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.

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”.

The Escola Europea consolidated as an Accredited Agent for Internationalization

The Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport has been accredited as an Agent for Internationalization Support by ACCIÓ, the Agency for Business Competitiveness of the Generalitat de Catalunya. Belonging to the Catalan Ministry of Business and Labour, it is the public organisation working to contribute to the transformation of Catalan companies.

The Escola is considered a key element in the country’s internationalization ecosystem, as it trains professionals in the field of logistics – a necessity in attaining talent for Catalan companies. As a result, as the Agency’s Internationalization Support Agent, it will be able to collaborate in the design and implementation of public policies in this area.

Having accredited Internationalization Support Agents allows for the creation of a space for debate on globalised support policies, defining a national internationalization strategy, promoting a systemic approach to collaboration among stakeholders, and fostering public-private partnerships through an open, transparent, co-responsible, participatory, and concerted system.

This accreditation falls within the call for the year 2023 for the accreditation of Agents for Internationalization Support for the period 2020-2024. The resolution confirms that the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport meets all of the requirements established for training entities.

Currently, there are about thirty accredited entities in various categories (advisory, promotion, training, and financing) that participate in plenary meetings. Additionally, through the Executive Council of Agents led by 7 entities, various thematic work groups have been created where interested organizations can participate.

With this recognition, the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport reaffirms its mission to provide quality training and support to the internationalization of the Catalan business fabric, in close collaboration with ACCIÓ.

Immersive learning

Immersive learning to take centre stage during SIL as the Escola Europea promotes its latest projects

Immersive learning

The Escola Europea will take to the floors of the fair to not only present its signature training offer, but also to promote the international projects that it is involved in, along with its latest virtual immersive learning programmes.

Between the 7th and 9th of June, 2023, during the 25th edition of the International Logistics Conference (Salon Internacional de Logística), the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport will bring its virtual port community – Port Virtual Lab – to the fore. The SIL (Salón Internacional de Logística) will have its 25th edition, which annually turns the Catalan city into the world’s capital for logistics.

On the 6th of June, the Escola Europea will host a simulator competition in the framework of the TECHLOG project stand – a project funded by the ENI CBC Med Programme. The competition will highlight the benefits for companies and institutions of introducing simulation in advance trainings with the use of a special simulator – the Euro Truck. This simulator, through the use of immersive learning, can help truck drivers improve their driving skills by improving their ability to focus, reducing the risk of accidents, improving environmental efficiency, and encouraging sustainability. The competition will run through SIL, culminating on the 8th of June with the crowning of the winner. On this same day, the TECHLOG project and its benefits will be showcased in the stand of the Port of Barcelona.

The Escola’s virtual port community – Port Virtual Lab (PVL) – will be presented within the confines of the stand of the Port of Barcelona – one of the most important stands, being of the port of the city in which the conference takes place. Taking immersive learning to the virtual sphere, PVL offers opportunities for students to experience trade operations first-hand in secure and controlled scenarios that allow room for error whilst maintaining an authentic sense of real-life operations.

Alongside PVL, the Escola also will share with the enterprise community the different initiatives to attract and retain talent in the Port Community with the program  Vine al Port, fostered by the Port of Barcelona’s Training and Employment Work Group, which aims to bring the local training institutes closer to the realities of local companies, and therewith align the curricula offered with the skills sought for by the professionals of today and tomorrow.

Along with the activities that take place within the SIL, on the 8th and 9th of June, the 19th MedaLogistics Summit will take place. Eduard Rodés, the director of the Escola Europea, together with with Ahmed El Wakil, president of ASCAME, Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and 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, will outline the beneficial impact of technological transfer and innovation in simulation for companies.

The Escola unites Northern, Central and Southern Italy within its classrooms through the incorporation of the Port of Palermo as the newest member

With the incorporation of the Port of Palermo as a member of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, the training centre unites the north, centre and south of Italy with a common purpose of encouraging training in logistics, sustainable transport and maritime intermodality.

APRIL 20, 2023 (CIVITAVECCHIA) – The Governing Board of the Escola Europea held its annual meeting on the 20th of April of this month at the headquarters of the Port of Civitavecchia.

Members of the Executive Committee of the Escola Europea during the annual meeting held on the 20th of April 2023.

From left to right: Alessia Mastromattei, Marta Miquel, Catalina Grimalt, Luca Lupi, Marco Muci, Eduard Rodes, Pino Musolino, (in the back) Silvio Ferrando, Lluís Salvador, Antonio Pedevila, Antonino Ilardi, Mario Massarotti, Marta Coppola, Agustí Filomeno

For the first time in the history of the organisation, the Governing Board, under the chairmanship of Lluís Salvadó, voted and unanimously approved the entry of a new member, the Port of Palermo and, therefore, the Authority of the Maritime Port System of Western Sicily, into the Escola Europea-Intermodal Transport. With the addition of the Port of Palermo as a general member, it joins the ranks of the founding members the Port of Barcelona, the Port of Civitavecchia, the Port of Genoa and the shipping companies Grimaldi Lines and Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV).

