The Steering Committee demonstrates the solid advances of the YEP MED project

The YEP MED project is moving towards the expected results at a great pace: more than 25 training courses developed and more than 1300 participants

The YEP MED Project (Youth Employment in the Ports of the MEDiterranean) has brought together the members of the Steering Committee on 7th, 8th and 9th of June in a hybrid way, physically at the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, in Barcelona, and online.

Throughout the presentations of the different activities to be developed within the framework of the project, which aims to motivate employment in the logistics-port sector through specialised training focused on young people and women, they confirmed that the project is progressing in accordance with the objectives set and has become a key element of cooperation in the field of training and collaboration between logistics-port communities in the Mediterranean.

The Project officers, Dua’a Qurie and Alessandro Zedda, together with Vincent Ernoux, member of the ENI Branch office in Valencia, participated actively in the meetings on behalf of the ENI CBC MED programme, as well as the members of the different logistic-port communities and their institutions: Aqaba Development Corporation (Jordan), Autorità di Sistema Portuale del Mar Tirreno Centro-Settentrionale (Italy), Office de la Marine Marchande et des Ports and Institut Miéditerraneen de Formation Aux Métiers Maritimes (Tunis), Fundación ValenciaPort (Spain), Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport and Port de Barcelona (Spain), Chamber of Commerce of Beirut Mount-Lebanon (Lebanon), Damietta Port Authority and Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport (Egypt).

 

The steering commitee approved the extension of the project from 30 to 36 months, bringing the project to an end in September 2023. To date, it has been agreed that there will be two more meetings between the project partners: the next steering committee meeting to be held in Civitavecchia at the end of this year and the final project event to be held in Damietta in June 2023.

So far, the partners of the project have developed more than 25 training courses with the participation of more than 1300 participants in all the countries involved in the project. As a whole and analysing the results obtained at this stage of the project, YEP MED has proved to be of great added value for the different port communities, aligning the needs of the sector with training, providing an innovative methodology for training future workers and inviting cooperation between people, communities and countries in the Mediterranean.

The YEP MED project has a budget of €2.9m, with a 10% contribution from the European Union, and a duration of 30 months since it began in September 2020. For more information you can contact Concha Palacios from the project office at concha.palacios@portdebarcelona.cat or head to the website.

The Escola Europea is committed to sustainability and digitisation on its 15th anniversary

The Executive and Steering Committees of the Escola Europea met in Barcelona on 26th May for its annual meeting

On 26th May, the Executive and Steering Committees of the Escola Europea met in Barcelona under the presidency of Damià Calvet. After two years of online meetings, this year 2022 the meeting was held in hybrid format on the premises of the Port Authority of Barcelona.

The meeting was attended by Silvio Ferrando representing the ports of Genoa; Luca Lupi on behalf the ports of Rome; Mario Massarotti as a representative of Grimaldi Group; Matteo Catani and Antonio Pedevila in the name of GNV; Catalina Grimalt for the Port of Barcelona and Eduard Rodés and Concha Palacios for the Escola Europea.

In the balance of activities for the financial year 2021, the recovery of face-to-face activities and the favorable evolution of the year 2022 stood out, in which the number of students and courses has grown more than in 2019. The activities related to international projects have also grown and the presence of the Escola Europea in the Mediterranean countries has been consolidated.

 

It is worth highlighting the commitment to the portvirtuallab.com platform, which has meant a technological leap in the development of training models for the digital transition, based on virtual simulators. This places the Escola as a benchmark for innovation in the field of digitalisation in the logistics-port sector.

A second innovative element has been the creation of a sustainability office specialized in the port logistics sector.  Managed by specialists in sustainability management, its objective is to provide support to companies that need to draw up their sustainability reports.

Training, digitalisation and sustainability make up the basic axes of development of the Escola Europea, which this year reaches its 15th anniversary. With a huge activity in Spain and Italy the schools presence has increased in importance across the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.

 

The Port of Barcelona, the Escola Europea and CaixaBank Dualiza bring together companies and teachers to promote talent acquisition

#DidYouKnow – The increasing threat of cyber attacks on port

Living in an increasingly digitised world has decreased distances between countries. The world doesn’t seem to be vast anymore – countries in the northern hemisphere can get tropical fruits from the southern hemisphere (and vice versa) at a few days’ notice. Communication between different countries has become instantaneous. The increasing innovations have made our planet seem a lot smaller.

The port sector has also been riding this innovation wave. In the final years of the twentieth century, and in the first decades of the twenty first century, ports have been going through a digital transformation to keep up with any new challenges, optimising their operations and creating new strategies (including automation, RFID tagging, etc). All of this has been centred on the ability to interconnect information technologies and operation technologies, cloud computing, the internet of things, big data, among others.

