Final Zoom of the Training for Trainers Course

YEP MED brings its future trainers closer to its digital port community using the Port Virtual Lab as its platform

32 lecturers, 19 men and 13 women, from TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) centres from 7 countries in the Mediterranean tested the new training platform developed by the YEP MED project

The Escola Europea Intermodal Transport, lead partner of the EU-Funded YEP MED (Youth Employment in the Ports of the MEDiterranean) project, organised the first training of trainers’ course in the framework of the project between the 19th and 27th of April 2021. The course was carried out online, which has allowed for the active participation of teachers from TVET training centres from all of the partner countries involved in the project – a feat that would have been difficult to achieve if presential attendance was required. As part of the training, the participants were divided into 8 teams of 4.  Each team represented one of the logistics-port communities participating in the YEP MED project, so that import and export operations between all the northern and southern countries were simulated. A representative from Morocco also participated as an observer.

The training of trainers’ course has served as a pilot course based on the virtually simulated enterprises of the project. Simulated practice enterprises are 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). As part of the YEP MED project, an effort was made to create an ideal replica of a port community in which the “players” could take control and manage companies and/or administrations, and thus gain valuable experience and practice in their training.

“Covid-19 has some advantages that shed light on innovation , and opportunities.the Escola Europea through the YEP MED programme made us travel all along Mediteranean coast without moving from our place and costing us nothing. The programme will prepare the students to dive in port community industry mastering both technical aspects as far as freight forwarding is concerned and digitalisation  that eases and secures interactions between all stakeholders . The YEP MED programme will prevent students from getting left behind. Thanks Escola for existing!”
Kaoutar Guessous
AFFM Vice president/ Casablanca Morocco

The future lecturers of YEP MED’s VT2 (Vocational Training 2) and VT3 (Vocational Training 3) courses tested the capabilities of the simulated Freight Forwarding enterprise (www.playforwarding.com) created in the Port Virtual Lab, a digital twin of a Port-Logistics Community. They also received lectures and workshops on how to use the simulation platform and were taught the key elements of the Freight Forwarding business.

In the Port Virtual Lab created by the Escola Europea, students will be able to interact with different companies that are involved in the process of an import / export operation: shippers of several industries as customers (Play Fine Fruits, Play Fine Clothing, Play Fine Cars, Play Fine Pharma, Play Machine Tools, and Play Chemicals), transport operators such as a shipping line, a rail operator or a haulier company (SDG Lines, Port Railway, Play Haulier), custom related entities such as custom brokers and customs administrations (Play Customs Agent and Play Smart Customs) and a Port Community System (MedTrade). All of these companies are currently under digital development and will be used as real-life substitutes during the second and third part of the YEP MED courses for both the vocational students and young professionals. You can find out more about these theoretical companies by going to the Port Virtual Lab site.

The Training for Trainers finished with a great success – with the teachers impressed by the virtual reality created by Click & Cargo, and by the accuracy of the operations simulated by the system.

“The ToT course has been an amazing opportunity to put into practice all the skills and the professional experiences of professors, managers and professionals of more than 6 countries, working mixed together in international  and multicultural teams, having to replicate into an e-learning ERP platform the real-life experience of a freight forwarder preparing a commercial offer and managing the subsequent shipment at the very last detail, from the ITU booking to the Master and House B/L paperwork, for two separate operations, an export and an import shipment across the Mediterranean Sea,” said Marco Grifone, one of the course participants, from ITS MOST (Italy). “Having each team representing one agent in a partner country, it was possible to feel the difficulties that are experienced in real life by freight forwarders trading across the Mediterranean, and that is also a clear picture of why it is essential to promote projects like YEP MED, in order to improve and make easier the import/export processes for countries that are getting more and more connected every day, in a perspective of peaceful cooperation and trade development which can provide wealth and well-being to the whole Mediterranean community.”

Once the trainers have been trained, courses for the students will start taking place in the late spring and summer of 2021, with first round of the VT2 and VT3 courses expected to take place in the final weeks of May and the first weeks of June of 2021in the participating communities.

