Formati al Porto online - ITS Logistica Integrata

Benvenuti alla Escola in Italia

Marco Muci

Co-written by: Marco Muci, Escola Europea Intermodal Transport

Martina Trincia

Co-written by: Martina Trincia, Operations Assistant – Escola Europea Italia

Against all odds, 2020 has turned out to be very successful for the Escola in the Italian environment. Having officially created a physical office in the country (in the spring – we have had a physical presence since 2019), with the incorporation of our Country Manager Marco Muci to the Civitavecchia office, the Escola vamped up its efforts to promote its training initiatives among the local institutions. In addition, a new member – Martina Trincia – has joined the Escola team to help with all activities in Italy.

Today, one of the main activities of the Escola Europea is taking care of the new ITS training course called “GLIPS” (Gestione della Logistica Integrata e dei Processi di Spedizione). This highly specialised course, with the collaboration of the Fondazione “G. Caboto” and the Port Authority of Centre-North Tyrrhenian Sea, is the first of its type in Civitavecchia. It is also the only one in the entire Lazio region to develop a management and logistics programme. The two year long path will allow successful students to obtain a certificate of an integrated logistics technician .

Since January 2021 the activities of our classes have become more connected to the economic realities in Italy. After the Christmas holidays, students resumed their activities remotely. The first part of the course included subjects in the fields of logistics and sustainable shipping, with a particular focus on the post-COVID-19 era, as well as fundamentals of logistics and freight transport and sector innovations.

Alongside the subjects described above, the students are doing an effort to actively practice English and IT – skills that will doubtlessly be fundamental for both their personal and professional development. These skills will also be compulsory for participants of the new European project YEP MED – led by Escola and of which the Port Authority of Centre-North Tyrrhenian Sea is a partner.

More than 15 professors, coming from both the academic and business worlds have joined the GLIPS course. Moreover, with the recent new addition of six students, the first group now totals 30 – a respectable number for such an important pilot course. At the time of writing (mid-March) we have completed about 200 hours of lessons since the beginning of the ITS.  We are truly grateful that so many young people believe in our way of teaching and trust us to prepare them for the future.

The Escola and the Fondazione “G. Caboto” are working hard despite the difficult economic and social climate to guarantee a high quality of training.

To further complement the training, the students took part in the “Formati al Porto” course last December. The course, which is regularly organised by Escola, allows students to get to know the main actors of the port logistics community. It took place in hybrid format due to the pandemic, and it is anticipated to be completed with visits to numerous terminals in the port of Civitavecchia as soon as the health conditions permit.

New website

In 2021 we have launched a new website for the Italian headquarters: https://italia.escolaeuropea.eu. The website contains all of the information of our projects, courses and events, as well as additional information about our Italian offices. Check it out!

New Offices

The renovations of a new classroom at the premises of the Port Authority were completed this month, and we hope that the students will soon be able to attend lessons in person. It will be an important step to come back to the classroom in April, as this will ensure that the lessons are more engaging, and some team-building activities can be incorporated into the lesson plans which had to be excluded in the virtual environment.

Partnerships

We have some good news about our Formati al Porto courses and new partnership agreements.

On the24-25 March a new online edition of our course with the “Università degli Studi della Tuscia” will take place. It is the second consecutive year that will welcome participants from the University, and an important milestone for the Escola signalling for the return to our regular operations.

Following the training course, the Escola Europea and the Port Authority of Centre-North Tyrrhenian Sea will sign a new agreement to continue and strengthen their collaboration in the Formati al Porto project in the coming years.

This week we also celebrate the addition of a new training centre to the project – namely the ITS Logistica Sostenibile from Piacenza and Bologna (Emilia-Romagna region). These two instutitutions will send groups to attend a week-long training course in Barcelona next year. This is a great achievement and recognition of the Escola’s passion and work in Italy.

Online Training Courses

Thanks to the new partnership, we are developing a new online training module (in English) where the students of two classes from ITS Sustainable Logistics (Piacenza and Bologna) will virtually visit the Port of Barcelona and attend specialised lessons on sustainability and digitalization together with industry experts.

Furthermore, together with the Port Authority we are developing the first VT1 YEP MED in April. Just like Formati al Porto, the YEP MED courses will be held online and will see the participation of centres and companies from the port logistic community of Civitavecchia. A new training centre from Ortona (Abruzzo region) will attend our first edition of this prestigious project. We hope that the ITS from Abruzzo will join our Formati al Porto soon, and get the chance to visit us in Civitavecchia.

