Group Photo - Participants of the September MOST course

Autumn courses bring a hint of normalcy back to the Escola’s MOST courses

It has been a difficult 2020-2021 for most of us – with many having to completely reshape and rethink their operations in a newly virtual environment. The Escola has spent a big part of last year and the first half of 2021 offering our signature courses through the Google Classroom lens – hoping to try to bring the Escola’s signature experiential approach to the net. The longing for the traditional approach has not disappeared, however, and both the Escola and the centres have waited for the health crisis to diminish and for on-board courses to be deemed safe again. This moment has arrived in the second semester of 2021.

Having completed one on-board MOST course in the summer, the Escola started the autumn courses with a hybrid MOST courses for students of the Master in Supply Chain Management from the EAE Business School which took place between the 10th and the 16th of September. The course offered online lectures in intermodal logistics and transport operations, as well as had in-person visits to terminals around the Port of Barcelona and a stationed Ro-Pax vessel to visualise the operations first-hand. In total, 13 students could attend the training both online and in person.

“Very well organised and dynamic course. It was very interesting to be able to focus on new proposals for the future and new trends. – Juliene Maksene de EMSUR – EAE course”

This course was then followed by an on-board traditional MOST course that took place between the 18th and the 21st of September. 29 students from the Polytechnic University of Catalunya and Nautical Faculty of Barcelona took part in the training that took place on board of a Ro-Pax shipping vessel between the ports of Barcelona (Spain) and Civitavecchia (Italy). Following the Escola’s signature approach, the students got the opportunity to witness an intermodal transport journey first hand, whilst also learning about the concepts of intermodal transport, transport costs, sustainability, and new technologies. The teachers of the Escola Europea on this occasion were Marta Miquel, the Chief Operating Officer, Antonio Vargas, representing Grimaldi Lines and Eduard Rodés, as course director.

The next month will see the Escola, together with the council of the Prat de Llobregat and Barcelona Activa, organise 3 courses in intermodal transport and port administrations. These courses, which will be carried out online – with an inclusion of some in-person visits to the local port terminals – will provide an all-encompassing overview of the port logistics community and the administrative processes that surround transport operations within a port environment – and will be offered for free for young people and women wishing to find employment in the local port sector. They form part of the training offered under the YEP MED project, which is co-funded by the ENI CBC Med instrument of the European Union.

Port Logistics Community Training

October and November will see the return of the Escola’s YEP MED courses

With the colder months of autumn on their way, the Escola has opened up registrations for the new series of occupational training courses – as part of the European YEP MED project – in port logistics and administrative processes.

The Escola Europea Intermodal Transport, lead partner of the EU-Funded YEP MED (Youth Employment in the Ports of the MEDiterranean) project, jointly with the Council of the Prat de Llobregat (Ajuntament del Prat del Llobregat) and Barcelona Activa, has opened up the registrations for the second semester of courses in the Barcelona region.

The courses, which will be carried out online – with an inclusion of some in-person visits to the local port terminals – will provide an all-encompassing overview of the port logistics community and the administrative processes that surround transport operations within a port environment. Thanks to the funding from the European Union – these courses will be free for the students.

The first course – Introduction to International Trade Operations – will take place online between the 6th and the 15th of October 2021. During the training, the students will receive a general introduction to the administrative processes related to international trade operations in Barcelona, as well as become familiarised with the key aspects related to import and export operations. Registrations are now open for young students and women who have an administration background and are currently looking for employment opportunities. For more information, you can consult the event on our website.

The second course – Port Logistics Community Training – will take place both in Barcelona and online between the 18th and the 22nd of October 2021. This course will give the participants a more in depth view of the Port of Barcelona, its infrastructures, logistics equipment and operations, and it will give the local companies offering the workshops the opportunity to showcase their operations and present the professional profiles that they are currently searching for. Like before, this course will be open to young students and women who have an administration background. The completion of the previous course will be a pre-requirement before enrolling in this edition. For more information, you can consult the event on our website.