For more information about the YEP MED project you can contact Concha Palacios from the project office at concha.palacios@portdebarcelona.cat or head to the website.

Members of the Steering Committee of the Escola Europea

The Escola Europea-Intermodal Transport goes digital to enrich its training model

The Steering Committee of the training center, which met on Wednesday April 21st in Barcelona, has assessed the actions carried out last year and has defined the new strategy for 2021.

The Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport has set itself a clear goal for this year: to intensify digitalisation in order to enrich its training model with the advantages provided by new technologies. This priority objective was approved by the Steering Committee of the Escola in a meeting held this week in in Barcelona.

During 2020, to adapt to the new scenario created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Escola has adapted its structure to the new realities mandated by the health authorities and prepared a different approach for its activities. This path will continue in 2021, with the goal to enrich the courses and to take advantage of the flexibility provided by the new digitised training models.

During the meeting the President of the Escola Europea Mercè Conesa highlighted the enormous difficulties posed by the pandemic, the actions taken to adapt to the new situation and the uncertainties that still remain. Face-to-face training activities suffered a strong setback in 2020, forcing a reevaluation of all training actions.

Among the activities carried out by the Escola Europea during 2020 the start of the European project YEP MED doubtlessly stands out, in which the Port of Barcelona and the Port Authority of Civitavecchia also participate as partners, and which the Escola heads as Lead Partner. Also noteworthy was the inauguration of the Italian headquarters of the Escola Europea and the subsequent start of a new vocational training course in Civitavecchia – with the title of Integrated Logistics Technician – promoted by the Caboto Foundation, the Port Authority of Civitavecchia and the Escola itself, with a programme of 2,050 hours of training carried out over two academic years.

Looking at the Escola’s other activities, it was stressed that the Forma’t al Port courses in Barcelona, and their Italian counterpart the Formati al Porto courses in Civitavecchia, were carried out in a hybrid format, with the collaboration of schools and with very positive results.

Finally, it was pointed out that in 2020 a new project was approved which comprised the development of the PortVirtualLab.com platform, which will support training and simulation activities in logistics-port communities.

The Steering Committee was chaired by Mercè Conesa, President of the Port of Barcelona. Participating in the meeting were Pino Mussolino, new chairman of the Port System Authority of the Central Northern Tyrrhenian Sea; Emilio Signorini, president of the Port Authority of the Western Ligurian Sea; Matteo Catani, CEO of Grandi Navi Velocci, and Eduard Rodés, director of the Escola Europea. The meeting was also attended by the members of the Executive Committee: Catalina Grimalt, from the Port of Barcelona; Luca Lupi, from the Port of Civitavecchia; Silvio Ferrando, from the Port of Genoa; Antonio Pedevila and Andrea Balabani, of GNV, and Mario Massarotti, of the Grimaldi Group.

European Rail Traffic Management System

The European Rail Traffic Management System – ERTMS

This month, in preparation for our upcoming SURCO – Rail Operations course which will take place in the fall of 2021, we have decided to focus on the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS)- an intiative that will be instrumental in the creation of a Single European Railway Area.

Creating a Single European Railway Area

Written by: Lidia Slawinska, Consultant

Rail transport forms an integral part of the intermodal supply chain. European ports have spent the last decades investing in port-rail connections that make it easy to transfer freight from the ship onto a train and vice versa. Countries have been focusing on standardising or facilitating transfers between different gauge dimensions in European countries. France has even gone so far as to start banning flights (passenger and cargo) between destinations that can be reached by train within a radius of 2 hours from the points of origin.

There is no doubt that in the sustainability focused post-Covid world rail is taking centre stage. This is why, in this month’s issue of #DidYouKnow, we decided to focus on the European Rail Traffic Management System.

On the opening day of the European Year of Rail 2021, the EU transport commissioner Adina Valean has emphasized the need to incorporate a digital layer to the physical rail infrastructures to improve network use, increase capacity and enhance safety. This means deploying the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and automating where necessary. “Only when we have a single system in Europe will we stop interchanging locomotives at borders,” Valean said. Instead of focusing on investing in new railway lines, operators and public authorities need to work on increasing capacity on existing lines, whilst working on the new digital infrastructure which will complement the physical infrastructures helping to make it more economical and accessible. So what exactly is this system?

