The teachers’ legacy

In today’s modern world the true protagonists and heroes are the teachers, and their role in our port-logistics communities in particular is invaluable. I will begin this reflection by recalling a 1999 film that impressed me, entitled “Butterfly’s Tongue” by the magnificent Spanish film director José Luis Cuerda (Albacete 1947 – Madrid 2020), who died on 4 February.

The film gives the account of the life of a teacher from a small village in Galicia (in the North of Spain) who was concerned that his students should acquire knowledge and values. A sympathizer of the Second Spanish Republic, a renovator and a laic, he then finds himself facing the military uprising of July 18, 1936 that alters the life of the village, and marks the beginning of the Civil War.  Cuerda ensured that through the cinematography and the script, the conflicts that were experienced in this small community were clearly represented. In the end the school where the protagonist works becomes a reflection of these tensions and transforms into a place to defence for everyone’s ideas and principles, for better or worse.

The teacher is a central element of the village and of the community, because he or she has contact with the students and the huge responsibility to transmit his or her knowledge and ideas to them. Simultaneously he is conditioned by the parents, who watch and to an extent control what the teacher transmits to ensure that it is in accordance with the generally accepted principles. The teacher and the community jointly embody the basic ingredient of the structuring of collective intelligence and behaviour.

A teacher is a person who helps students acquire knowledge and virtue.

Knowledge

What is knowledge? A generally accepted definition demarcates it as familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which [can be] acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning. It can refer to a theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It can be implicit (as with practical skill or expertise) or explicit (as with the theoretical understanding of a subject)[1].

Virtue

What about virtue in that case? Virtue (derived from latin: virtus, Ancient Greek: “arete”) is moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and a reflection of good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics that promote collective and individual greatness, and specify doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong.

Working on the development of knowledge and virtue through the Forma’t al Port programme (get trained in the port), a question arose that I had not asked myself before: who are the teachers in our community? This then spiraled into subsequent thoughts: do we know them and do they know us? Do we prepare with them the topics that are taught to the students in the academic environment? Do they share our values and our priorities?

The discovery and, certainly to me, surprise, was that so far in the community of the Port of Barcelona – not so much. Close and collaborative relationships between companies and training centres are few and hard to find. The Forma’t al Port programme has definitely been a turning point by favouring quite a few contacts with dual training opportunities through the workshops themselves and through the contact with participating sector associations, which created positive prospects for the students.

In April, an activity called Getting Talent will take place. This event will allow the teachers of the training centres that collaborate with us on a regular basis to come and visit with the companies of the communities for one or two weeks. The idea is to establish a relationship between teachers and professionals that favours such close relationship and the exchange of knowledge, experiences, concerns and expectations, among others. Ultimately it is to advance towards a new reality in which the preparation of people is built by all – what the experts call collaborative training that allows the development of a collective intelligence. Dual training and such teacher’s stage are very likely essential to that type of collaboration.

Collective intelligence emerges from the interaction of similar individuals in daily activities and in problem solving – a regular occurrence in a port community.  It develops the capacity to participate in intellectual cooperation with the goal to create, innovate and invent, and as such should soon be a key determinant of efficiency. It should ultimately be accepted as a challenge that can be understood and effectively addressed by an organisation or sector.[2]

Learning by doing is an excellent strategy for the fostering of collective intelligence. Dual training and the training of teachers and company managers is an excellent way to move forward.  It is a new challenge on which we can all work together.

Get involved and collaborate!

Eduard Rodés

Director

Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

[1] Wikipedia

[2] Based on the study “Collective Intelligence Education, Enhancing the Collaborative Learning” by Jaime Meza et al. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325650291

IoT impact on Port Operations

The IoT (Internet of Things,) known as the ability to connect devices and objects through a digital network, is a term that has ceased to be new and has slowly become part of our daily routine. Nowadays devices connected to the IoT permeate our homes, with people relying on devices such as Roomba, smart refrigerators or Alexa. IoT’s capabilities are much more powerful and each of the sectors of our economies have taken advantage of the benefits of this technology operations and management.

When looking at the maritime industry, and ports in particular, we can see that the advantages of incorporating IoT into their operations for the interaction of M2M (machine to machine) in telematic devices and sensors has resulted in a positive impact. Shipping has recognised that the best strategy for the future is no longer to prioritise massive physical growth but rather to optimise flows and logistics processes. Given this need, the IoT provides the ability to manipulate, control and monitor actions – an important step (albeit not the only one) within the grander scheme of things.

Initially we saw the IoT utilised to optimise the mobilisation of containers in terminals, monitoring of the control of working hours and accesses, towards the activation of equipment, control of cranes or prediction of maintenance. All this could be summarised not only in information reports but also in future opportunities. Knowing the data is always beneficial but knowing what to do with it is much better and this is the real gain from the process. To correctly identify where the processes can be optimised is the most difficult job of the sensor data collection. To date no universal algorithm or formula exists, and each terminal, each product and each country has a different dynamic that must be evaluated and readapted to involve the complex analysis of experts who actually manage to identify the weak sections of the processes.

On the other hand, the IoT is common practice of digital ports even if this does not mean that everything is done digitally. Monitoring, control and data collection have become daily routines, but the prediction of many activities is the new leading characteristic that the IoT is taking. It entails predicting supply chain breaks, equipment failures and many other aspects that are associated with artificial intelligence.