The final course of this series – Administrative Processes in International Trade- will take place at the end of October over a period of 10 half-days. This course will be taught online and it will incorporate the new innovative approach developed for the YEP MED project which involves the Simulated Practice Enterprises Methodology. The students will have the opportunity to practice all that they have learned in a digital twin of a port community – the Port Virtual Lab – that imitates all transport operations that take place in the real world. This course will ensure that the students finish the 3 course training programme with a complete knowledge and practical experience that will prepare them for the work force. For more information, you can consult the event on our website.

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.

Hydrogen

A Spotlight on Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Written by Lidia Slawinska

Written by: Lidia Slawinska, Digital Communications

Over the past decade hydrogen has really taken centre stage in the search for an alternative fuel for maritime transport. Different applications of the gas have been researched and trialled in various maritime scenarios. The most recent and most successful case in recent years, without a doubt, has been the development and implementation of hydrogen fuel cells. In this #DidYouKnow article we take a look at this technology and consider its impact on the maritime industry.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Fuel cell technology has been around since the early 1800s. A fuel cell is an “electrochemical energy conversion device that was invented in 1839 by William Grove to produce electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen into water” (GenCell Energy). Like regular batteries, fuel cell batteries can convert potential energy into electricity, and result in heat as a by-product. In the 1950s, in the heart of the Cold War arms and space races that took place between the USA and USSR, liquid hydrogen was explored as a powerful fuel and finally used to send rockets into space – taking it one step closer towards the hydrogen fuel cell.

In recent years this technology has been considered for freight transport journeys. As more and more research is being done on different sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels, fuel cell technology took centre stage. Using the example of green hydrogen to power ships, researches have adapted Grove’s traditional concept to be able to use hydrogen’s energy and convert it to electricity and heat, and therewith power the vessels’ propulsion mechanisms. In other words, hydrogen fuel cells combine hydrogen with oxygen, and therewith produce electricity. The hydrogen is sourced from a tank that is built into the cell, where it then reacts with oxygen that is “sourced” from air. The resulting chemical reaction produces electricity, water and heat. The water and heat are released as water vapours, and thus are considered zero-emission by-products.

The electricity provides continuous energy to the ships as long as the cell is fed with the “fuel” – in this case hydrogen gas. This proves to be an advantage over conventional electric batteries that have a fixed shelf-life or need recharging . Fuel cells generate very little noise pollution, can easily be modified for different-sized vessels, and have no distinct moving parts. There is a general consensus that the vast majority of vessels could easily be retro-fitted with this technology – therewith lowering the carbon footprint of the shipping industry.

Hydrogen Sourcing

 It is not difficult to understand why scientists are excited about such capabilities of hydrogen – as it is the most abundant element on our planet. However, it is rare to find it in its isolated form. It can found in water and other hydrocarbon chemical elements such as methane. In order for it to be used in hydrogen fuel cells, the element needs to first be isolated through chemical, biological or solar-driven processes. (An interesting side-note is that nearly 85% of hydrogen is already being produced daily in fossil fuel refineries during the processes of removing sulphur from gasoline).

There are sustainable sourcing solutions utilised by some companies in the world. Hydrogen can be produced using biogas, or through electrolysis that uses electricity generated by solar or wind power. Relying on such sourcing alternatives will help keep CO2 emissions low from the entire hydrogen fuel operation in the transport sector.

Sustainable Shipping

One kilogram of hydrogen has the same energy density as a gallon of diesel.

At the end of the noughts, the European Commission began to direct its policies more actively towards sustainable transport amid growing concerns related to climate change. In the 2008 European Strategic Energy Technology Plan, hydrogen and fuel cells were singled out as the new technologies that would help the transport sector achieve a 60-80% reduction in GHG by the middle of the century.

Because hydrogen fuel cells already exist, and don’t require a huge investment of shipowners to install them in vessels, they are being considered as a fore-runner in the field. William Alan Reinsch, Scholl Chair in International Business estimates that “hydrogen fuel could replace 43 percent of voyages between the United States and China without any changes, and 99 percent of voyages with minor changes to fuel capacity or operations.”

Currently there is already one hydrogen powered ship – the Energy Observer – carrying out a six-year trip around the world. In its virgin voyage, the ship uses solar panels, wind and wave turbines to power the process. Its success coud determine whether the method could prove efficient and effective for various ocean voyages.