More challenges and new projects are coming – stay tuned!

Firma - Acuerdo Barcelona

Port Communities: “If you want to walk far, walk together”

Written by: Marta Miquel, Chief Operational Officer – Escola Europea

In the development of port-logistic communities this is no exception.

Some port communities in the Mediterranean have considered that, in order to address their strategic objectives, they need a trained and talented community. To this end, it is necessary to coordinate forces to make the port an attractive place to work. The involvement of companies and administrations is needed to create quality employment.

The YEP MED project, funded by the ENI CBC Med programme from the European Union, provides the necessary framework for action to contribute to the development of the technical and professional resources of the port community and to adapt it to the needs of the sector, in order to strengthen employment, especially among young people and women.

The alliance of key partners in each port community, such as public institutions, training centres and professional associations, will be a great milestone in the progress of creating a community endowed with talent and skills. In the case of Barcelona, this has been reflected in a Strategic Agreement for the Promotion of Vocational Training within the framework of the port, maritime, logistics, transport and international trade economy sector, which has brought together the main actors who will work on this initiative: associations of companies in the sector, public administrations involved, training centres and trade unions.

Agreements such as this one will be the seeds of new transnational agreements between actors of the different Mediterranean port communities at all levels, with the aim of strengthening the links between the academic worlds and initial vocational training and employment opportunities, through active participation in studies, programmes and analyses that will provide the necessary knowledge in areas that demand the most jobs.

It is important to guarantee the quality of all training actions, regardless of the modalities in which they are carried out, basing them on elements of innovation with tools that facilitate learning and bring it as close to reality as possible. New learning modalities linked to technological developments must be taken into account, through national and international best practices, whilst continually trying to develop the concept of digitalisation, environmental protection and sustainability.

The actions of the YEP MED project, accompanied by the signing of this strategic agreement, allign with various United Nations Sustainable Development Goals such as quality education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), sustainable communities (SDG 11), climate action (SDG 13) and partnerships for the goals (SDG 17).

Meeting the requirements of the labour market and the needs of companies by providing them with workers with appropriate skills, knowledge and practical experience will contribute to improving the productivity of the companies in the sector, of the community as a whole and of the region of which we are a part of.

We must walk together to be able to go not only far, but to do so as a community.

Simulated Resource Enterprises help bring reality to students' laptops

Digital Training in the 21st century

Practice makes perfect

Written by: Lidia Slawinska, Consultant

There is no doubt about it. Historically educational models that incorporated experiential and real-life experiences have proven to be more successful. Currently many professions already employ experiential training approaches – learning-on-the-job, internships, and fellowships are but some examples.

The Escola Europea Intermodal Transport has always believed in the experiential teaching model – explain the theory of the transport operations to the students whilst simultaneously taking them to the places where the operations themselves take place. This was made possible through the signature MOST and SURCO courses, which included on-board sections of the courses where students go to visit transport terminals and experience journeys in intermodal transport means (a Ro-Pax vessel or a train). 2020 has put a stop to this and forced us to think of new models that will help bring the operations closer to the students. Through the EU-financed project YEP MED (Youth Employment in the Ports of the MEDiterranean), which launched in September 2020, a new training methodology morphed into existence – one that incorporated cyberspace with our own reality: Simulated Practice Enterprises.

Simulated Practice Enterprises

Simulated Practice Enterprises are enterprises recreated in a digital environment that simulates real-time conditions to allow for nearly real-life situations without actually having to involve real companies (and therewith lowering the possibility of costly errors). Running simulations with such practice enterprises provides a unique interactive learning experience for participants – as it forces them to apply what they have learned in a robust and risk-free environment. The students can cement their conceptual knowledge, develop vital skills and try out a number of different business strategies and business management concepts to hone their skills – all through such experimentation.

Such synergy between the theory and practice leads to the “formation and development of entrepreneurial spirit and skills, making integration easier prerequisites of future graduates in the labour market.”

