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

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

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 ports

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.

Sources:

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.

The Escola to promote the YEP MED project during MedCat days 2022

The Chief Business Officer of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport will promote the YEP MED project during this year’s MedCat days in Barcelona.

Marta Miquel, the Chief Business Officer of the Escola Europea will attend the event on behalf of the lead partner of the EU-funded project. As part of the session on “A more social and inclusive Mediterranean,” which will be moderated by Albert Sorrosal from TESIM, and with an introduction from Anna Dorangricchia – the project manager from the Social and Civil Affairs of UpM, she will introduce YEP MED (Youth Employment in the Ports of the MEDiterranean) to the attendees and explain the best practices that have been developed during the first half of the project’s lifetime.

MedCat Days, part of the Catalonia Mediterranean Hub, is organised by the Generalitat de Catalunya, the European Institute for the Mediterranean (IEMed), and with the collaboration of MedCoopAlliance.

The mission of the MedCat days is to promote the new EU Agenda for the Mediterranean. With the knowledge that with the objectives of the cohesion policy 2021-2027 of the government of Catalonia, it is necessary to bet on greener and more innovative policies in the Mediterranean. During the three days of the event, delegates will have the chance to analyze the difficult topics surrounding Mediterranean transport, meet new actors, discuss projects and host institutional meetings. The first half of the Days will take place on 23, 24 and 25 March, with a second session planned for the second half of November 2022. In March, the focus will be on:

  • Contributing to the deployment of the EU’s new Agenda for the Mediterranean and the promotion of Green and Digital Transitions
  • Promoting new initiatives and projects in the Mediterranean in the framework of the new generation of Euromed programmes.
  • Promoting agreements and exchanges with Catalan and southern Mediterranean actors.
  • Promoting an integrated, macro-regional and multi-level vision within the framework of European policies in the Mediterranean.

The Escola and the Baku Port cement their collaboration

On the 10th of March, the director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport Eduard Rodés signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Head of the Baku Port Training Center Orkhan Adigozalov.  

The agreement aims to share the Escola’s unique and proven model of experiential training in logistics and intermodal transport with the Training Centre at the Port of Baku.

Located on the shores of the Caspian Sea, the port of Baku is the main maritime gateway to Azerbaijan. With the Escola’s continued efforts to extend its network of educational centres across the Mediterranean Sea, an expansion further into neighbouring sea ports seemed logical. Over the next few years, the Escola and the Baku Port training centre will work together to develop an institutional development strategy, which will help the port turn into a regional training and logistics centre, helping the Escola spread its vision of practical and experiential training that fully prepares the professionals of tomorrow.

Prior to the signing of the agreement, on the 9th of March, representatives from the Port of Baku took part in a course that focused on sustainability and “Green Ports”, which was designed and taught by the Escola and specialists from the sector: Eduard Rodés – the director of the Escola, Xavier Sabaté – the head of environmental projects at the Port of Barcelona, and Oriol Vilaseca – an environmental consultant. The goal of this course was to present the strategies of the Port of Barcelona and its Logistics Community related to sustainability and the environment; to analyse new visions concerning the management of ports from the perspective of sustainability and any steps that ports could take tp transform strategies into action; and to analyse the position of the Port of Baku to lead the transport corridors of the Caspian region by making them competitive and sustainable.

In October of 2021 a delegation from the Port of Baku travelled to Barcelona to discover the port’s strategy. It is during this visit that the participants familiarised themselves with the work of the Escola, which gave rise to this blossoming collaboration.

For more information, you can contact the Escola.

The Little Prince

Let’s learn together

On the 15th anniversary of the Escola Europea…

The Little Prince

-“Farewell,” said the little prince sadly.

-“Farewell,” said the fox. “Here is my secret:

Only with the heart can one see well; the most important is invisible to the eyes”.

-“Only with the heart… What is most important is invisible to the eyes….”

– repeated the little prince to remind himself.

-“What makes your rose important is the time you have devoted to it.”

-“It is the time I have devoted to it…” repeated the little prince in order to remember it.

-“Men have forgotten this great truth,” said the fox. “You must not forget it! You are responsible, forever, for what you have cared for. You are responsible for your rose…..”

-“I am responsible for my rose!” -repeated the little prince to remind himself of it.