Challenges to Hydrogen

It wouldn’t be prudent to assume that hydrogen was the faultless solution that would eliminate all GHG within the shipping industry – as it has some challenges and complications. Hydrogen gas is extremely flammable, and its chemical properties mean that it can burn at both low and high concentrations when combined with oxygen in an uncontrolled reaction. Shipowners need to make sure that important safety measures are in place to lower the risk of such explosions during their transport and storage.

An added complication that would need to be addressed is that the element (even in its liquid form) is very energy dense. This means that the fuel cells themselves take up more volume on larger vessels – potentially lowering the profitability of the voyages themselves for ship owners (with diminished cargo spaces on the vessels themselves).

Finally, the cost of the type of hydrogen sources is also important to take into account. Hydrogen Fuel Cells use so-called “Green Hydrogen” (there are three types – Gray, Blue and Green, with Green being touted as the most ecologically sourced) – which currently is the most expensive hydrogen available on the market. For the shipping industry to be truly sustainable, this is the hydrogen type that would need to be used, and therefore its costs would need to be adjusted to make it appealing to the private sector.

A Greener Future

There is no doubt that the path ahead for the shipping industry is difficult and full of unknowns. There is no one-answer-fits-all solution to try to eliminate GHG emission from the oceanic trades. Different solutions are currently being tested and are being developed at astonishing rates. More than one would need to exist for the goals set by the IMO for 2050 to be reached.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells are proving to be very effective and, if embraced by the shipping industry, could prove integral towards the goal of zero emissions maritime transport. Even though no giant vessels have embraced the technology, smaller ferries and ships have begun operating in the USA, France, Norway and Belgium. Moreover, “oil major Royal Dutch Shell has invested in several hydrogen production projects in Europe and China, arguing that hydrogen is “advantaged over other potential zero-emissions fuels for shipping,” as attested by William Alan Reinsch – a huge sign that even the traditional fuel sourcing companies are coming on board.

There is still a long road ahead, but with the continuous innovations from scientists and financial contributions from big players in the industry, the goal of achieving global net zero emissions by 2050 could, perhaps, be attainable. Hydrogen fuel cells could be responsible for a significant step in that direction.

Sources

Container terminal at the Port of Long Beach

Zero Emissions future – the case of the Port of Long Beach

Written by Lidia Slawinska

Written by: Lidia Slawinska, Digital Communications

A net-zero operating terminal is a milestone that most ports around the globe are working towards – as it would mark a significant step towards sustainability. This summer, one port has achieved this remarkable step and begun operating a container terminal that is equipped with nearly all electric and zero-emissions equipment. Already news sources are reporting it as one of the most technologically advanced cargo terminals globally. We are, of course, talking about the Port of Long Beach – and the Long Beach Container Terminal at Middle Harbor (in California, USA) – and we wanted to take a look at it in this #DidYouKnow article.

A decade in the making

The port begun work on the project in May 2011, with an initial estimated cost of $1.5bln. The project was divided in three distinct phases. The first phase was completed in 2016, after which 151 acres opened for business. The next year the terminal was expanded to reach 191 acres, and the final phase of the project ended in July 2021. The Container Terminal now boasts with 300 acres in size, has a completed container yard, a modern administration buiding and an on-dock rail yard to allow for intermodal traffic. The concrete wharf can also receive and process three massive ships at once, with fourteen gantry cranes able to service the shoreline.

The terminal is expected to expand through the North Gate Expansion by 2025, adding an additional 3 acres to the already impressive surface area of the facility.

Net zero emissions

It is doubtlessly difficult for ports to make sure that their operations are carbon neutral – and in line with the global environmental agencies recommendations for the protection of our climate. How did the Port of Long Beach achieve its net zero emissions?

First of all – it ensured sufficient on-shore power supply stations on the berths. All of the vessels are now able to shut down the diesel engines while stationed in port and can connect to the local electrical grid.

Secondly, during the construction it was ensured that all of the major structures were built with features that allow them to save both electricity and water, meeting the American Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

In-terminal operations are carried out by automated guided vehicles that rely on transponders in the asphalt to manoeuvre around the containers. These vehicles are battery-operated and are also capable of recharging themselves.