The meeting was attended by: the President of the Port of Civitavecchia, Pino Musolino; the Director of the Escola Europea, Eduard Rodés; the CEO of GNV, Matteo Catani, as members of the Governing Board. As a part of the Executive Committee, the Deputy Director General for Organisation and Internal Resources of the Port of Barcelona, Catalina Grimalt; the General Manager of Grimaldi Lines Spain, Mario Massarotti; the Head of Marketing and International Business of the Port of Genoa, Silvio Ferrando; GNV Board Member, Antonio Pedevilla; Marta Coppola, member of the Presidency Cabinet of the Port of Civitavecchia, attended. The newly incorporated to the committee Secretary General of the Port of Palermo, Luca Lupi was also present, in addition to the head of the Presidency Cabinet of the Port of Barcelona, Agustí Filomeno; and Marta Miquel, Chief Business Officer of the Escola Europea.

The board members reviewed the activities carried out by the Escola in 2022, which totalled 160 actions with 5,542 participants. It was a record figure in the history of the institution in terms of courses and participants.

In parallel, the Escola has participated in several European projects, such as YEP MED for the promotion of quality employment among young people in the Mediterranean, and TECHLOG, which is developing Living Labs for training with simulation in the port environment.

An immersive programme for Indonesian port executives

This week the Escola Europea has welcomed 20 port executives from the Pelindo terminals located in Indonesia to the Port of Barcelona for an immersion in the good practices of the Catalan port.

Between the 14th and the 17th of March, the Escola Europea-Intermodal Transport, together with Deloitte Spain and their counterparts in Indonesia, carried out an immersive programme consisting of site visits, technical sessions and discussion forums with industry experts in Barcelona for a group of executives from Indonesia.

The executives of the public port company Pelindo came from the holding company and different sub-holdings of the group: maritime businesses, containerised terminals, bulk terminals and general cargo terminals. The group was led by the representative of the Ministry of Public Enterprises of the Government of Indonesia.

The objectives of the programme were to gain first-hand knowledge of Barcelona Port’s management, as well as to understand the design and execution of its strategic proposal, which orients its actions towards the monitoring of KPIs and the achievement of strategic objectives. The speakers who accompanied the group in the sessions came from the top levels of the port community, with the participation of executives such as Santiago Garcia-Milà from the Port of Barcelona, Eduard Rodés from the Escola Europea, Javier Gallardo from Portic, Gonzalo Bort from Tradebe, Carlos Artigas from Autoterminal, and Francisco Jimenez from Deloitte, among many other professionals and specialists in the sector.

The group attended various workshops and visits, including to the terminals BEST, Grimaldi, Tradebe, Autoterminal, the Busan-Barcelona (B2B) logistics centre and the Maersk shipping company’s warehouse in the ZAL (Logistics Activities Zone).

At the same time, the Indonesian delegation was interested in the training and employment work carried out by the Port of Barcelona through the Escola Europea and described this activity as a first step in collaboration in the field of professional development and human capital of the ports of Pelindo

Escola presents its current and future projects and training to Lluís Salvadó, the President of the Port of Barcelona

As part of his welcome and incorporation into the presidency of the Port of Barcelona, Lluís Salvadó visited the Barcelona headquarters of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport (Escola Europea), a key player within the Port Community, to learn about new training initiatives and future projects.

On the 21st of February 2023, Lluis Salvadó, President of the Port of Barcelona and Chairman of the Governing Board of the Escola Europea, together with Catalina Grimalt Falcó, Deputy Director General for Organisation and Internal Resources of the Port of Barcelona and Member of the Executive Board, both representing the Port Authority of Barcelona, visited the headquarters of the Escola Europea to learn about the new training initiatives organised and promoted by the training centre, as well as the innovation, digitalisation and sustainable development projects of which the Escola is a part.

Welcoming the  visitors were the Eduard Rodés – Director of the Escola Europea, Concha Palacios – the Financial Director and Head of Projects, Marta Miquel – Business Development Manager, Mireia Ferré – Director of the Technical Office of Sustainability of the Port of Barcelona, Mireia Ferre, and, connected virtually from the headquarters of the Escola Europea in Civitavecchia (Italy), Marco Muci – the Country Manager for Italy.

At the meeting, the Escola’s training activities at both local and international levels were presented, which included Forma’t al Port Talent, the technical courses in maritime intermodality MOST – Motorways of the Sea Training, rail freight transport – SURCO, and management of temperature-controlled logistics chains, together with the training work carried out in Italy within the framework of the Formati al Porto programme and the GLIPS (Management of Integrated Logistics and Maritime Processes) training in Civitavecchia.