The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Eduard Rodés - Director of the Escola Europea Intermodal Transport

Written by: Eduard Rodés, director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

“We learn together” is a declaration of principles and an arrow into the heart of someone who has dedicated a large part of their professional life to education and training.  In 2017, the BBVA bank, in collaboration with the Spanish newspaper El País, launched the educational project “Let’s learn together”, which aimed to pave the way for a better life, and which materialised in a series of easily accessible videos on the internet featuring interviews, stories and workshops with the participation of well-known people in the field of education, teachers, intellectuals and a long etcetera. It was a marvel that I recommend without reservation. In one of them, Nuccio Ordine, a professor at the University of Calabria and writer, takes part. In a brilliant talk, he quotes several times from The Little Prince to refer to the relationship between people and the cultivation of these relationships. In doing so, he refers to the passage of the encounter between the little prince and the desert fox. I wanted to begin this article by taking the last part of the encounter in which beautiful things happen. The first thing is that it tells us is that what is most important is invisible to our eyes. We already knew that, but we need to be reminded of it often so as not to forget it.  Secondly, that what is important is what we have dedicated our time to, the scarcest and most precious resource we have.  And that when we have established an emotional bond with the other, we are also responsible for it.

Think for a moment that the rose is our Port Community. With it, with its members, we can have a distant and indefinite relationship. Or, alternatively, a close relationship with strong ties in which we recognise and need each other. One in which we collaborate and help each other, without ceasing to compete in what we must compete in. To get to know each other we have to spend time with each other in reciprocity, including education.

To build this relationship we need time, rituals, symbols, and values to share and to recognise each other. I hardly ever talk about time because it is generally interpreted from the point of view of the priority that we give to things. In other words, we have time for what interests us, and we prioritise it as such. Rituals, on the other hand are more subtle. They are articulated by joint activities that are carried out. Here I would highlight the Port Community Governing Council. The working groups that have sprouted over the years play a fundamental role. One of the most effective, in my opinion, groups is the Telematic Forum, to which I belonged for many years, and which plays a fundamental coordinating role in the smooth running of the sector’s operations. In recent years, I have promoted what is now the Occupation and Training Working Group, in which the main actors of a Port Logistics Community participate and are represented together with representatives from the world of employment and education – members who have never before maintained a direct and continuous link with the port. This benefits everyone. It is a clear example of the PPP (public private partnership) that has characterised the way many of the western port communities have operated in terms of port development investments for decades. And it is through these groups that we can say that we learn together.

I have long maintained that these relationships produce synapses and shape a collective intelligence that enriches us and makes us stronger. The Port of Barcelona‘s Strategic Plan identifies competition between gateway logistics chains as the fundamental factor for the future. In my opinion, this involves competition between logistics-port communities, which must be capable of creating solutions that adapt to the needs of each moment, through a dynamic disappearance process, and altered to the evolutionary needs of the market. This is something that John Gattorna defined as living supply chains. These communities must increasingly become so, also from an international point of view. Our trade missions must serve to promote real cooperation between operators in each port. This will certainly involve setting up systems that allow for permanent and sustained contact over time.  The recent cooperation agreement between the Port of Barcelona and the Port of Busan in South Korea serves as a good example of the start of a network with such characteristics.

In 2022 an event took place that I believe will mark a turning point in relations in the world of education and that will become a symbol in time. With the start of a new academic year it was announced that, after the summer, a public high school will be set up in the port. It will offer a higher degree in logistics, transport and international trade. It will extend the training to cover everything from initial training to occupational training. My idea for this institute in the port is that companies should be involved from the beginning. The training should be dual, and students should do part of their training inside the companies. It will also be essentials for the teachers to be able to make short visits to the companies to meet the people who manage them and to discover their day-to-day operations first-hand. Moreover, the professionals from these companies should also be occasional teachers at the high school. This would allow the students to gain knowledge directly from the sources of the information.

Ideally I would also like for it to be a great centre of education that defends values. That we would all be able to learn and educate together, with shared responsibilities and commitment. At the Escola we have always said that we provide education and values that identify with creativity, innovation, dialogue, self-determination, work, commitment to people and the environment, and knowledge. We hope that we can help everyone share such goals’ and that the effort will make us stand out for having tried to do things well.

“My flower perfumed my planet …

I couldn’t understand anything then! I should have judged her by her actions and not by her words. She perfumed and illuminated my life! I shouldn’t have run away! I didn’t know how to recognise the tenderness behind her poor astuteness! Flowers are so contradictory! And… I was too young to know how to love her”.

The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

Learning and moving forward together is the challenge that we must work towards, because together we are strong. Building our Community has to be a priority and that means dedicating time and effort to it. We need to be aware of its contradictions and shortcomings, and appreciate what it does for us. Even if we may find it hard to recognise and sometimes only become aware when we go out to other ports in the world. We have a treasure that we must nurture in order to continue learning together.

Escola Europea takes a closer look at Technology Transfer Initiatives and Living Labs

With the first six months of the EU-funded TechLog project finishing, the technical aspects of the premise of the project take a more central stage. Orlando Reveco, from the Escola Europea, helps us understand what Technology Transfer Initiatives and Living Labss are in an in-depth interview about these innovative characteristics of research and education.

Q:Can you please tell me a little bit about your background, and how you will be involved in the TechLog project over the next few years?

A: I have had the opportunity of being closely linked to the technological world for many years in which I worked in companies that focus on finding technological solutions for all kinds of issues. Across the development of my professional career, I have also had the opportunity to cooperate in various educational projects. I have seen first-hand how such a cooperation between the use of technology in training activities yields better results and becomes a powerful force that can accelerate economic growth.

TechLog presents an opportunity to expand my knowledge and use my experience to benefit a project oriented in the exchange of technology for the development of an area that is increasingly important. Being part of a team that will help prepare professionals capable of facing the challenges of the coming years and establish a permanent cross-border EU-Med area where organisations and port authorities co-create and share new technology transfers initiatives, is a great personal motivation for me.

Q: Could you explain what Technology Transfer Initiatives and Living Labs are for the “uninitiated”?

A: Technology transfer initiatives are processes that help disseminate technology from the individual or organisation that owns or holds it to another individual or organisation, therewith helping transform inventions and scientific outcomes into new products and services that benefit society at large.

 They represent an invaluable opportunity where knowledge and practice exchanges in professional environments, designed by organisations with a lot of educational experience and logistics operators, will take place and will allow all parties to be part of a project without borders in which they will be able to establish a network and share practical experiences, therewith increasing their chances of success in the future.

 A living lab on the other hand is a research concept, which may be defined as a user-centred, open-innovation ecosystem that integrates contemporaneous research and innovation processes within a public-private-people partnership.

There are no limitations to the advantages that these types of initiative can provide, especially in regional exchange scenarios where the personal development of its participants will inevitably become the success of the objectives proposed by the international project.

Q: The Escola Europea has begun developing the Port Virtual Lab platform over the past two years. How can this platform help TechLog achieve its goals?

A: Port Virtual Lab is a very complete project that offers technological educational development tools. Initially, we talked about a platform that was to be used as a meeting point for all those who have knowledge and professional development needs in the international transportation and logistics environment – and now it has morphed into a teaching tool that is used to replicate real-life port and logistics operations in the Escola’s courses.

 It is for this reason that PortVirtual Lab and TechLog will have no problem working together, as both of them are fundamentally complete tools and platforms that work towards the development of advanced academic content, and which are endorsed by organisations with long and recognised records.

Q: How effective do you think are virtual simulators in imitating reality, especially when it comes to training?

Virtual simulators not only capture the interest of the person who uses them, but in my opinion they can represent a new way of turning hours of theoretical and practical experiences in the classroom into fun experiences – all of which encourage immersive learning.

 Carrying out training for future logistics operators in innovative virtual reality systems allows them to get to know the environment where they will carry out their activities and experience situations that they may probably find but that are difficult to replicate in a real environment – and it does so safely without peril to real-life clients and supply chain operations.

Q: How common would you say is it currently in Mediterranean countries to use simulation practices in the field of transport? What do you think is(are) contributing factors to this?

I am completely sure that it will be an increasingly recurrent practice. The demand for services in the logistics and transport sector in the Mediterranean increases every year and this can only mean that every day more and better-trained personnel will be needed to meet the ever-changing requirements and reach geographical and environmental goals and standards.

Training must be accompanied by a methodology that allows us to focus on the necessary procedures and can be adapted to the work schemes of each port community; it is a flexibility that only the use of systems with these characteristics can offer.

 This is a way to achieve common work operations processes where all Mediterranean members have an equal footing.