The final aspect of the Californian terminal is the emphasis that has been placed on faster truck turnaround times, which further reduced the port’s emissions.

Intermodality at the forefront

There is no doubt that one of the aspects that port terminals can focus on is to increase their intermodal capacities – as bringing trucks off the roads would significantly lower the GHG emissions produced by their diesel engines. The Port of Long Beach was not an exception, and in its construction has included a intermodal rail yard that includes 70,000ft of tracks. “There are 12 tracks, and each is almost a mile long,” says Thomas Baldwin, director of project management at the port. “There are four storage tracks, and eight working tracks. Five dual cantilevered gantry cranes with room for a sixth. It’s one of most modern railyards ever built, with 1.1 million-TEU capacity ” (August 20th, 2021: ENR). In the near future, the port is also planning to expand its on-dock rail capacity to 35%, acknowledging that one fully stacked train can replace up to seventy-five trucks on the road – further alleviating the pressure on our environment.

Innovating into a clean energy future

Becoming a green port is no small feat. There are many innovative ports in the world that have already incorporated significant changes to their operations to lower their emissions and thus conform with international standards. The Long Beach Container Terminal can certainly be used as an example for other ports to follow, as it shows the signs of being the world’s first “all-electric, zero-emission mega terminal” and “will [help the port] increase [its] throughput, improve air quality and maintain [its] status as a leading gateway for trans-Pacific trade” – as was highlighted by Maria Cordero, the executive director of the port (August 23rd, 2021: Splash 247).

Sources

The Ports of Rome and Lazio, the Italian “Community” boosting the training of logistics operators of the future

Guiliana Satta

Written by: Giuliana Satta, Port Authority of Civitavecchia

At a difficult and uncertain time such as the one linked to the pandemic crisis due to Covid-19, projects such as “Youth Employment in the Ports of the Mediterranean” are of fundamental importance, especially in view of the messages, at the European level, that are becoming the basis for the future and that are at the heart of the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Today, more than ever, it is necessary to reverse development models and in every sector. And this is what is being done through the YEP MED project, co-financed by the European Union’s ENI and led by the Escola Europea, and in which the Port System Authority of the Central-Northern Tyrrhenian Sea is the only Italian partner present. With the contribution of the entire local port logistics community, which was formed last March following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, the project aims to increase and improve employment opportunities through the creation of real dual learning programmes with job placements, therewith strengthening the role of Small and Medium Enterprises operating in port ecosystems for future jobs creation.

The port of Civitiavecchia

In today’s historical moment, the Italian Port Authority is focusing on specific training of human capital to increase the skills of each individual port operator. To ensure that this can happen, it is essential to strengthen cooperation between actors who, on a voluntary basis, as happened with the creation of the Port Logistics Community (‘Community’), a. re willing to build a common strategy to contribute to the competitiveness of the entire port system in Lazio through the development of professionalism. Together with the “Community”, the Ports of Rome and Lazio will be able to build a global strategy in relation to the development and training of human resources that will have to be in line with the new demands of the labour market. To achieve these objectives, they are working closely with specialised training institutions to develop appropriate training programmes and establishing national and transnational partnerships with members of other port communities to exchange knowledge and best and most suitable practices.

The “Community”, made up of operators, associations and institutions, will hold regular meetings which will be coordinated by the representatives of the Port Authority. This will be done on the basis of a programme that will incorporate an annual calendar and a list of training activities. The sectors in which the Port Authority will focus on will concern Ro/Ro cargo traffic and the reception of large container ships in particular, with the YEP MED project aiming to play a major role in this new phase of maritime transport and logistics.

Container traffic at the Port of Civitavecchia has been consistently growing

Another important element in this initiative of the Ports of Rome and Lazio is a view to create new and foster existing commercial links with the countries of North Africa, with the ultimate aim of better improving the cooperation between the ports of the North and South of the Mediterranean. The entire port community believes in this interesting project, which incorporates 11 partners representing 7 countries from around the Mediterranean – an area in which the port of Civitavecchia is aiming to foster growth in the coming years. Today, in order to assess the growth and strength of a port, human capital is a fundamental element: it is the actions, energy, skills, strength and enthusiasm of the people that make the difference in successful port operations. Hence the importance of the YEP MED project. Vocational and educational training are essential for the training of the workforce, particularly the technical and highly specialised workforce that should live and gravitate in and around ports. For this reason, it is necessary to develop increasingly articulated professionalism in relation to the transformations imposed on shipping and logistics by the computerisation and digitalisation of processes, which will bring about more radical changes in the next five years than those that have taken place in the last 50 years. Therefore, having a high level of professionalism today and training young people will allow us to have a growing human capital for the next 30/35 years, with prepared professionals who will be protagonists of the positive change.