The cons?

What are the downsides? The main concern is that such implementations may expose the ports and organisations relying on digital data collection to unauthorised external interventions or cyberattacks. Nevertheless, large companies have understood that it is part of the risks to be mitigated, and that without these strategies sooner rather than later companies that do not adopt them will lose competitiveness.

The future?

Information is becoming more and more valuable. At the same time, it is becoming more public and freely accessible. The IoT interconnects equipment to obtain information; this information then collaborates between companies to obtain benefits. The scope of the IoT has managed to expand to all those who indirectly interact with logistics or port activities. We have left behind the information gap that in the past was termed the “Maritime Adventure”, and today exporters need to have constant control of situations to optimise the supply chain.

From a direct link to the truck driver through an app interconnected with the port community system, to the most detailed environmental control system, the IoT has infinite contributions in the port activity. It can be customised to the needs of each actor and promises to have event higher levels of performance with the emergence of 5G (in the not-to-near future).

 “According to IDC (International Data Corporation), there are already nearly 200 billion computerised devices, with 20 billion of them wired and communicating via the Internet, and more than 50 billion sensors that track” around the world. The maritime sector, as the majority holder of international transport, has the responsibility to act efficiently and safely to reduce costs in a globalised market. This requires the optimisation of each of the shipping processes, and that in any case the IoT is a tool that allows to promote these objectives.

With the world constantly becoming “smaller”, and speed and accuracy becoming more important to customers and operators, there is hardly any doubt that the Internet of Things is the language of the future – and it is up to us to knows this language and to learn to decipher the information collected by it to improve the door-to-door supply chain, and the operations in the ports in particular.

For more information, check out these articles:

 

Written by:

  • Vanessa Bexiga, Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

Information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and the Escola’s courses

With the current uncertainty surrounding the global Covid-19 pandemic, transport authorities and both private and public entities have taken several measures to offset the health and economic consequences of the virus. With this in mind, the Escola’s courses and operations have been halted until the 30th of March (with the possibility of extending this date should the authorities deem it necessary). This has resulted in a number of our regularly scheduled courses to be postponed.

Though we know this may adversely affect some of you who have registered to or planned to attend one of the courses, please know that the decisions were made with the regard for everyone’s safety and in accordance with the official regulations set out by the Spanish government to contain the spread of COVID-19. Please contact us if you would like to know more about the new course dates, or stay tuned via our social media channels which are updated daily. The information on our website is always the most up to date, but our staff is still working and will reply to any enquiries arriving by email.

In the meantime, we wish for all of you to stay safe and healthy.

Temperature controlled logistics: Spotlight on pharmaceuticals

Professionals operating in the field of temperature controlled logistics need to take into account the condition of the products across all stages of the supply chain – beginning with storage and product preservation, through the transport of the cargo that is sensitive to changes in temperatures or varying atmospheric conditions, up until delivery to the customer. This broad spectrum of products includes pharmaceuticals, which need to be handled under particularly strict conditions as any changes may affect chemical stability or alter their properties, and cause serious health-related consequences to the end-consumers as a result. To ensure that these changes do not occur, pharmaceutical companies have to be able to prove that their products are transported through a stringently temperature controlled supply chain. It is vital that all parties involved, from the producer, conveyor to end customer are assured and can prove the integrity of the cargo.

The responsibilities in the temperature controlled supply chain vary among each of the parties. While the carrier needs to be responsible for preserving the transport conditions indicated for each type of medicine, the producer needs to ensure that the carrier is aware of the acceptable margins of error for temperature changes, what are the risks that may be acceptable, and what actions should be avoided to preserve the integrity of the product, etc.

Companies operating in the pharmaceutical cold chain should be kept up to date with the latest market regulations and standard rules. Due to the complexity of transporting these types of cargo, this task can be challenging. In the EU, the Directive 2001/83/EC is the foremost legal document guiding the production, distribution and use of medicinal products. In addition, other organisations regulate and establish new procedures, including theWorld Health Organization, Parenteral Drug Association, International Air Transport Association, Pharmacopeia, among others.

Though it is important to recognise that different medicines and different transport methods have their own characteristics of preparation and transport, there are general considerations that must be taken into account regardless of the pharmaceuticals being transported. This includes questions such as whether the storage facilities at the destination similar to those of the origin. Refrigerated vehicles or passive cooling systems will have to be considered to ensure the drugs not be compromised en-route. Minimising the amount of time the pharmaceuticals spend at ambient temperatures is critical, especially in warmer climates. The load needs to be securely stowed inside the transport units to ensure uniform air circulation and temperature distribution. Frequently, the use of temperature and humidity measuring devices is recommended.

Air freight temperature controlled logistics

Air cargo transport is the most popular method of transport for cargo with high levels of temperature control. Air transport is advantageous when it comes to speed issues, overcoming geographical obstacles or lack of infrastructure for other means of transport. The main weakness of this type of transport? It is extremely expensive, both in financial costs and in terms of the  environmental footprint.