Teaching business operations in a classroom is challenging, as it is nearly impossible to teach it in a purely theoretical fashion. Unlike other subject matters (science, sports, etc. where in-class experimentation and training is possible), within the field of business and business management, experimentation is not a feasible option. Frequently theory is not enough to prepare the student for realistic scenarios. Since the early 2010s, many companies have already begun to integrate simulated scenarios to their learning methodologies to better prepare students for the employment world. For example, in the Western Michigan University, Dr. Bret Wagner has integrated a simulation system, called ScrimmageSIM, which “gives students real-world experience in a virtual business setting”. The programme itself is “an effective tool because it does not give students the impression that there is a “right answer” to a business problem, as textbooks do. Rather, the programme engages students in the simulated business problem and shows how business concepts and theory provide insight into these complex situations. It does so by different business scenarios tailored to the business concept being taught.”

It is with this thinking, that the concept for the simulated environment was born for the YEP MED project.

Learning by Doing

The next iteration of a training methodology is in the virtual sphere. The Simulated Practice Enterprise is a methodological didactic strategy of “Learning by Doing” – through a digital lens. With the ERP system provided by Click & Cargo, the Escola Europea and its partners have worked to develop a digital environment that will:

  • Promote simultaneous and integrated development of functional competencies of organisational management (social, human and business) based on a methodological-didactic simulation system that allows for contextualised and experiential knowledge.
  • Encourage the responsible and autonomous development of the student body from a problem solving and decision-making standpoint, when faced with unpredictable events, incidents and conflicts that can emerge from the dynamics of a company and its interactions with customers and suppliers.
  • Develop a permanent synergy of the contents from the continuous connections between teaching and learning activities within the local productive system.
  • Contribute to the vocational guidance of students and the employability of graduates through the creation of role-playing assessments and specific tasks representative of the world of work.

This innovative and new approach will allow for the Escola and its partners to maintain its experiential teaching method, whilst giving the students more opportunities to test out many of the business and supply chain management concepts. Keeping in line with the Escola’s ideological approach which is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the simulated environment will be open to 17 distinct groups – each corresponding to the thematic aspects of the SDGs themselves. The groups will be able to use the platform to prepare different commercial offers, learn about managing dangerous goods, discovering the machinations behind the cold chain, among other primary transport operations.

The Simulated Resource Enterprises will be put to test in the courses carried out under the YEP MED project – which themselves are divided into three parts. The ERPs will be used by students when they reach the 2nd and 3rd levels of the training. The simulated environment is designed to be as realistic as possible – and could replicate the conditions of a practical internship, giving the students the invaluable skills and experience before entering the workforce. Because the pandemic has made it difficult for companies to accept trainees to offer such opportunities, it is the goal of this part of the YEP MED project to have the simulated environment act as a near-identical virtual substitute. This way, before entering the workforce, the students will be able to learn by doing, and therewith enter the employment sphere fully prepared with virtual experience.

Digital practice will, in fact, make perfect.

Sources:

Firma - Acuerdo Barcelona

Public and private sectors commit to the YEP MED project – and work to bring more women to the port sector through dual training

This past Tuesday, representatives of the public and private sector of the Barcelona port community met in the headquarters of the Port of Barcelona – the World Trade Centre- to sign the Strategic Agreement for the promotion of training under the sector of the port economy, maritime, logistics, transport and international trade.

The event, presided by the Catalunya Minister of Employment Hon. Mr Chakir El Homrani Lesfar, brought together both public and private entities from the Barcelona port community to sign the agreement, and therewith allow for better collaboration and operations between the parties implicated in training and employment in the area, with a particular focus on new and innovative training approaches offered by the courses currently developed under the EU-funded YEP MED project.

The Minister for Employment for Catalunya Hon. Mr. Chakir El Homrani Safar stressed that at this time, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it is very important to generate optimism that will help us come out of the health crisis better than we came in.

“When we talk about better conditions in the world of work, it is essential to talk about vocational training and to build it together. We have been talking about all the agents, we cannot talk about good VET if we do not have all the actors and companies and the experiences of the sector aligned”, he stressed.

Modernised Dual Training opportunities

Training is an integral part of the productive process of companies and the professional development of people entering or working within the sector. Furthermore, the rise of technology has ushered in a new industrial revolution, in which the continuing demand for new knowledge means that many old paradigms about training and learning need to be broken, and new ones that fit the current climate developed. In an increasingly hyperconnected world, knowledge of digitised processes, digital twins, smart technologies and AI will be vital, and it is only through innovative and modern training methodologies that this can be achieved. YEP MED courses will offer just that, by not only bringing students closer to the operations and infrastructures within the port community, but by also recreating a digital copy of the said community through an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning).