Talent is our organisation’s main asset

The world of employment has always seemed daunting to young people. Having completed either higher education or specialised training programmes, young people frequently lacked the technical know-how that was expected of them from the get-go. Traditional educational models haven’t focused on practical experiences to prepare the youth for the challenges of the future. Nevertheless they have always represented talent – a sea full of potential for companies to seek new talent from. In recent years, and in particular following the technological advancements of the 21st century and the shifting employment environment after the Covid-19 pandemic hit, employers now began to focus on seeking true potential from new employees – and have begun to value life experiences and other soft skills over technical experiences that mattered so much more in the past – changing the aspects of their employability. As the Escola has been focusing on improving the employability of youth in recent years, in particular in light of the YEP MED project, we wanted to understand the approaches used by companies to source their talents.

In the following article, José del Moral from the Barcelona Talent Logistics company, talks about the evolving approaches of companies seeking new employees.

José del Moral

Written by José del Moral, CEO, Barcelona Talent Logistics

“Talent is our organisation’s main asset”. Apart from an absolute truth, this is one of the most recurring statements in the speeches of CEOs and business leaders when addressing employees in the frame of meetings and events’ celebrations.

However, how does the activity look like when it comes to Talent Acquisition and Management in the Logistics industry? Thorough studies on this subject, platforms like Glassdoor and several public/private institutions in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region seem to agree on certain trends and scenarios:

  • The average time from the moment a white collar vacancy opens up until new talent is in place is around 90 days.
  • Staff turnover in the first 3 months from start date is nearly 22%.
  • Regarding the level of satisfaction with their role, survey metrics show a range between 60-70% of detractors/neutrals out of all employees in the sample, 3 months after joining.

The above, along with massive other data and indicators, reflects an immense cost in terms of productivity, work environment, staff turnover/burnout and employee’s lack of trust, while the financial impact for the organisation is ultimately enormous.

“Talent is our organisation’s main asset” should not be just a declaration of will, but serve as the kick-off for a well-developed plan to acquire and nurture talent to the highest level according to the business needs. No excuses, no appeals. Logistics enterprises need to further develop their vision towards this subject and make a commitment to upgrade their levels of professionalism so as to improve competitiveness in the market.

Making logistics enterprises increases their competitiveness, by upgrading their acquisition and management of talent. This is the exact goal companies like Barcelona Talent Logistics focus on, while delivering excellence in 5 key stages along the way:

  1. Talent Needs Analysis: This is where one of the main problems usually lies. The lack of in-depth understanding regarding the exact need that the business requires makes the purpose of acquiring the right talent unfeasible. A clear insight into the role, its requirements, work environment, organisational culture, reporting lines, department’s structure or company’s concept must be the base line for each single process to acquire talent.
  2. Talent Mapping and Segmentation: This activity should always be conducted before the need to do so comes up. A proper identification of all potential candidates for a particular role is a work to be done upfront, not to delay the process for the acquisition of talent later on. A thorough knowledge of the logistics talent community and powerful software for talent segmentation and lead nurturing is crucial for the success of the strategy in Talent Acquisition.
  3. Candidate Assessment: Behavioural patterns are far better predictors of future performance than any other indicators in most of the roles in logistics. However, are we assessing behaviours properly, along with traits, qualities, hard skills, cognitive capabilities, expectations, motivations, financial needs,…? Once again, a great part of this activity must be performed before the need for new talent, to avoid losing efficiency afterwards throughout the process. Additionally, technology and artificial intelligence need to be applied within this stage, as we will need massive amounts of data to be exchanged with leads and candidates, all the while avoiding setting time-consuming tasks for them.
  4. Decision-Making Process: hiring managers and business leaders are the ones to decide what exact talent will be hired for a particular role. However, decisions made in this stage may lead to losses/profits in dozens of thousands of euros. Therefore, this is actually the stage where Talent Acquisition experts must provide valuable and structured information to the business more clearly, so as to maximize the chances of making the right choice.
  5. Appraisal and Performance Management: certainly, acquiring the right talent, at the right moment, in the right place is a great advantage to make the business succeed. However, employees life-cycle is influenced by a wide range of factors, which need to be assessed on a regular basis by experts in talent management. Thus, managers will have access to up-to-date data and thorough analyses concerning the talent under their scope, for them to lead their teams appropriately and create, consequently, a positive impact on the financial performance of the business.