Sea freight temperature controlled logistics

Around 20% of pharmaceutical payloads are moved via ocean freight. Sea freight temperature controlled logistics is substantially cheaper when compared to air freight shipping. It also offers a more controlled environment in comparison to air transport. There are fewer control points and disruptions, as sea freight cargo will not be touched until it reaches its final destination. With new technologies in the maritime sector, the transport units allow tracking and monitoring in real time (a big plus for the clients!). There are few load movements, which limits the potential breaks in the cold chain and potential exposure of the products to ambient temperatures. The main weakness? It is considerably slower than air transport.

In general, there is an enormous mindset that this type of products due to their characteristics and specificities must be transported by air.

The main question thus is: Air or sea freight transport? Sea freight, done well, is an excellent mode in the right circumstances, though the same is true of airfreight. It is understandable that emergencies will always require medicines to be transported rapidly from point of origin to destination, but with tighter regulations on the temperature control and cold logistics chain in the pharmaceutical industry ensured by the maritime authorities, the gap between air and sea freight is closing in.

Intrigued? Check out our upcoming course on Temperature Controlled Supply Chains.

Written by:

  • Raquel Nunes – Co-Founder of YoungShip Portugal

The Port de Barcelona and the Escola Europea reaffirm their commitment to Forma’t al Port

The Port de Barcelona and the Escola Europea-Intermodal Transport reaffirm the Forma’t al Port programme

During the next three years, the Escola will continue to offer practical course-workshops to promote the use of port services, intermodal transport and the improvement of knowledge in the sector.

The Port de Barcelona and the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport have signed a new collaboration agreement for the Forma’t al Port programme, with the goal of organising and coordinating practical courses adapted to the needs of the students coming from local secondary schools and training centres to promote the use of port services, intermodal transport and the improvement of knowledge of the maritime and intermodal sectors.

The Catalan port authority, with the collaboration of the Escola, will be responsible to prepare the training materials related to the educational lectures which will be given as part of the courses. To help offer the training at a reduced price to the students, the Port of Barcelona will offer a contribution in study grants for the duration of this new three-year period of the project.

As part of the programme, an executive and academic committee will be created to ensure quality education and excellence in the programme management. Both the Port and the Escola Europea-Intermodal Transport will assign a representative to the committees to help coordinate and prepare the courses. The organisation and management of the courses and the committees linked to the programme will be carried out by the Escola.

The Escola Europea is a training centre dedicated to provide quality training and education to students and future professionals of the transport sector, with educational programmes tailored to port activities and intermodal transport – to help better understand the sector.

This collaboration, together with that of other public entities, associations and private companies, will help ensure the continuous training of the Barcelona logistics community in order to face the challenges of the future and strategically place Barcelona and Catalonia in the forefront of logistics activities in Europe and the world.

The Port of Barcelona’s commitment to education

With the signing of this agreement, the Port of Barcelona reaffirms its commitment to being a driving force in the country’s economic activity and a generator of employment. To this end, it works to establish partnerships between companies in the Port Community, training centres and administrations in order to improve training and employment; all key aspects to consolidate as a reference point in innovation and sustainability for the region.

The Port of Barcelona completes the RePort project with 26 trucks converted to dual-fuel

The RePort project, led by the Port of Barcelona is making positive progress and preparing for its final phase. The initiative aims to promote natural gas as an alternative fuel for trucks.

“Today we already have 25 trucks transformed to support compressed natural gas (CNG), and of the remaining one will be transformed to liquefied natural gas (LNG). For this we will put some LNG tanks and adapt the engine so it can work with both diesel and gas,” explained Daniel Ruiz, environmental consultant for the introduction of Liquefied Natural Gas to the Port of Barcelona.

On the 19th of February Daniel Ruiz presided over the general assembly of the RePort project. The meeting aimed to clarify the last points of the final phase of the project, which is scheduled to end on 15 April this year. This included “closing the technical part of the project and the economic justification, where all the documentation must be submitted in order to process the grant”. Also, the meeting served to “talk about the last transformation of the trucks to LNG”.

According to Ruiz, the transformed trucks correspond to different companies that are part of the Association of Container Transport Companies (ATEC according to its Spanish name).

In the words of Daniel Ruiz, the most important thing of this initiative, led and coordinated by the Port of Barcelonam, is the “reduction of emissions of NOx and CO2”, alongside the “reduction of the economic bill, as the use of natural gas results in less consumed diesel, therefore making it more profitable for truckers”.

The RePort project

 The RePort project planned for “the transformation of 26 trucks that operate in the Port of Barcelona and transport containers of goods, transforming them from diesel to the dual-fuel mode, with the use of compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas,” said Daniel Ruiz, from the Port of Barcelona.

RePort is funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund under the Catalan FEDER Operational Programme, managed by Acció, the Catalan Government’s agency for business competitiveness.

The project partners are the Association of Container Transporters (ATEC), Gas Natural Fenosa, Generalitat de Catalunya, Dimsport Spain, IDIADA or the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, and the Escola Europea-Intermodal Transport, among others.

Daniel Ruiz reiterated that “the transformation of the engines has consisted of the installation of a switchboard”, which controls the injection of gas into the engine and gas tanks. Of the trucks that are part of the project, 25 have a deposit of compressed natural gas and one has been equipped with liquefied natural gas.