El Homrani Safar argued that all of this is related to the desire to build a more modern vocational training system that is more closely linked to the specific needs of the sector. This line of work aims to ensure two things: to provide opportunities for active workers and people who want to join the labour market and need professional qualifications, and at the same time want to accompany the activity of the productive fabric.

“We have been working for two years but now, with a framework with all agents and administrations, it will allow us to ensure that all the programming we do from the consortium, the SOC and the Nautical Institute, that everything is aligned to the needs of the sector and the companies that are part of it,” he added, speaking about the local environment of Catalunya.

Industry consensus

Firma - Acuerdo Barcelona

The event on the second of March was well-represented by principal actors of the Catalonian public and private sectors. The agreement was signed by Mrs Mercà Conesa i Pagès from the Port Authority of Barcelona, Eduard Rodés i Gubern from the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, Mr. Jordi Trius from the Ship Agents Association of Barcelona (Associació Agents Consignataris de Barcelona), Mrs. Esther Villaseca on behalf of the Association of Stevedoring Companies in the Port of Barcelona, Mr Sr. Emilio Sanz from ATEIA – OLTRA –  Association of International Freight Forwarders of Barcelona, Mr. Agustí Martí from the Nautical Faculty of the Politechnic Uniersity of Catalunya, Mr. Epifanio Mejido from ATEC -the Association of Container Business Carriers, Mr. Lluis Mijoler from the City Council of the Prat de Llobregat, Mr. Antonio Llobet from the Barcelona Association of Customs Agents, Fabian Mohedano from the Public Agency for Vocational Training and Qualifications (Generalitat de Catalunya), Mrs. Núria Marín from the Barcelona Provincial Council, Mr.  Jaume Collboni from Barcelona Activa SAU SPM (Barcelona City Council),  Mrs Neus Pons from the BCN Vocational Training Foundation, Mr. David Saldoni de Tena from the Free Trade Zone Consortium General Directorate of Transport and Mobility, Mr. Andor Serra Merckens from the Barcelona Nautical Cluster Free Zone Consortium, Mr. Pere Navarro from the Free Trade Consortium, Hon Mr. Chakir El Homrani Lesfar from the Public Employment Office of Catalonia – Consortium for Continuing Education of Generalitat de Catalunya Catalonia – Generalitat de Catalunya, Mr.  Feliu López from the Nautical Institute of Barcelona, Mr. José García-Aubert from Marina Barcelona 92, Mr. Carlos Boy Rodriguez from the General Workers Union of Catalunya and Mr. José Pérez Domínguez from the Workers’ Commission of Catalunya (CCOO) – representatives from the majority unions of the sector – and Mr.  Josep Gonàlez-Cambray Education Consortium of Barcelona.

About YEP MED

The YEP MED project, led by the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, aims to develop port-logistics training and vocational (TVET) resources adapted to sector needs to strengthen youth employability; increase and upgrade local employment opportunities through the creation of real dual-learning programmes with job placements, strengthening the role of SME’s operating in the port ecosystems for future employment creation; and set up collaborative national and transnational partnerships between port-logistics associations, operators, SMEs, training centres and VET providers, whilst introducing a PPP co-management process.

The project counts on the participation of partners from Spain, Italy, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. Throughout 30 months, the partners and associates of the project will implement tools to achieve the main objectives of this initiatives, in the short, medium and long terms. For a full list of partners of the YEP MED project, you can go to the project’s website. As associated entities, MEDPorts association and Consell Valencià de la Joventut will also join the project. The project will receive 2.9 M€ (90% EU Contribution) in funding over its lifetime

For more information on the project you can contact Concha Palacios from the project office at concha.palacios@portdebarcelona.cat.