The training offer presentation was followed by a summary of the annual participation figures for the previous year, in which a record number of participants was broken with more than 5,542 participants. Of those, 2,111 were students from training and technical courses and 3,431 attended workshops and maritime visits in the Port of Barcelona. The participation figures forecast for the year 2023 showed an estimated 6% growth in student participation of logistics courses and workshops is planned.

The projects that have been consolidated by the institution were also presented to the Catalan port’s leadership: the YEP MED projectYouth Employment in Ports of the Mediterranean – with which a training offer on port logistics has been presented; and the TECHLOG projectTechnological Transfer for Logistics Innovation in Mediterranenan area – which foresees the implementation of two ‘Living Labs’ from which the development of innovation actions with simulator technology is foreseen. Both European projects are financed by ENI CBC MED, in which different Mediterranean port communities are participating.

As part of the strategy of consolidation and evolution of the European YEP MED project, the Escola developed the Port Virtual Lab, a virtual simulation laboratory of a port community portvirtuallab.com.

In the photo are from left to right: Director of the Escola Europea, Eduard Rodés, Lluis Salvadó, President of the Port of Barcelona, Financial Director and Head of Projects, Concha Palacios, General Business Director, Marta Miquel, Catalina Grimalt Falcó, Deputy Director General for Organisation and Internal Resources, and Mireia Ferre, Director of the Port of Barcelona’s Technical Office for Sustainability.

In addition, some of the projects that point to the future and are in line with the trends of the Blue Economy, and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were presented to respond to the training and innovation needs of the industry.

Participants of the inaugural edition of the SURCO Madrid course

The Escola’s takes its signature railway training to Madrid

Promoting rail transport in the intermodal chain, the Escola Europea in collaboration with Puertos del Estado finalised the SURCO Operations II training in Madrid in rail operations.

This January 2023, the first edition of the SURCO – Simple Use of Railway Connections- training took place in Madrid, a training in which different professionals from the public administration and private companies were able to discover the management processes that allow the use of rail transport as a sustainable option in the intermodal chain in depth, in addition to expanding their knowledge of rail infrastructures and intermodal equipment.

For the participants, this was an opportunity to learn about key aspects of the design and management of intermodal chains that integrate the use of railways. Óscar Ródenas, from P&O Ferrymasters, was among the attendees. Reflecting on the course, he highlighted: “Magnificent teaching staff, I have learned a lot in some aspects in which I did not have such extensive and detailed knowledge as they have given me (railway costs, ferro-port terminals). The exchange of views, opinions and knowledge was also very interesting”.

This training, organised and created by the Escola Europea, with the collaboration of Puertos del Estado, Railgroup’s In-Move, the Port of Barcelona, Renfe, ADIF, Viia, Puerto Seco de Madrid, Puerto Seco de Coslada, SLISA and Suardiaz Rail, among other companies in the railway sector, aimed to offer professionals from companies and administrations in the sector a practical and real vision of railway intermodality operations.

After completing its first edition in Madrid, this course, like all editions of SURCO, fulfils the purposes set by the European Union to increase rail traffic and rail motorways in general, as an incentive to promote sustainable mobility in the region, as well as serves as a complement to the plans of the Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda to try to boost rail freight traffic in Spain by making use of the so-called ‘eco-incentives’.

As part of the SURCO series, this training aimed to deepen the understanding of intermodal rail operations between ports and national and international rail inland terminals, focusing on the characteristics and advantages of this type of transport.

This was achieved through theoretical classes given at the Puertos del Estado headquarters, as well as through the resolution of a case study based on real operational scenarios. In addition, participants had the opportunity to learn about intermodal operations and infrastructures through visits to different terminals such as: the intermodal terminal in Coslada and the terminal in Azuqueca de Henares, as well as a visit to the freight and passenger CGO (operations management centre) in Atocha.

Participants of the inaugural SURCO Madrid course during a terminal visit

Theoretical classes focused on the management of railway systems, the European Transeuropean Transport Network, the impact of rail transport on the environment, national and international rail transport and procurement, and the analysis of the costs of rail transport chains.

It is in this context that knowledge of the different aspects surrounding rail freight transport is not only beneficial for professionals but also essential for companies involved in freight transport. This is where the offer of local and international courses and training for professionals, such as SURCO Madrid, takes on special importance.

For more information about the course, you can head to the course page: SURCO Madrid 2023 – Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport.

The War for Talent

When I was younger, the search for employees was very different. Companies created preferred “job profiles,” which would remain unchanged for large periods of time. People would send in their job profiles and hope that they would be accepted for the advertised posts. Those with a university degree (any degree – as frequently the specialisation didn’t necessarily need to be directly linked to the job) were always held in higher esteem. The burden to fill the positions was carried by the unemployed.