For more information about the project, you can visit the project pages:

 

 

Source:

Diario del Puerto

Innovative cruises for the modern day passengers

This year the Escola Europea will for the first time hold a course dedicated to Cruises and Port operations – a course aimed at helping industry professionals understand the characteristics, specialities and implications linked to such an important section of the transport sector. Previously the Escola has held cruise-related course in collaboration with Medcruise in the years 2007, 2010 and 2012, which were open to Medcruise port staff and members. This new course extends the cruise and passenger knowledge further to the wider public.

Cruise shipping originated in the United States, and was initially a leisure activity predominantly linked to the upper classes of the social spectrum. Today, however, with lower costs, coupons and different packages offered by cruise companies, all members of society around the globe can use the cruise industry to spend their holidays, whilst visiting a number of different port cities in the cruise’s route. Cruise shipping is now popular not only in the United States and around the Caribbean Sea, but also in Europe (North Sea and the Western Mediterranean in particular), Asia and the Oceanic isles. It is “defined as a mixture of maritime transport, travel and tourism services, facilitating the leisure activity of passengers paying for an itinerary and, potentially, other services on board, and includes at least one night on board on a seagoing vessel having a capacity of at least 100 passengers” (Pallis, A.). The companies operating in this industry need to take into consideration a number of characteristics specifically linked to tourism – as cruises are important vessels that facilitate it. “On-board amenities, itineraries, ports of call, and shore excursions” are but a few of the things a cruise liner needs to consider when planning a regular route. Additionally, to respond to a growing number of passengers and vessels, the industry has had to continuously evolve to “embrace innovation to develop new destinations, new ship designs, new and diverse on-board amenities, facilities and services, plus wide-ranging shore side activities” (Pallis, A.). It has also become common for cruise lines to differentiate themselves from their competition by creating themed cruises and by offering flexible packages to appeal to all demographic target groups at their disposal.

How are cruise liners and cruise ships related to the transport sector, one might wonder? Although predominantly seasonal, cruises are responsible for the transport of vast numbers of tourists, therewith contributing to the economic prosperity of the inland areas of the ports of call. The graph below (taken from Cruise Market Watch) shows that in the past 30 years the number of cruise passengers globally has experienced continual growth – leading to the need for new innovative cruise designs, and the evolution of Smart Ports and Smart Cities that can both process the larger amount of human capital as well as ensure seamless and pleasant experience for those arriving and departing.

Smart (Cruise) Ports

With tourism being one vital factor in economic development of regions, it is important for the ports that welcome cruises to serve not only the passengers, but also to ensure that the vessels get the most ecological, efficient and safe transit that they can get. Cruise ships are getting larger and larger to accommodate the larger number of passengers, and cruise ports need to make sure that they have a sufficient number of deep-water berths, or in the absence thereof to be able to offer attractive logistics solutions to accommodate the passenger requirements and their experiences (such as tendering in some smaller ports). This continuous on to the sizes of the terminals servicing the cruises, the transit connections to and from the cities connected to the ports, luggage transfers, food provisions, among other things.  “Traffic, parking and human resources are issues that are scalable, but multiple ships can easily break down the infrastructure of a facility. In ports of call, the transport and dispersal of tours is another challenge” (Jordan 2019).

Source: Cruising.org (https://cruising.org/-/media/Images/CLIA%202018%20Passenger%20Numbers )

Smart ports need to take full advantage of innovative and “smart” solutions to help passengers maintain the “holiday” feeling whilst in transit, all the while ensuring that the innovative solutions implemented are cost-effective and durable. Check-in counters are becoming obsolete at terminals whilst security is taking the reins in passenger processing. Passengers can send their baggage off using ship-to-shore companies, therewith saving them both time and ensuring ease of embarkation.

Ecologically, port operations need to strive to be emission free whilst still effective to serve the colossal ships coming to call – both to provide any servicing or supply services that may be necessary or simply to re-fuel and re-stock the amenities available on-board.

Source: CLIA (https://cruising.org/news-and-research/-/media/CLIA/Research/CLIA-2019-State-of-the-Industry.pdf)

As cruises are seasonal, ports also need to be creative about the use of the terminal space during the off-season – some ports have begun using the space as event rental spaces, to help offset any potential losses when no cruise ships come to call.

The sector has been growing on all fronts in recent decades. Very recently, however, this growth has been centred in luxury and exploration cruise tourism, which calls for a different and more specialized offers that incorporate ports and atypical routes to attract the attention of passengers seeking to maintain their passions without having to commit to general and global packages. The list of the types of smaller vessels that accommodate such tourism in the shipyard is extensive. Moreover, in addition to such refocusing of the cruise industry, we will also see the incorporation and increased activity of small ports that will be capable of welcoming such new and innovative cruise vessels.

Many of these themes and topics will be covered in the Ports and Cruises course (https://escolaeuropea.eu/calendar/ports-and-passengers-2020/). The course, initially scheduled for the end of March 2020, has been postponed to take place in November 2020 (dates are provisional). If you are interested and would like to hear more about this course, contact us for more information.

 

Written by: 

  • Lidia Slawinska, Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport
  • Vanessa Bexiga, Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

 

Sources:

Jordan, A. 2019. New Designs help Ports Support Growing Cruise Industry – an Interview. Maritime Executive. [Accessed 18 February 2020] https://www.maritime-executive.com/features/new-designs-help-ports-support-growing-cruise-industry

Pallis, T. Cruise Shipping and Urban Development: State of the Art of the Industry and Cruise Ports.  International Transport Forum [ Accessed February 17 2020]

Naci Polat / Procedia – Technical Innovations in Cruise Tourism and Results of Sustainability. Social and Behavioral Sciences 195 ( 2015 )p. 438 – 445

 

The Escola Europea opens the registrations for the brand new course “Ports and Passengers”

The course, with an eminently practical approach, will offer a 360º vision of the operations and commercialisation of cruise ships and ferries.