 Logistics is one of the most added value activities across companies, thus it must be left to logistics experts. Talent, on the other hand, is the most valuable asset in any company, and thus its sourcing must be brought to talent acquisition experts.

José del Moral

Chief Executive Officer

Barcelona Talent Logistics

Clean fuels, electrification, water and hydrogen – How are ports handling energy transitions?

Written by Lidia Slawinska

Written by: Lidia Slawinska, Consultant

Over the past few months, a lot of our articles have focused on sustainable solutions in intermodal transport – whether they were connected to port operations, maritime transport or port-railway solutions. Focusing on alternative and clean energy solutions is vital, in particular in light of this summer’s heat waves, floods, and other weather phenomena which are gaining in strength every year. The European Union has recently renewed its dedication to the Green Deal, committing itself to substantially lowering the carbon emissions of the EU by an extremely ambitious 55% by 2030, and to eliminate net emissions by 2050. Taken together, all of this suggests that sustainability needs to take centre stage in all of our transport operations if we are to meet those goals and help protect our Blue planet.

The Escola is committed to promoting sustainable transport and incorporates its principles to all of its courses – and this is why this month we wanted to touch upon one of those. The upcoming course on Energy Transitions in Ports will take place in October of this year, and will aim to raise awareness and provide information to the management and technical staff of port authorities that are part of the MEDPorts Association on specific aspects related to energy transition in ports. However, when we talk about said “energy transition”, what do we mean?

The current climate

According to some scientific estimates (2019: The Atlantic), it is likely that sea levels will rise considerably by the end of this century, therewith putting 14% of the earth’s major ports susceptible to flooding and erosion. This is near-universally explained by the rising global temperatures, which contribute to a faster melting of the ice caps.

Maritime transport currently is responsible for about 80% of freight transported globally (by volume). As such, nearly 3% of CO2 emissions are sent into the atmosphere alone – a percentage that has increased by more than 30% in the last two decades. This characteristic of the current “golden age of oil” has had a detrimental effect on our climate already. Continuing on this same trajectory will increase this number to nearly 17% of all global emissions by the middle of our century – therewith further hastening the rise of the sea levels.

All of this suggest that leading ports need to take action now and adapt their infrastructures to offset any threats that may arise from the rising sea.

Clean fuels

When thinking about the prospect of energy transition in ports, the fuel used by the visiting vessels is central. Ships – whether they are cruises or container-carriers – need to stay in the ports they visit – to load and unload, and to re-supply. This requires the ships to stay powered whilst these operations are taking place, and ports have had to design alternative electrical systems of On-Shore Power Supplies (OPS) to lower their emissions in-port. Many ships have already started to run on new alternative fuels that have considerably smaller carbon footprints – including LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), hydrogen, ammonia and ethanol.

The vessels that operate within a port – the ones transporting the pilots or tugging the larger vessels entering the harbour – would also need to be modified. Some ports have already taken initiative such zero-emission crafts – one example being the Hydrotug boat under construction in the Port of Antwerp.

This transformation of the vessels, which also includes the capacity to be powered by the on-shore electrical or gas-powered systems, would need to be accelerated for the industry to become greener.

Electrification

As hinted in the previous section, electrification is a vital process in the energy transition of ports. Making sure that the modern ports have adequate electric facilities and technologies in place, be it through either OPS, electrified wharfs, or electric ferries or vessels that perform other port operations.