We live in a different world now. Workers’ expectations for their professional careers and who they work for have changed. The pandemic has hastened a trend that was already gaining speed in the late ‘10s – of preferred workplace environments, possibilities for employee development and growth, and a work-life balance. On top of that, the rapidly changing nature of work fuelled by technological innovations and environmental ambitions has made job posts flexible, if not obsolete, flexible. This is true when we look at any industry, but when we look at the transport and logistics sector in particular.

The fight for talent

Attracting, identifying, and retaining talent is becoming one of the strategic issues for organisations in the post-Covid world. This is one of the exciting topics currently surrounding Port Logistics Communities (PLCs). Many of the members of these communities depend on each other, and thus the search for solutions and the effectiveness of any joint actions in this field is achieved through common work between different operators. Such inter-cooperation creates a working chain in which the weakest link represents the strength of the entire system. In practice this means that every person should do things to the best of their abilities to ensure overall success.

Until recently, a significant part of operator selection has been done traditionally through general testing and assessment of services. This approach is not ideal to effectively assess increasingly unpredictable or less repetitive operations, which require very short preparation and execution times, and where the margin for failure is small. Moreover, in today’s ever-connected world, it is necessary to rely on the quality of services provided by other participants in the operational chain, which makes individual evaluations complex. Increasingly, relationships must be based on a thorough knowledge of the way our suppliers operate, who then become collaborators and managers of different parts of the operations. Therefore, all of us must be concerned about the entire human element that makes up this team.

The quality of the Port Logistics Community is fundamental for its proper development.

The Port of Barcelona and the Training and Employment Group: a three-sided coin

The Training and Employment group of the Port of Barcelona’s Governing Council tries to help companies in the sector find and maintain the resources they need to adequately fill current and future vacancies. The companies in the port logistics sector are facing a new reality on a day-to-day basis: innovation has become the new fuel for companies, both due to the number of start-ups that pop up and because of the need for large companies to continuously reinvent themselves. This means that what until now was seen as a two-sided coin represented by training on one side and employment on the other, has now morphed into something new; with an third characteristic: innovation. This poses new educational challenges and calls for new training needs – for teachers and students – and new jobs.

To help respond to this situation, a programme made up of several sub-programmes was set up in Barcelona. Incorporating a 360º programme, the idea was to cover all levels of the ecosystem. This system has been called “Vine al Port” in Catalan (or “Come to the Port” in English). It encapsulates various sub-programmes that are aimed at specific audiences: “Descubreix el Port” (Discover the Port), “Aprenem Junts” (Learning together), “Format al Port” (Training in the Port), “Port Talent” (Port Talent) and “Benvingut al Port” (Welcome to the Port).

The goal of this innovative system is to help the Barcelona port community come out strong in the war for Talent by tackling the issues at the fore – identifying what are the training needs that the companies lack, creating training programmes that fill the educational gaps that may exist, helping young students understand the professions of the port community (and what the jobs themselves look like through experiential courses and internships), and then finally filling any existing (or new) positions with the best prepared new workers.

Conclusion

The Escola and the Port of Barcelona have now embarked on this journey to continuously improve the Port Logitics Community. The port must reflect and represent the entire port-logistics community, publicising how its companies treat their staff and how they embody their fundamental values and responsibilities. Doing so will facilitate the community’s public image and therewith help with the war for Talent.

Companies must focus on tangible benefits in the form of good remuneration, mutual health insurance, pension funds, training, promotion, location, etc. It is also important to establish an emotional connection based on initiatives linked to environmental issues, social work or volunteering. In this respect, the PLC can carry out actions that complement what individual companies do with activities such as the food bank or the “Solidarity Container”.

 And finally, a sense of belonging must be fostered so that the people who work in the PLC feel that they are working on a common project with a scope that goes beyond what each one of them could achieve. It is important that this is known, understood and shared. The Port Community should be built together, with the collaboration of all partners involved.

In the new year we will be focusing more on our involvement in this Talent War. Keep an eye out for more news from us which will explain, with great detail, what “Coming to the Port” means and how you, or your colleagues or friends, can get involved to help our Barcelona port thrive.

I wish all of you a fantastic holiday season! 2022 has been, for lack of a more elaborate word, fascinating! The Escola has grown – through our port community, our projects and our initiatives. I am very exited to continue sharing with you our work in the new year.

Bon Nadal I Pròsper Any Nou

 

Written by Eduard Rodés, Director of the Escola EuropeaEduard Rodés

President of the Training and Employment Working Group
Of the Governing Council of the Port Community of Barcelona
Director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport
Barcelona 12 December 2022