The Escola Europea has launched its new specialised training course on cruise and ferry operations and commercialisation. The need for such a course was born from the concern to seek formulas for professionals in the port and tourism sectors to obtain a practical vision of what happens in the port during passenger operations, and to analyse the trends and growth and thus ensure the best strategies and advice in the cruise sector, from the operational, commercial and, in particular in light of modern-day environmental concerns, environmental perspectives.

During this 3-day long training, the participants will be offered theoretical perspectives through lectures and debates, as well as given a practical viewpoint through practical visits and a case study which will make it possible to analyse different passenger profiles, the characteristics of the different cruise lines and local tourist offers.

The course, initially planned to take place between the 30th of March and the 1st of April, but which has been postponed tentatively following the state of emergency declared in Spain related to the Coronavirus pandemic, will be held in Barcelona in the autumn. Recognised professionals from the sector will share their knowledge during the training, which will be carried out thanks to the collaboration of the Port of Barcelona, Grimaldi Lines, MSC Cruises, Marmedsa Cruise Services, and Barcelona Crew, among others.

The current growth of the cruise line sector

International cruise tourism is the sector that has witnessed the greatest continuous growth in recent decades. Today, the globally positioned sector faces new challenges that need to accommodate the needs of modern-day customers and the environment. It is vital to combine strategies, optimise processes and develop new technologies to complement the gigantism that the sector has experienced in recent years with optimal logistics operations that will result in high passenger satisfaction and interconnected operational logistics to the neighbouring environment and its society.

To work towards such sustainable improvement, the course delves into how the cruise industry is addressing environmental challenges, sustainability actions and social responsibility. In addition, the professors will detail the current context of the cruise industry including: trends, statistics, new destinations and future objectives.

The course will tackle the training practically through visits to port facilities to witness land-based management and port transit operations first-hand, and by presenting a case study (to be worked on in groups) to understand the implementation of cruise marketing and services.

“Ports & Passengers” is one of the technical courses that represent the innovative training missions of the Escola Europea, focused on the continuous education of professionals of the sector.

For more information on the course, you can visit the course page on: https://escolaeuropea.eu/calendar/ports-and-passengers-2020/.

Developing sustainable Intermodal Transport Networks: a challenge for logistics

As 2020 comes to an end, in this final issue of the Odiseo of 2019 I want to focus on networks and the elements that make them up. There are a few main protagonists: the people they serve and, in many cases, those who benefit from them.

The western Mediterranean is an area composed, in the South, of Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. In the North the Sea houses the countries of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Malta. It is home to a total of about 290 million people. It has a young South, where 43% of the population is under 25 years old, compared to the 25% in the northern countries. In the North the situation is reversed, where 33% of the people are 55 years old or older. In the south, this number does not reach 15%. The North hosts about 190 million inhabitants facing close to a hundred million in the South.

The three networks that structure the development of our society

Why are we talking about networks? We live immersed in all kinds of networks, and often we are not very aware of them. Our society and economy are built around three major networks: energy, telecommunications and transport. In Europe, these first appeared in the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, and their function was primarily set to link all regions, contribute to the growth of the internal market and job creation, while simultaneously achieving environmental and sustainable development objectives.

These networks serve us efficiently on a daily basis. For transport to function smoothly, we need energy networks, comprising petrol stations, electricity charging points, natural gas supply points and, as well as the currently emerging, new, less polluting energy sources.

Telecommunications allow us to make digital payments by cards, financial transactions, give us access to the World Wide Web, e-commerce, e-mail, IoT and capture data for the use of intelligent transport management systems, among many others.

In transport services, we have two clear examples: the container, which is already widespread through the global network, and is generally accepted and not questioned by the industry members, and on the opposite side of the coin – the railways, which in today’s climate need to make progress to obtain better standardisation systems. This is particularly true in Spain.

Each network has to follow its own operating rules. For example, when we go to a gas station, we know what kind of fuel is there on offer. In the field of electronic communications, the Internet has taken control of the entire market. We have already mentioned the containers in which 20, 40 or 45 feet have become the norm. On the roads, more and more signalling systems and traffic rules are becoming unified. Finally, in road construction itself, international standards are used to classify the different categories.

Building a network

Networks facilitate progress. There are set architectural designs that have been developed to ensure such progress, and which almost always has positive consequences. A network is built with supporting infrastructures. In communication networks, we have service stations and, in some cases, gas pipelines for the transport of fuels or gas. In the field of transport, we have ports, logistics platforms, roads and road and rail infrastructures.

We can then turn to these infrastructures and provide services that support the network. It may involve the simultaneous incorporation of several networks that are necessary to be able to provide the services that the networks have as their main objectives. Finally, operational regulations and a form of governance needs to exist that will establish rules, standards, access and guidelines, among other things that would facilitates their use and growth.