What is the ERTMS?

Essentially, the European Rail Traffic Management System was created with the goal of replacing the various different national train control and command systems prevalent across the European Union – and therewith creating a seamless European railway system, and increasing the region’s global competitiveness. It can be looked at having two basic components:

  • The European Train Control System (ETCS) – an automatic train protection system (ATP) that will work towards replacing existing national train protection systems;
  • The GSM-R, a radio system that will provide voice and data communication between the tracks and the trains. It does so by using GSM frequencies specifically reserved for rail application.

 What are the benefits?

ERTMS is working towards being the train control system that brings significant advantages in terms of maintenance costs savings, safety, reliability, punctuality and traffic capacity. These can be classed as following:

  • Interoperability – no longer would international train management systems clash
  • Increased Safety – The speed of the trains travelling across the system would continuously be monitored, therewith providing greater international train protection;
  • Increased Capacity – Tracking all trains across one network will allow for a reduction in the minimum distance between the trains, therewith increasing overall capacity;
  • Higher performance – Punctuality is increase because of the higher level of monitoring and evaluation prevalent across the ERTMS. This also lowers the potential for failures, further increasing the standards of the network;
  • Greater competitiveness – the seamless market for rail transport on the European continent will make rail more competitive in relation to road transport. Cross-border rail services will also be facilitated, further improving rail’s outlook;
  • Lower maintenance costs – The costs would be reduced from a lower number of trackside components. Being separated into various levels of development, this reduction would increase with the increase in higher levels;
  • Staff – Though not replacing any jobs, the ERMTS would digitalise certain sections of the rail management system, therewith solving an issue related to ageing staff – currently troubling the rail industry;
  • Digitalisation – ERTMS, and its upcoming new radio transmission subsystem Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) is an enabler of digitalisation in the railway system;
  • Sustainability – By making the rail sector more competitive, ERTMS helps to level the playing field with road transport and ultimately provides significant environmental gains.

Already operational in Europe, the system is also slowly becoming the train control system of choice in other countries such as China, India, Taiwan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

What are the drawbacks?

As with any system, there are potential problems that can arise through the use of the ERMTS.

  • Complexity – the ERTMS sub-system comprises complex interfaces, which need to be developed to function seamlessly across the entire network.
  • Cost – the ERTMS comes with high costs both in terms of trackside deployment and retrofitting.
  • Time – With regard to ERTMS trackside deployment, demanding requirements in many public procurements resulted in lengthy tenders and delays in project delivery. Timing was also detected in errors found in the final testing stages – which should have been detected during the verification and validation processes.
  • Interoperability – Different parts of the network may have different technical specificities, and they might also have different operational requirements. The European Railway Agency is working with individual states to eliminate National Technical Requirements (NTRs) in each country to improve the ERTMS’ interoperability
  • Funding – The funding provided by each state alone is not sufficient. A significant portion is needed to come from the EU – and the EU has expressed its commitment to support the ERTMS.

The future of ERTMS

Currently the European Rail Transport Management System is already in use in commercial projects across the 9 core network corridors. Though still in its early stages, the system is being trialed to make sure that it can be fully deployed in the European area in the near future. Rail transport is integral to sustainable and clean transport, and therewith ensuring a seamless and innovative door-to-door supply chain that incorporates various modes of transport. Currently the European Union has selected Matthias Ruete as the European coordinator for the ERTMS. Ruete will be working with the rail sector to further deploy ERTMS along the EU’s rail network, giving the necessary political impetus for the project and the realisation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2016 between the European Commission, the European Union Agency for Railways and the European rail sector associations (CER, EIM, EPTTOLA, ERFA, the ERTMS Users Group, GSM-R Industry Group, UIC,UNIFE and UNISIG). Altogether, all of this work will prove invaluable towards the creation of a single European Railway Area – furthering the vision of efficient, sustainable and innovative European transport.

 

Sources: