessible by parties from across our shared Sea.

Most Mediterranean sectors suffer from poor connections between research, development and education, from one side, and, the real economy, from the other side – a situation that TECHLOG wants to address by strengthening ties between academia and the (trans)port industry. By encouraging joint Technology Transfer Initiatives (TTI) to achieve common quality standards for transport and port specialized staff, the goal is to create a Mediterranean Open Lab to promote and share those initiatives within the (trans)port communities. These TTI will be tested through pilot actions, in real port operators, and will involve trained staff.

The Port Virtual Lab

Moreover, the Escola Europea and the Foundation are collaborating on the development of Port Virtual Lab (PVL). This venture is an innovation laboratory where burgeoning technological solutions are explored and validated, creating a unique environment of collaboration and learning using simulators and simulated companies. Essentially, PVL is a training platform that allows performing operations related to logistics and international transport in our Virtual Port Community. Both professionals and students are be able to experience first hand activities related to international trade, while interacting with our simulated companies.

Success of Port Virtual Lab

The Escola has received numerous success stories following the launch of Port Virtual Lab and its incorporation in the courses developed under the European YEP MED programme, of which we are lead partners. The development of the European project encountered significant obstacles in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill, and the experiential training courses planned for the initiative could no longer take place. This gave rise to the PVL platform. With an instrumental partnership from Click & Cargo, at the Escola we were able to create this amazing and comprehensive tool that would help us take the port operations and transactions directly to the monitors of our remote students. PVL was fundamental in maintaining continuity in education and student internships.

The platform’s power has been enhanced through its continuous usage and improvement processes. Today, companies expect students to have prior simulator training, which greatly speeds up their learning curve when they begin internships or enter the workforce directly. This demonstrates the practical value and effectiveness of the training provided by Port Virtual Lab, and shines a bright light on its future.

Commitment to Sustainability

Each project spearheaded by the Escola Europea underscores its unwavering commitment to holistic sustainability, embracing the realms of economic, social, and environmental well-being for us as global citizens. This profound dedication finds resonance with the ambitious targets outlined in the European Union’s Green Deal.

The Green Deal, proposed by the European Commission, is an audacious set of policy initiatives directed towards making Europe climate neutral by 2050. These initiatives not only focus on environmental preservation but also on revitalizing the economy and improving the quality of life for all citizens. By aligning our pursuits with those outlined in the initiatives, we are striving to ensure our contributions effectively drive towards a sustainable, resilient, and just Europe. Working together, the Escola and the Barcelona Port Foundation can work towards ensuring that Barcelona is at the vanguard of Europe’s efforts to bring around a sustainable Mediterranean.

Conclusion

The partnership between the Escola Europea and the Barcelona Port Innovation Foundation is built upon the pillars of collaboration, sustainable development, knowledge, and innovation. Leveraging the Escola’s pioneering simulated business solutions and training methods, their expertise can be harnessed at every stage of the innovation process.

The strategic alliance between the Escola Europea and the Barcelona Port Innovation Foundation plays a pivotal role in spearheading innovation, sustainability, and efficiency within the maritime-port sector, with a unique Mediterranean and Barcelona perspective. With a steadfast commitment to education, innovation, and the development of transformative solutions, we can  contribute significantly to the transformation of the Port of Barcelona into a globally recognized Smart Hub.

You too can get involved!

Today, we must all accept that innovation is the fuel for building a new society that needs to confront substantial economic, environmental, and social challenges. Follow the activities that the Foundation and the Escola are doing and will do in the future. Engage in those where you can contribute.

Together, we are strong

TECHLOG Project Showcases Innovative Simulation Solutions at International Logistics Conference in Barcelona

Between the 7th and 9th of June 2023, TECHLOG partners participated in the prestigious 25th edition of the International Logistics Conference (Salon Internacional de Logística) held in Barcelona. As the city transformed into the global logistics hub, TECHLOG seized the opportunity to present cutting-edge simulation technologies and their applications in the industry.

The TECHLOG booth featured a selection of Living Labs, including the highly immersive Euro Truck Simulator, designed to transport visitors into various international trade, logistics, and transport scenarios. “Our simulators accurately recreate realistic training environments for professionals in port logistics, such as truck drivers and crane operators. Moreover, they offer fair participants an immersive and informative experience, providing a comprehensive overview of the TECHLOG project,” explained Orlando Reveco, representative of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, a valued TECHLOG partner.

Throughout the event, the TECHLOG project delivered special demonstrations showcasing its platforms and diverse applications. Notably, a truck driving competition utilizing the advanced simulator attracted attendees’ attention, highlighting how the use of simulation can enhance truck drivers’ skills, focus, safety, environmental efficiency, and sustainability. The competition brought an extra level of excitement to the International Logistics Conference which showcased the skills and expertise of participating attendees, who vied for the top spot in a challenging simulation scenario. The event was a resounding success, with two deserving winners emerging victorious, demonstrating their exceptional abilities and mastery of logistics operations.

Furthermore, TECHLOG partners took full advantage of the conference to foster collaboration and establish fruitful business connections. Multiple B2B meetings were held between the project partners and various industry stakeholders, including leading companies, logistics experts, and policymakers. These meetings provided a valuable platform for exchanging ideas, exploring potential partnerships, and identifying new avenues for technological transfer and innovation in the logistics sector. The engaging discussions and productive networking sessions further solidified TECHLOG’s position as a catalyst for positive change and advancement in the Mediterranean logistics landscape.

Beyond the booth activities, TECHLOG partners, stakeholders, and facilitators actively participated in the 19th MedaLogistics Summit, emphasizing the significant impact of technological transfer and innovation in simulation for companies. During the MedaLogistics conference on the 8th and 9th of June, prominent speakers including Eduard Rodés, Director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, Ahmed El Wakil, President of ASCAME, Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, Alaa Ezz, Secretary General of CEEBA, Gianfranco Fancello and Patrizia Serra from the University of Cagliari UNICA CIREM, and Rabih Sabra, General Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut & Mount Lebanon, presented the developed Living Labs. This showcase took place at the Agora, the main meeting space of the SIL conference, within the stand of the Port of Barcelona, an integral part of the city’s infrastructure.

TECHLOG’s active participation in the event proved to be a catalyst in fostering meaningful connections among influential stakeholders in the Mediterranean transport and logistics sectors. By showcasing the power of innovative simulations, the project demonstrated how experiential education can effectively transform the learning experience. This successful engagement reaffirms TECHLOG’s unwavering commitment to revolutionize the industry through state-of-the-art simulation solutions. With a focus on driving collaborative efforts and embracing innovation, TECHLOG strives to create a more efficient, sustainable, and interconnected logistics ecosystem that benefits all stakeholders involved. The project remains dedicated to pushing the boundaries of logistics education and technology for the advancement of the Mediterranean region and beyond.

TECHLOG, a 30-month EU co-financed project with a total budget of €3.4 million, of which €3.1 million (90%) is funded by the European Union, aims to drive logistics innovation through technological transfer in the Mediterranean area. The project consortium comprises lead beneficiary University of Cagliari in Italy, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Agriculture of Maremma and Tirino (Italy), the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (Egypt), the European School of Short Shipping, EEIG (Spain), the Federation of Egyptian European Business Associations (Egypt), the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon (Lebanon), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sfax (Tunisia), and Sfax University (Tunisia).