Once an adequate operational structure is established, the network must develop to consolidate. This requires collaboration and information sharing. Best practices, training, and working with specialised groups are important for the take-off and growth of a network. Once a certain size is attained, the network will be able to contribute with more value before becoming a normality. For example, today, it would be very difficult and costly to replace the Internet or the widespread use of maritime containers.

With a consolidated network, new services, new functionalities, transaction optimizations, new challenges and new components emerge.

Transport Networks

Europe proposed a trans-European network in the same way as Ferrmed[1] proposed a rail network in the Mediterranean. Since then, networks of logistic towing of semi-trailers closely linked to short sea shipping have been proposed. These then help improve freight transport systems and reduce overall costs. When thinking of transport units, these would be our core networks for manufactured products, while for ro-ro transport, RO-RO vessels and ferries are heavily relied on.

The first element that emerges is the topology of the network. We start from the basic elements that make up networks: nodes and vectors, which in turn form different sets according to the product flows and the criteria with which they are constituted. Taking the airport model as a reference, a modern mode of transport that has evolved very quickly and efficiently, we can see that there are networks with point-to-point relationships that have evolved into networks with hub and spoke nodes that have allowed us to respond to the sizes of the aircrafts. And this, in turn, has evolved into hybrid systems. Thus it can be summed up that the network is configured according to the means of transport, structure and volume of traffic.

When looking at the port level in the Mediterranean region, there are clearly defined Hub ports, such as Algeciras and TangerMED. Ports that could be classified as hinterland or Gateways also exist. These include the likes of the Ports of Casablanca, Barcelona, Genoa or Civitavecchia.

Today, we have a network that is used to set priorities and let me say that I believe that it is above all a question of avoiding arbitrary decisions or decisions that can only be justified for reasons that have nothing to do with the efficiency of transport infrastructure and services.

A network seeks to develop a competitive and resource-efficient transport system, as indicated in the Commission’s 2011 White Paper on Transport. A network enables the internal market to function properly and strengthens economic, social and territorial cohesion. It facilitates the mobility of people and goods in a simple, safe and sustainable way. It facilitates accessibility and connectivity in all regions that contribute to economic development and competitiveness. And, instead of focusing only on the European region, it is interest to think about the Western Mediterranean per se and to have a good starting point with some of the important criteria for building the networks that are needed today.

TEN-T Network structure

The Trans-European Transport Network has a two-layers structure, comprising a core network and a comprehensive network covering all Member States.

It is a core network that exists without bottlenecks or discontinuities to facilitate interoperability between the different modes of transport.

It exists with urban nodes, logistics platforms, freight terminals, ports, rail terminals, airports, and with a maritime dimension with the motorways of the sea. The TEN-T is a network that uses innovative technological solutions, which have a vital role to play in transforming transport to make it accessible to all citizens and to create a safer, more sustainable, low-carbon and energy-efficient system.

The core network corridors cover the most important long-distance flows of the core network and aim, in particular, to improve cross-border links within the Union.

These corridors are multimodal and are open to the inclusion of all modes of transport. They shall cross at least two borders and, if possible, include at least three modes of transport, including the motorways of the sea, where appropriate.

In addition, special attention is paid to the measures necessary to ensure the safety of fuels through increased energy efficiency and promote the use of alternative energy sources and propulsion systems, in particular low-carbon or carbon-free; to reduce the exposure of urban areas to the negative effects of transit transport by rail and road; and to help the removal of administrative and technical barriers, in particular to the interoperability of the trans-European transport network and to competition.

WestMED corridors

When thinking about the Western Mediterranean, or the WestMED area, the corridors of particular interest to the Escola are:

  • The Baltic-Adriatic Corridor (Poland-Slovakia-Austria-Italy)
  • The Atlantic Corridor (Portugal-Spain-France)
  • The North Sea – Baltic Sea corridor (Finland – Estonia – Latvia – Lithuania – Poland – Germany – Netherlands – Belgium)
  • The North-Mediterranean Sea Corridor (Ireland-United Kingdom- -Bass-Netherlands-Belgium-Luxembourg-South France, because Brexit became Ireland-Belgium-Netherlands and France).
  • The Mediterranean corridor (Spain-France- North Italy-Slovenia-Croatia-Hungary)
  • Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor (Finland-Sweden-Denmark-Germany-Austria-Italy)

The corridor approach can be used as an instrument to coordinate different projects on a transnational basis and synchronise its development, thus maximising the benefits of the network. These projects should contribute to cohesion through better territorial cooperation. In order to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the corridors, each corridor is supported by a European coordinator.

Ports have come to play a fundamental role in structuring the network because they are the main modal exchange points. If we focus on the WestMed area which includes the Atlantic area, the Alboran Sea, the Balearic Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, we have 20  main ports in the network. In Portugal Porto, Aveiro, Lisboa and Sines; in Spain Seville, Algeciras, Cartagena, Valencia, Tarragona and Barcelona ; In France Perpignan and Marseille. In Italy, Genoa, La Spezia, Livorno, Civitavecchia – Rome, Naples, Gioia Tauro and Palermo; and in Malta Valetta.

Seaports Infrastructure on the Network

Seaports are the entry and exit points into the land infrastructure of the core network.

Equipment associated with maritime transport infrastructure may include equipment for traffic management and freight transport, for the reduction of negative effects, including negative environmental effects, and for the use of alternative fuels, as well as for dredging, maintenance and security of the port and port access.