All this modernisation has come at a price – and digital innovation has given rise to cyber threats and cyber-attacks. This has not left any industries unaffected. Ports, as vital infrastructure points to nation-states – have become frequent targets to both national, international and clandestine attacks. During their own digitalisation efforts, ports need to ensure that cybersecurity stays at the forefront, whilst being considered a facilitator of automation and future developments. The transition into the digital sphere has thus morphed into cybersecurity challenges that ports need to address before realising the complete potential of innovative technologies. This is why we decided to deal with cybersecurity in ports for this month’s #DidYouKnow article.

What kinds of cyber threats exist for ports?

Making sure that ports are safe from cyber threats is critical towards ensuring safe and secure operations of ships both at sea and onshore. This is not a new issue – the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has already adopted various resolutions that aim to minimize (if not eliminate) cyber risks in the maritime industry. For example, under the IMO’s resolution MSC.428(98), port administrations need to ensure that the systems that are in place in their communities appropriately address any risks or security concerns for vessels that may exist in cyberspace. This is because port operations are vital in international and national maritime trade. It is within their boundaries that vessels arrive, load, and unload their cargoes, top up fuel, and carry out other vital information towards the proper functioning of the global supply chain.

In the modern digital world, port cybersecurity must be seen as a top priority for any transport operation

There are many types of cyber risks that can affect ports and their operations. These can be grouped the following 7 categories (which are by no means finite as the digital sphere is a constantly evolving creature).

  • Eavesdropping, interception, hijacking -This group of risks includes, but is not limited to, incidents such as the interception of emissions, sensitive information, network reconnaissance, network traffic manipulation, etc.
  • Nefarious activity & abuse – This group of risks includes, but is not limited to, incidents such as the denial of service, malware, brute force, identity theft, phishing, targeted attacks, abuse and theft of data, manipulation of information, etc.
  • Disaster – These risks can emerge as a result of environmental disasters, natural disasters, etc.
  • Unintentional damage – These can include the use of unreliable sources, erroneous administration of IT/OT systems, information leakage, among others.
  • Failures and Malfunctions – Any information system always has the potential to fail or malfunction. This group of risks includes failures to systems, devices, navigation and communication systems, main supply systems, failure or disruption of service providers, etc.
  • Outages – As information and digital systems depend on the energy grids, these risks include any possible main supply outages, network outages, absence of personnel, loss of support, etc.
  • Physical attacks – perhaps the group most associated with the general term of “cyberattacks”. This category includes fraud, sabotage, vandalism, theft, unauthorised access, terrorism, hacktivism, piracy, coercion, extortion, or corruption

What are the legal frameworks?

IMO Resolutions

Providing worldwide cybersecurity guidance for ports is the International Maritime Organization. Various resolutions have already been passed by the organisation to try to create standards for ports and shipping lines to follow to ensure maximum cyber security and cyber regulatory frameworks that minimise the risks for all parties, including ISO/IEC 27001 and the Guidelines on Cyber Security on Board Ships.

SOLAS

SOLAS – or the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea – is a treaty that has established the minimum safety standards for shipping. It covers requirements for equipment, construction, and the general operation of vessels. It has been adopted by over 150 nation-states. In terms of cyber security, its Chapter IX — Management for the Safe Operation of Ships — requires every shipping line and any person or company that is responsible for a vessel to comply with the International Safety Management Code (ISM). This code has been adapted to include sections on cybersecurity concerns.

ENISA

ENISA is the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity. In 2019 its position was strengthened with the EU Cybersecurity Act, which also defined a general framework for Information, Communication and Technology products, processes, and services. All EU member states need to comply with the ENISA requirements, though there are some that have also adopted their own national initiatives to further shield themselves from cyber risks. This includes the French CIIP law, the German “IT-Grundschutz” and the UL Cyber Security Code of Practices, among others.

 

Conclusions

This #DidYouKnow article is by no means an extensive deep-dive into the world of cyber security – as it is a very broad and complex topic that only specialised cyber professionals could explain. It does offer, nevertheless, a glimpse into the complexity of issues that arose with the digitalisation of our modern world.

Ports are not immune to the cyber risks, no matter how digitised and seemingly prepared they are. Most of such attacks involve people and fragmented system landscapes, and therefore every port community is potentially at risk. The digital divide shouldn’t be ignored – and the fact that the maritime world is central to keeping global supply chains moving and thus is crucial to information exchanges associated with them further highlights the shared nature of cybersecurity risks. Therefore, for the maritime world to function effectively, the management of cyber risks must be carried out properly and shared with all stakeholders, ranging from port authorities, shipping operators, port facilities and terminals, maritime agencies, customs agents and maritime law enforcement agencies. The cyberworld does not have physical borders, and therefore the mitigation of any threats there is trickier.

Cybersecurity in port operations is no easy (nor isolated) feat. It is essential for all partners involved in transport operations to be aware of the risks involved and to learn to take the necessary steps to prevent or stop any potential threats that may develop. This includes following good practices that certain port operators may establish to reach a baseline of cybersecurity. In 2020, the port industry has faced a fourfold increase in cyber attacks against OT systems (a fourfold increase from 2017). Cyber-attacks are unfortunately becoming common. Therefore it is important to note that, at the end of the day, port operations and cybersecurity in the twenty first century are two sides of the same coin.