Energy production

Trying to make sure that the energy transition in ports is not a double-edged sword, which then puts increasing pressures on existing power infrastructures in their hinterlands (and therewith continue to leave a significant carbon footprint), ports also need to think about using their vicinities to generate their own power. Turning seawalls into energy producers, or having offshore wind turbines can significantly increase the Gigawatts that the ports will depend on – therewith limiting the strain on the traditional infrastructures. It is vital that ports transform their mindset and develop new technologies that can create electricity from solar power, marine power, or bioenergy. Ports will need to become electricity producers that depend on a multitude of sources to supply their operations, whilst making sure that they are doing so with limited or no emissions to comply with the emerging global regulations.

In fact, some estimates now say that by the middle of this century, industrial ports will have the capacities to generate ten times more than today. This data was presented in the DNV GL’s study on Ports: Green Gateways to Europe. The report also stated that the energy transition methods that many ports are either considering or already implementing could easily account for the increase in port activities – traffic has been consistently increasing as globalisation has driven the economies forward. In order for this to take place consistently, the report recommends 10 specific transitions that would need to take place:

  1. Electrification of port-related activities
  2. Fuel switch for maritime transport
  3. Electrification of industry
  4. Integration of offshore wind
  5. Energy system integration
  6. Hydrogen as a feedstock and energy vector
  7. Phase-out of fossil-fuelled power plants
  8. Carbon capture and storage
  9. New regulations
  10. A circular and bio-based economy

(Source: Offshore Energy)

Final thoughts

Transforming our current energy infrastructure has taken centre stage is both our political and social dimensions. The transport sector has also taken note, and many private and public entities have already taken (sometimes) drastic steps to try to lower the carbon footprint of transport. Ports, in particular, have taken note – knowing that they represent the connection between the sea and the land, and therefore need to lead in the sustainable revolution and guide both land, rail and sea transport operators on the path towards decarbonisation.

Automation and innovative technologies already exist that can help ports become energy-efficient. With new laws and guidelines already in place, including the Paris Climate Agreement, the European Green Deal, and the latest EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, the path ahead for ports is doubtlessly difficult and winding, but righteous. Smart Ports and Green Ports are now becoming synonymous with the Ports of Tomorrow. The journey forward is green, and to survive, ports need to make sure that they on it.

Sources:

Diploma ceremony held on the 3rd of July 2021

Escola’s restarts its MOST courses

Last Saturday, on the 3rd of July, the intermodal transport course “Motorways of the Sea training – MOST” started in Barcelona. In total, thirty five students from 11 different nationalities studying Master’s programmes in Logistics and International Trade, Internationalisation of SMEs and Customs Law and Management at the University of Barcelona participated in the 4-day long training.

The day began with a solemn ceremony to present diplomas to some 100 graduates which, exceptionally and due to health safety measures, was held outdoors in front of the Escola Europea’s headquarters, at Placeta de l’Areté, Terminal Drassanes on the Moll de Barcelona.  On behalf of the Port of Barcelona and the Escola, its director, Eduard Rodés, welcomed the participants.  On behalf of the University of Barcelona, Dr. Oscar Mascarilla, director of the Master’s programmes, spoke. The Honourable Ramon Tremosa, Minister of Business and Knowledge of the Generalitat de Catalunya until a few weeks ago, supported the event and addressed the students, encouraging them to put their knowledge at the service of the competitiveness of their respective countries. Afterwards, the participants and their accompanying family members made a maritime visit to the Port of Barcelona.

The MOST course started early in the afternoon on the same day, and the group departed for Civitavecchia – the port of Rome – on board of the Grimaldi RO-PAX vessel “Cruise Barcelona”. The teachers of the Escola Europea on this occasion were Marta Miquel, the Chief Operating Officer, Antonio Vargas, representing Grimaldi Lines and Eduard Rodés, as course director.

Simultaneously, the first two weeks of July saw the start of the Escola’s annual Summer School in Port Operations for Vessels and for Goods. The course is held in classroom in-person format with the participation of 16 students from Egypt, Yemen and Somalia.

The MOST course is the first on-board course that the Escola was able to hold since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. It is a promising sign showing the ability of the Escola to begin to bring its unique experiential courses back into play.