Maritime transport infrastructure includes in particular: maritime space, sea lanes, sea ports, including infrastructure necessary for transport operations in the port area, port connections with other modes of the TEN-T network, docks, locks and quays, aids to navigation, port access and canals, jetties, motorways of the sea, related equipment and telematic applications, including electronic maritime services.

Motorways of the Sea

TEN-T policy also focuses on the development of the “Motorways of the Sea” (MoS), for which a European coordinator is responsible for leading the process of its harmonised implementation.

A European maritime space without barriers, which I hope will soon become a Mediterranean space without barriers, includes short sea shipping lanes, ports, associated marine infrastructure, equipment and facilities. It aims to simplify administrative procedures allowing the operation of short sea shipping services between at least two ports, including their hinterland connections.

MoS include seaports on the core network or between a port on the core network and a port in a third country. This means that today, the port of the third country cannot receive direct funding, but it can benefit from the funding received by the whole operation. It also includes port facilities, freight terminals, logistics platforms and freight platforms located outside the port area, but associated with port operations, information and communication technologies (ICT), security and safety, and administrative and customs procedures in at least one State.

Today, MoS operations also include activities aimed to improve environmental performances of the vessels, ports and hinterland operators, which includes shore-based electricity supply that helps ships reduce their emissions, airworthiness activities throughout the year (dredging), alternative re-fuelling facilities, the optimization of processes and procedures, the human element that would include training, and finally the ICT platforms and information systems, including traffic management systems and electronic reporting systems.

Shipping Lines

Shipping lines are the networks’ champions. Existing or new maritime services that form part of a door-to-door logistics chain, help group freight flows into viable, regular, frequent and high quality short sea shipping links.

The MoS network can replace a significant part of the expected increase in road transport.

The Lines are now an essential part of the network configuration. They are the real protagonists of the operations. Almost all of them private, and as such they bet their money.

The evolution of the sector will depend to a large extent on this. Infrastructures are indispensable, but they are far from sufficient. The services and quality offered will determine the future. Opportunities for improving exports depend to a large extent on traders and customs. We hope that together we can help them to develop properly.

 

 

 

Railway connections

The rail part is now one of the main elements of port development. In Barcelona the company VIIA offers rail motorway services. These are new and very powerful concepts. Trucks can now travel on the motorways of the sea to connect with the railways motorways that connect Northern and Central Europe with very short transit time and high-quality services. This represents a new way of understanding intermodality, which is currently undergoing spectacular development. Today, we have significant volumes in the transport of semi-trailers, cars, containers, and refrigerated containers, and in most parts of the continent the rail market in ports continues to grow. This, sadly is not the case in the Spanish rail freight transport market.

Digitization of transport operations

Finally, one of the elements that is of vital importance at this time is the digitization of transport operations. This technological aspect of the networks enables traffic management and information exchanges within and between modes of transport for multimodal transport operations and transport related value-added services, improves safety, environmental performance and simplifies administrative procedures.

The digital services should facilitate a seamless connection between the core network infrastructures and regional and local transport infrastructure. An important player is the Port Community System.  In Barcelona we have Portic and in Morocco we have PortNET. They will play a fundamental role in the digitization of operations in their respective areas.

The digitization of transport operations is linked to a topical subject in Europe (but one that is increasingly catching on in Morocco, Tunis and Algeria on the other side of the Mediterranean): one of the National Single Windows.  I believe that they represent an unique opportunity as customs can take advantage of all the information they receive. If a framework of trust between the public administration of all this countries is possible, then the increase in the speed of operations will be inevitable. I hope they can give us joy in the near future.

The money factor

And I’ll finish with the money. Everything that has been proposed must be funded. Europe has embarked on a path where it relies heavily on sophisticated financing models. These include PPP, participation with bonds, bank financing, subsidies, etc.

One of the sources that provides clarity on this subject in Europe is the information from the European Parliament, which is working on the “Multiannual Financial Framework – LEGISLATIVE TRAIN 11.2019” programme, set to cover the period between 2021 to 2027.

This programme will replace the CEF and aims to develop transport, energy and digital infrastructure within the framework of the trans-European networks. With very significant investment figures, since it is 42.3 billion euros, compared to 23.2 billion for the 2014-2020 period of the EFC. It sets out certain priorities that will have to be analysed: decarbonization, digitization, transition to clean energy and improve digital connectivity.

Conclusions

Finally, we circle back to the beginning, to the transport networks: Trans-European, Trans-Maghreb, Trans-African or international. They will all fight to compete and, in some cases, to cooperate and develop.

Today, we know that the China Belt and the Silk Road initiative could complete a logistics chain from Japan to Russia to Central and Northern Europe. This reconfigures the world again, with transit times of 19 days between Japan and Europe. We are live in exciting times.

I would like to leave you a message, summarizing what was said before:

Networks are a fundamental element for the development of advanced societies; A network is solid if it is easy to use.

Logistics is a networking factor which can help us improve the countries in which we live in.

Let’s do it!

Eduard Rodés

Director

Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

 

[1] http://www.ferrmed.com/sites/default/files/2019-04/FERRMED%20GLOBAL%20STUDY%20BOOK.pdf

2020

If you work in shipping and after seeing this number the first thing that comes to your mind is EMISSIONS, then you are on the right track!