Intrigued? The Escola Europea is organising a summer school in port operations – with a focus on vessels and goods that are processed through the Port of Barcelona in the month of July. In the course we go over all the aspects of port operations, including the new cyber threats and their mitigation procedures. Check out the programme on our website.

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Visit to Aqaba - Escola Europea

The Escola Europea and Port of Aqaba strengthen their ties

Between the 10th and the 11th of April, the director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport travelled to Aqaba (Jordan) to work together on driving the YEP MED project forward.

As leader of the YEP MED project, co-financed by the ENI CBC Med Programme, the Escola Europea has taken upon itself to visit the southern Mediterranean partners to monitor the progress of the project – something that was planned to take place in 2020-2021 but was hindered by the global health pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus. Following visits to Lebanon, Tunisia and Egypt, this month Eduard Rodés, director of the Escola Europea, travelled to Aqaba to meet with the local partners there.

During the visit, Mr Rodés met with HE Hussein A-Safadi, the CEO of the Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC), who confirmed the significance of the YEP MED project and the corporation’s commitment and support for it and its work.

Subsequently, meetings with logistic operators from the local port community and meetings with local training centres (including Balqa University, JAMS and the National Employment and Training Centre) were conducted. All of the meetings were attended by Mr. Mohammad Al-Sakram and Ms. Hanifa Hamouri, who are responsible for the YEP MED project at the ADC.

“The joint work of the training centres with companies in the sector is a fantastic result of the YEP MED project, which is contributing to the development of more efficient Logistics-Port Communities. This in turn improves the country’s external competitiveness. Witnessing the incredible hospitality of the hosts and having the opportunity to exchange our knowledge is invaluable. It is only through such deep connections that we can ensure that we build a strong, sustainable and innovated network in our region,” stated Mr. Rodés during the visit.

After having toured the Aqaba Port and the Balqaa University, Mr Rodés met with local YEP MED partners to go over the project requirements and offer any other guidance or assistance in the coming months, while initiating collaborative work to ensure the continuity of the initiatives put in place after the end of the project.

The YEP MED project has a budget of €2.9m, with a 10% contribution from the European Union, and a duration of 30 months since it began in September 2020. For more information you can contact Concha Palacios from the project office at concha.palacios@portdebarcelona.cat or head to the website.

Sustainability

The Escola and the Port of Barcelona get closer to sustainability

The second decade of the 21st century has brought sustainability into the limelight in many ports of our globalised world. The port of Barcelona has already been involved in numerous activities related to sustainability over the years, and in March 2022 it has selected the Escola Europea to officially serve as the Technical Office of Port Sustainability – with a strengthened effort to reach the goals set by the Spanish and European authorities that aim to curb transport emissions by 2030.

The passing of the Law on State Ports in 1992 by the Spanish government marked the beginning of the creation of the Port Authorities, the establishment of a new model for the organisation and operation of the port systems and eliminating the figures of the Autonomous Ports and the Port Boards. One year later, the constitution of the Port of Barcelona as a single Port Community was established. Since then, every 5 years the port has developed a Strategic Plan with the goal of revising the port’s primary goals and strengthening the port community every half a decade. In the latest Strategic Plan, the Port of Barcelona has emphasized the increasing need to bring sustainable transport solutions to the forefront of the port’s activities, and therewith put Barcelona in the frontlines of modern ports.

The III Strategic Plan, which covered the period from 2015 to 2020, characterised at the Port of Barcelona (APB) by the approval of two framework documents for the Port Community’s action and governance of the Port Community: the APB’s 3rd Strategic Plan 2015-2020, which, together with growth and competitiveness, placed sustainability as one of the three central axes for framing all aspects of the business. On the other hand, the approval in 2016 of the Sector Sustainability Plan in 2016, which introduced a new way of approaching sustainability, engaging with it and of relating to the organisations of the Port Community by collecting and processing of non-financial information based on the development of benchmark indicators. In addition, the Port of Barcelona has been a pioneer in incorporating the sectoral view directly into its reporting and by linking it to the 2030 Agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

As such, the Port Authority opened a tender for the creation of a Technical Office of Port Sustainability of the Port of Barcelona, which it awarded to the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport in March of 2022. The contract itself has a duration of 1 year, with the potential for further extensions thereafter.

The Escola’s services will be strengthened and configured in line with sector trends and the Port of Barcelona’s strategic plan, including the promotion of the intermodal transport and energy transition courses as part of the environmental sustainability actions of the port authority; the creation of a Training and Employment Working Group that will promote social sustainability among the different actors of the port community; and finally expanding the new Port Virtual Lab interface to showcase digitalisation efforts in the area.