YEP MED VT01 - Maritime Visit

Barcelona: EU-funded YEP MED trains future professionals in the port management and logistics sector

The training, carried out by the Escola Europea saw the participation of more than 50 students from Institut les Salines in el Prat de Llobregat

This week the first course of the YEP MED project’s vocational training series, funded by the EU’s ENI CBC Med Programme, came to a close in Barcelona. The week-long course, initially scheduled to take place virtually, took a hybrid format when it became possible to host some lectures in the Escola’s classroom in person – the Aula dels Estels – and to physically visit the Port of Barcelona. The objective of the course was to provide first-year students of vocational training in International Trade and those studying Transport and Logistics at the Institut Les Salines in Barcelona with first-hand knowledge of the Port of Barcelona, its infrastructures, logistics equipment and operations, as well as its environmental management and its digital sphere. The course also gave the companies represented by the sector associations in the training the opportunity to showcase the characteristics of their activities and the professional profiles they need to develop appropriately, whilst at the same time encouraging an open dialogue between the centres and the companies and promoting the creation of dual-training opportunities.

The theoretical contents of the course focused on Port Management characteristics, introduced Port-Logistics Community Actors (Maritime Customs, Customs Brokers, Freight Forwarders, Ship Agents, Stevedores, Border Inspection Post) and touched on environmental policies and characteristics, as well as the emergence of Smart Ports. To complement the theoretical training, workshops were planned which included an in-person maritime visit to the Port of Barcelona, , a workshop on customs procedures, a workshop on freight forwarders operations, as well as a FunTraders session, an international trade simulation game. The training was completed with a Kahoot test designed to test the knowledge gained by the course participants during the week. The classes were given by professionals from the Port of Barcelona, the Maritime Customs Administration in the Port of Barcelona, the Association of Customs Agents in Barcelona, the Association of International Freight Forwarders, the Shipping Agens Association in Barcelona and the Escola Europea.

“After one exciting week, I feel very lucky that I took part in the YEP MED program in his first edition, held by the Escola Europea Intermodal Transport”, attested Aymen Kadri, a student from the Institut Les Salines, upon completing the training. “Despite the newness of this project, we as students were well-surprised by the high level of organisation and efficient coordination set by the Escola Europea team and the professionals of the logistics field in Barcelona. As for myself it was a real breakthrough in widening my knowledge.

From day one, it was noticeable how:

  • Enthusiastic these executives were about their domain
  • Passionate about transmitting the data to us without leaving any doubt or confusion
  • Impressive they were in combining theory with practice.

For the practical side, we had a great chance to find out the various operations from the departments of the Barcelona Port, and through Marta Miquel we received attentive guidance. Innovation signs were obvious, encouraging for new development perspectives.”

Foto Aula dels Estels - YEP MED course

The Vocational Training 1 course is the first part of a 3-training course methodology developed under the project, designed to prepare the students and young adults for transport and logistic professions in the Mediterranean region. As part of the later training, the participants will be able to simulate certain real-life operations in a digital twin of a port community created for the project. This kind of digital and practical experience will help prepare the students for any challenges that they may face in real working environments.

About YEP MED

The YEP MED project, led by the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, aims to develop port-logistics training and vocational (TVET) resources adapted to sector needs to strengthen youth employability; increase and upgrade local employment opportunities through the creation of real dual-learning programmes with job placements, strengthening the role of SME’s operating in the port ecosystems for future employment creation; and set up collaborative national and transnational partnerships between port-logistics associations, operators, SMEs, training centres and VET providers, whilst introducing a PPP co-management process.

The project counts on the participation of partners from Spain, Italy, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. Throughout 30 months, the partners and associates of the project will implement tools to achieve the main objectives of this initiatives, in the short, medium and long terms. For a full list of partners of the YEP MED project, you can go to the project’s website. As associated entities, MEDPorts association and Consell Valencià de la Joventut will also join the project. The project will receive 2.9 M€ (90% EU Contribution) in funding over its lifetime

For more information on the project you can contact Concha Palacios from the project office at concha.palacios@portdebarcelona.cat.

Transporting perishables across the equator

Lidia Slawinska

Written by Lidia Slawinska, Consultant

The end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century has brought tremendous progress to social, industrial and environmental aspects of society – all as part of the larger globalisation trend. In this issue of the #DidYouKnow series we look at how globalisation has affected the ability for us to receive perishable products from the other side of the globe and made it possible for us to diversity our diets with foods from other  climates.

We are talking about, of course, the cold chain. New technologies in reefer transport and logistics have made it possible for the market of cold chain products to expand. The reefer is essentially a homogeneous transport product, but it works with markets that have a very broad range of products, ranging from pharmaceuticals to perishable foods (and even fresh flowers). How is it that we are able to find fresh avocados from Peru in our local (European)_supermarkets? How are delicacies from the Southeast Asian countries reaching our homes? The areas which produce the most perishable products—the southern states of the USA (California, Florida, Texas, Arizona), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia—have in the past faced great marketing challenges due to their distance from the major markets of Eastern and Central United States, Canada, the Far East or Europe.  It is through the wonders of intermodality and temperature-controlled transport – a supply chain that ends at the door of the final consumer – that we can enjoy the tropical delicacies in the old continent.

What are the factors that need to be taken into account when transporting perishable?

Fresh products continue to metabolize and eat up their nutrients throughout their shelf life. This process begins with the harvest or slaughter, and continues through packing, distribution, marketing and the final sale. The decomposition processes are all dependent upon temperature – the higher the temperature, the faster the degradation.

“In fact, as a general rule, most of these degradation processes double their rate for each increase of 10°C [1]” – a vital statistic for shippers and transport operators who need to preserve the integrity of their cargo during long-distance journeys.

This so-called Q10 quotient means that maintaining an edible product’s temperature at 10C less than the temperature during which it is handled can almost double the product’s shelf life. Though this is not a universal rule that can be applied to all products (some sub-tropical fruit can suffer damages due to extremely low temperatures), it is significant enough for professionals to consider, and thus offset their their losses.

When tropical delicacies are transported to opposite corners of the world, uniform quality in both product appearance and taste are essential. This is why packaging, refrigerating, pre-cooling, and storing are vital – the inability to do  effectively will result in a waste of product, time and losses in profits.

Packaging

It is important to note, that alongside the refrigeration tactics used by transporters, packaging also takes centre stage – in particular in the cases of fruits and vegetables, plants, and cut flowers. Proper packaging ensures product protection during transport and facilitates transport. Improperly sized containers, for example, topped with rough handling by port infrastructures can lead to products damage. Overfilling can cause bruising and can also lead to decreased compression strength inside the container. Underfilling a container can also cause product damage by allowing for the product to move during uneasy transport conditions (rough seas, irregular road surfaces, etc).

Overall it is vital to ensure that the containers are properly packaged and prepared, with detailed considerations of the temperatures required for the preservation of the transported products. Knowing exactly what are the different stages and characteristics of this preparation will help you create a durable, efficient and sustainable cold chain.

Choosing the mode of transport

As previously hinted, the transport of temperature-sensitive goods is very particular, and therefore it is imperative to choose the correct mode of transport to ensure high quality services and product delivery. Intermodality plays a key role, as sometimes different modes would need to be used to maximise the efficiency of the cold chain. Once precooled, the items would need to be carefully loaded onto appropriate packaging and transported at stable temperatures. Therefore, the design and condition of the equipment used will need to be considered, alongside the mode of transport to be used (which depends on the distance to be crossed).

These decisions should be made in consideration with the following:

  • Destination – where is the product heading
  • Value of the product – are there certain losses that can be accepted by the client?
  • Degree of product perishability – how temperature sensitive are the products?
  • Amount of product to be transported
  • Recommended storage temperature and relative humidity – important to take into account in particular with precooling and storage steps
  • Outside temperature conditions at origin and destination points
  • Time in transit to reach destination by air, land, or ocean transport – Refrigerated trailers and van containers are generally preferred for most high volume transports during a week or more
  • Freight rates negotiated with the carriers – Services and schedules can change on a weekly basis. Are door-to-door services offered (generally the case with carriers who use containers and trailers, but air cargo has also been know to transport highly perishable goods). Air freight is considerably more costly and does not tend utilise refrigerated containers (although refrigerated air containers are used) – but the transit time is generally given in hours instead of days / weeks.
  • Quality of transportation service – which can usually be gauged through past customer reviews, local trade publications, port authorities, among others.

On top of using the correct mode of transport, customers should also familiarise themselves with the refrigeration systems used to understand what kind would best protect their product. Some companies may opt for mechanical systems (which use diesel generated electric power), cryogenic (which use liquid or gaseous nitrogen), dry ice (low-cost but highly effective method to keep temperatures down), wet ice (which tend to be used as supplements to other cooling mechanisms and get placed on top of the containers to avoid product contamination), gel refrigerants (frozen containers of chemical eutectic gel to help maintain lower temperature within larger containers), ventilation (preferred for live-cargo and high – emission products as it employs a method of using air ventilation to circulate the buildup of CO2 or ethylene, etc). Though not extensive, this list demonstrates the large array of possible options that operators in the cold chain use.

From the above it is evident that the cold chain requires a myriad of additional considerations on top of the usual decisions that need to be taken when planning an efficient and sustainable transport chain. Through technological advancements we can now transport fresh vegetables from Almeria to the United Kingdom, and help transport fruit, tomatoes and other vegetables from the Northern shores of Africa and the Eastern Mediterraenean to the countries of the E.U, alongside tropical vegetables form the far East and West. All without worrying about significant product deterioration or losses.

These, and other topics, are covered in the Escola’s Technical Course on Temperature Controlled Transport. For more information about the upcoming edition, you can head to the course page, or contact us as info@escolaeuropea.eu.

Want to know more? Check out these additional resources:

Forma't al Port Annual Report

Forma’t al Port closes 2020 with a positive outlook for 2021

2020 has been a tricky year for all sectors of society – something felt quite palpably by training centres. Many schools and universities have had to adapt their training methodologies to protect the student and teaching bodies from the deadly virus that has swept through our society. The Escola has adapted its programmes as well, introducing hybrid formats of some of the courses, including for its unique Forma’t al Port programme. Although the online part of the newly re-designed courses sacrificed a little of the Escola’s unique experiential teaching approach – which aims to bring the students closer to the places where the operations physically take place – the hybridisation of it (which entailed offering safely distanced in-person visits of the port facilities) ensured that the students could get a 360° view of port operations.

The Escola’s Forma’t Al Port programme, launched in 2016 – aims to give students of the final years of secondary education in the Catalan region of Spain first-hand knowledge of the Port of Barcelona, its infrastructures, logistical equipment and operations, and to showcase the means of transport they operate. Simultaneously it aims to give companies in the sector a space to introduce the characteristics of their activities and to introduce professional profiles they need in order to develop properly. By working with local companies and training institutions, it also works towards the creation of a framework for dialogue and idea exchanges between the two – therewith ensuring innovation and development in the sector, as well as the alignment between the training needs of companies and the curricula offered by the centres themselves. Finally, the Escola works with the partners of the project to try to encourage the companies to hire students in dual-training programmes, therewith letting them to put a foot through the door of the professional and industry world.

Last year, largely because of the pandemic that led to the postponement of the 2nd part of the Forma’t al Port training, the programme welcomed 454 students from 16 public and private training centres (institutes and universities) in Barcelona, including el Prat de Llobregat, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Mataró, Santa Perpètua de la Mogoda, Sant Adrià del Besòs and La Sènia. All of these students completed the Forma’t al Port – Introduction course, and will wait until the public health situation calms down before continuing on to complete the the Forma’t al Port – Management courses – which are predominanty presential and thus could not be carried out this past year. With a large number of centres determined to continue the collaboration with the Escola, 2021 looks brighter for the programme and will surely bring many more new minds to the logistics and port sector.

The official Annual Report of the project is now available online. You can download the document here or head to the Forma’t al Port website. For more information you can contact: formatalport@escolaeuropea.eu.

SURCO Operations I - course

The Escola Europea successfully completes its first digital edition of the SURCO course in rail-port operations

Following the successes of past editions of the SURCO series, the Escola has developed the SURCO Operations I course for Spanish professionals for the first time in digital format. The course offers introductory training in the field of rail-port and intermodal rail logistics.

The course took place from 1 to 4 February. Designed for professionals from freight transport companies, freight forwarders and import and export companies, as well as others interested in the use of rail transport, the course carries out an analysis of the different elements necessary to offer efficient intermodal transport solutions (rail and sea). On this occasion, companies such as GoTransport, Captrain, BEST HutchisonPorts, Puertos del Estado and the Port of Barcelona have participated.

During 4 days, the course participants had the opportunity to learn about the infrastructures and equipment used in rail-port connections and to have contact with operators who currently manage these types of operations. The lectures given covered maritime-rail transport and logistics, rail services necessary for the transport of goods, elements included in a rail invoice, as well as rail terminals in ports and their traffic management centres. All of the lectures were given with an operational approach and focused on the direct application of the knowledge acquired. The edition has also offered a detailed analysis of the current situation of Spanish ports in terms of infrastructures, characteristics of the railway network and service areas.

The course was carried out in collaboration with the Port of Barcelona, Puertos del Estado, Adif, Autoterminal, LogiRail, ICL, Hutchison BEST terminal, Transportes Portuarios, Portic, Go Transport and Transportes Tomàs.

SURCO Operations I is a precursor for the SURCO Operations II course – this year’s edition of which will take place in May 2021. For more information, you can check out the course page on the website or contact the Escola.

Escola Europea's Executive Committee meeting - January 2021

1000+ students pass through the Escola’s doors in 2020 despite the pandemic

Distance learning, digitalisation and online courses will mark the evolution of the Escola Europea in the near future, as was found during the bi-annual Executive Committee meeting on the 21st of January 2021.

The meeting brought together representatives of the 5 founding partners of the Escola – Catalina Grimalt from the Port Authority of Barcelona, Luca Lupi from the Port Authority of Civitavecchia, Silvio Ferrando from the Port Authority of Genoa, Mario Massarotti from Grimaldi Lines and Mr Antonio Pedevilla from GNV. Representing the Escola Europea, the director Eduard Rodés who also serves as the president of the Committee and the Escola’s Chief Financial Officer Concha Palacios – the Committee’s secretary – attended.

During the meeting various milestones of the Escola’s difficult 2020 were reviews. The Covid-19 pandemic had brought the activities of the Escola to nearly a standstill from March 2020 through the summer. A nearly existential shift took place to restructure the Escola’s iconic practical workshop courses to fit the new distance-learning and virtual environment. Nevertheless, there were some important achievements that took place despite the obstacles. More than 1000 students have managed to pass through the Escola’s doors through 19 courses and 12 Logistic Port Workshops. More than 20 scheduled practical courses had to be postponed to an unspecified date due to the global health crisis – a grim conclusion to an already grim 2020.

During the Committee meeting, a review took place of the projects that the Escola is currently involved in and has planned for 2021. A new training course for members of the MEDPorts Association focused on Energy Transition in Ports s is currently in the works, scheduled to take place either virtually or, if the situation permits, in person in May and June 2021. The Escola’s leadership participation in the YEP MED project, co-financed by the European Union, was also highlighted. A new project – called TechLog, was also summarised – this project is currently in the consideration stage of the ENI call for proposals. The Escola’s role in other projects, including RePort as well as the projects it is managing on behalf of the Port of Barcelona such as the CarEsmatic and Core LNGas hive projects, was also highlighted.

The future looked even brighter in the now newly digitised world of the Escola as the meeting came to a close. Eduard Rodés highlighted the upcoming new collaboration with the Occitan Region of the South of France in the new “Vivez l’intermodalité” project – an expansion of the Forma’t al Port in France. Moreover, the development of a new Virtual Lab, brought to life through the YEP MED project characteristics, is looking to bring new life to the TransLogMed project in 2021.

The Executive Committee meets twice a year to review the progress and achievements of the Escola Europea’s operations. Its next meeting will take place in November 2021.

Group of Forma't al Port students - January 2021

45 students experience the Port of Barcelona virtually through Forma’t al Port

With Covid-19 is showing no signs of slowing, the Escola Europea continues to hold classes for its students in the digital universe. Between the 20th and the 21st of January the first group of students experienced the infrastructures of the Port of Barcelona and learned about the transport operations that take place therein through the online edition of the Forma’t al Port – Introduction course.

The online format of the courses sacrifices a little of the Escola’s unique experiential teaching approach – which aims to bring the students closer to the places where the operations physically take place – but it nevertheless transmits the expertise of its teachers to the students, by offering a mixture of online tours and videos alongside and theoretical lectures.

The Escola’s first course of 2021 was attended by 45 students from the Jaume Mimó Institute in Catalunya. The students took part in the course as part of their International Trade and Logistics and Transport Vocational Training offered by the Institute. The theoretical classes focused on the operations carried out within the port environment, and introduced an amalgam of different actors active in the Catalan port through the presentations of the associations of the sector. The goal of the programme is to encourage dual-training opportunities and to bring the professional environment closer to young adults about to embark on their first employment experiences.

For more information you can visit the Forma’t al Port website or contact: formatalport@escolaeuropea.eu.