In the previous Blue Innovation post we talked about the OPS as the means to control emissions in ports. However, seafarers have a saying that says “A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for,” which reminds us that a ship spends most of its life time in navigation. Even though emissions in port directly influence the communities nearby, the emissions from ships affect the environment in general.

It is not a new development for the IMO to work towards environmental responsibility. Since 1997 it has officially had the MARPOL Convention. In terms of emissions, by 2005 chapter VI of the convention has entered into force which aimed to control SOx, NOx, and other particle emissions that affect the earth’s ozone layer. Each year there is more responsibility and pressure coming from the IMO, encompassing the complex discussion of measures in favour of the environment within the complex understanding of the great changes and challenges involved in the issue. The complexity is there as it is a decision that calls for the necessary initiatives and technologies to be able to improve (decrease) emissions, considering the responsibility implied by the potential incidents that would affect the means of transport that mobilises 80% of the world’s goods.

The IMO has been known to set emission guidelines for decades, however quite a bit of controversy has surrounded the 2020 expectations. For instance, currently the global limit of sulphur contents of ships’ fuel oil is 3.5% and with the entry into force of the new limitations on the 1st of January 2020, emissions will need to be reduced to 0.5% SOx. The ECA zones will not be affected with this limitation, as these emissions have already been limited in 2015 from 1.0% to 0.1%.

What do all these changes mean and how to they relate to our Blue Innovation section? In this issue many of the alternative solutions to the challenges set by the IMO 2020 regulation will be listed, which will then be provided with source links for anyone wishing to delve deeper into the subjects.

In a way, as a consequence of the global concerns and pressures to tackle climate change, technological developments are the ones that are going to be able to face all these changes with the smallest possible impact on the global economy. This signifies the need to not only change the fuel type used by commercial vessels, but the logistics of bunker supply, adaptation of machinery and installations and procedures that take a lot of time as well, especially when thinking about more than 95,000 merchant ships worldwide.

ALTERNATIVE FUELS

In order to meet the new IMO regulations, ships have several options, including fuel quality (low sulphur fuel oil) and alternative fuels (methanol, biofuels, LNG, H2, etc.), which require major adaptations to the engine systems.

M/V AIDA Nova on LNG bunker operation at the Port of Barcelona. Source: http://www.spanishports.es/texto-diario/mostrar/1401337/puerto-barcelona-recibe-primer-crucero-propulsado-gas-natural-licuado

 

HYBRID AND ELECTRIC PROPULSION SYSTEMS

On the other hand, some proposals include the use of hybrid systems combining of diesel-electric, gas-electric or even ones relying solely on electricity. The first are systems that combine the operation of a fuel for the generation of energy that is stored in batteries and used according to operational needs, thus distributing and optimizing emissions. It is also true that since 2015 fully electric ships have been a reality in the market, but due to their short autonomy, they have not spread out.

WIND SYSTEMS

Wind propulsion has also been a part of the proposals. It contemplates (depending on the type of vessels) the possibility of implementing systems that help propulsion through the use of wind force. Some examples of such systems are DynaRig, Flettner-Rotors and even research projects such as Wind & Solar Power for Sustainable Shipping or the Kite propulsion system. These systems are not intended to replace the engines but can compensate an operational process of slow steaming without resulting in significant changes in the journey.

Maersk Pelican with Rotor Sails, project done by Norsepower confirmed savings of 8.2 % fuel and associated CO2.
http://wind-ship.org/norsepower//

AFTER-TREATMENT EMISSION CONTROL

Alongside the previously mentioned alternatives, there are after-treatment emission control systems such as Integrating SOx and NOx Abatement, Selective Catalytic Reduction or scrubbers which, despite their investment, have come to be seen as viable options for shipping companies in which open (sea water) or closed (fresh water) systems function as filters to reduce PM by 80% and SOx by up to 98%.

Exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) https://www.dnvgl.com/expert-story/maritime-impact/Scrubbers-at-a-glance.html

The availability of so many alternatives does not mean that following the IMO rules will be easy. Many of the proposed solutions require a lot of investment, result in large operating costs, require major changes in systems and equipment or massive supply capacities for fleets. Each shipping company will have to adapt according to their routes, facilities and structures, and choose a system that complies with emissions regulations.

All of this is accompanied by other alternative technologies that, while not necessarily reduce emissions, help in the performance of the ship and therewith improve its overall environmental footprint. The improvements could be new aerodynamics, low resistance paints, trim optimization, optimization of aerodynamics of propellers and rudders, optimized pumping in cooling systems, and even the use of big data to improve the sensors in equipment and prevent excessive consumption by optimizing the maintenance or the use of data to predict optimal routes according to environmental conditions.

There is no doubt that the Blue Economy will be affected by the 2020 regulations. The world’s waking up to the threats and dangers posed by climate change, and all of the world’s industries are adapting. The maritime world will perhaps be the one most affected by the new rules as, being responsible for 80% of all trade in an increasingly globalised society, it is one of the more significant polluters. As in any case though, challenges bring new and innovative solutions, and we are very excited to see what the industry will bring in the coming years to continue to innovate and protect our Blue Economy.

Written by:

  • Vanessa Bexiga – Operations Manager (Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport)

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