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.

#DidYouKnow – Intro to the Cold Chain

In the past year the Cold Chain has been in the spotlight. With the mRNA vaccines getting a lot of media coverage, people from all trades sought to understand why the logistics of transporting certain types of products at (sometimes very) low temperatures proved tricky.

The Cold Chain is not a new concept. It has been used for centuries to help transport fresh products, and with the emergence of freezing technologies it made it easier to transport frozen items and medicinal products across large distances. But what exactly is the Cold Chain? Why is it called that and why do we care?

We sought to address these issues in this month’s #DidYouKnow piece:

What exactly is the Cold Chain?

The Cold Chain refers to the management of products that need to transported at stable temperatures throughout the supply chain. Though not limited to pharmaceutical supplies, it has been in the spotlight over the past two years due to the risks associated with the pandemic-related vaccines potentially deteriorating during transport that can’t support the extremely low temperatures needed to maintain their integrity.

There are four main groups of products that fall under the Cold Chain systems:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Chemicals

What are the elements of a Cold Chain?

At the root of it, the Cold Chain is a series of logistic management steps taken to protect the integrity and quality of certain types of perishable products. These steps range in product preparation, storage and the transport itself.

The main elements are:

  1. Storage – the transport begins with the storage of the products in a refrigerated facility. These tend to be equipped with refrigerated containers, chillers, cold boxes, cold rooms, and blast freezers, among other things
  2. Packaging – The products have lower risks of contamination if they are properly packaged. This also increases the energy efficiency throughout the whole chain. To ensure proper packaging, refrigerants are used, which include dry ice, gel packs, phase change materials, Styrofoam or gel bricks.
  3. Monitoring – Careful monitoring of the conditions during all steps of the cold chain is essential. Cold Chain managers can monitor things like temperatures and environmental parameters. Nowadays the Internet of Things is being used to help in these processes, and digital software that allow for the management of transport are integral to monitoring the data collected by the sensors stationed throughout the supply chain.
  4. Delivery – The final step of the Cold Chain is the delivery of the product – and this step may or may not involve the provision of temperature-controlled equipment by the transport operators. This depends on the preferences of the buyers and end-users.

Classification

The Cold Chain has a set of standardised temperature ranges that helps transport operators determine which methods are most appropriate for the transport of their products.

  1. Banana – temperatures range between 12 degrees to 14 degrees Celcius
  2. Pharmaceutical – temperatures range between 2 and 8 degrees Celcius
  3. Chill – temperatures range between 2 and 4 degrees Celcius
  4. Frozen – temperatures range between -10 and -20 degrees Celcius
  5. Deep frozen – temperatures range between -25 and -30 degrees Celcius
  6. Ultra low – temperatures fall below -70 degrees Celcius

What kinds of temperature controls are we talking about?

In general the temperature controlled supply chains refer to cold temperatures – which is where the term “the cold chain” comes from. Typically the products transported along these supply chains need to be kept under stable temperatures that range from 2 degrees Celcius (35 degrees Fahrenheit) to negative 70 degrees Celcius (negative 158 degrees Fahrenheit).

What are the consequences of improper cold chain management?

The Cold Chain is very important in maintaining the functionality of today’s supply chains. Failure to do so could result in discolouring, bruising and bacterial growth, as well as product degradation. All of those could then have devastating impacts on public health, as well as affect the satisfaction of the end-users (which would then drive greater demand for the products).

What industries rely on the Cold Chain?

 The main industries that need to use temperature controlled supply chains are:

  • Food and beverage
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Chemical
  • Oil and gas
  • Military

European legislation

The European Union has come up with a set of guidelines on manufacturing and distribution practices of all products. These were designed to ensure both the safety and the quality of the products transported, and include specifications that would need to be applied to storage areas and transport equipment. For more information you can check out the EU Good Manufactoring Practices.

Sources:

Want to know more? Check out these additional resources:

Icon for the SURCO Operations course

Rail takes centre stage in the Escola’s first in-person SURCO course of 2022

With the European Year of the Rail coming to an end in December 2021, the Escola’s team continued the momentum and began the new year with an edition of the SURCO Operations II course in national and international railway operations.

SURCO–Simple Use of Railway COnnections – courses take an in-depth look at intermodal rail operations within ports and rail terminals, focusing on the characteristics and benefits of this type of transport. Railway corridors are continuing to grow with the European Commission spending more resources on the development of interoperable and efficient railway motorways that connect all the countries of the economic block (and beyond). Knowledge of the different aspects that surround freight transport along this mode can be extremely beneficial to today’s students and professionals. This is where the SURCO courses come in handy.

Designed for professionals from freight transport companies, freight forwarders and import and export companies, as well as others interested in the use of rail transport, the course carries out an analysis of the different elements necessary to offer efficient intermodal transport solutions. On this occasion, companies such as ViiA, Terminal Maritima de Zaragoza, BASF, LPF Perthus, Renfe, Adif and Puertos del Estado have collaborated with the Escola’s team in the organisation and promotion of the course.

The group of 18 participants came from a myriad of companies, which included public administrations (such as the Port Authorities of Cartagena, Barcelona and Tarragona) and private companies such as rail operators, freight forwarders and import/export companies  (including Raminatrans, BioIbérica SAU, Medway and Move Intermodal, among others). Initially scheduled to take place in person, the course had to take a more hybrid format due to the deteriorating situation of the ongoing global health crisis. The theoretical classes focused on management of railway systems, European TEN-T, the impact of rail transport on the environment, contracts and international rail transport, and the costs analysis of railway transport chains. The course included several visits to discover the various railway infrastructures on the border between Spain and France (Port Bou terminal, LFP (transborder tunnel of Pertús) and the intermodal terminal Ambrogio), as well as a case study that made the participants put everything they had learnt into practice. The format of the training impressed all of the participants and offered an all-encompassing vision of freight transport by rail.

Participants of the SURCO Operations II 2022

This past week the Escola also organised the first course of 2022– an ad hoc training on Maritime Logistics in hybrid format for 39 students of the Universidad del Pacifico in Peru. The Certification in Maritime Logistics took place over 4 days in Barcelona and included practical workshops on a Ro-Pax vessel of Grimaldi Lines as well as visits to the Port of Barcelona and its terminals.

For more information about the Escola, you can head to the website https://escolaeuropea.eu/training/our-courses/#surco .

 

Nuclear Energy - Power Plant

The possible return to nuclear power in Italy

As we start the year, Europe finds itself in yet another crisis – this time one surrounding energy. In this article, submitted to us by Giulia Esposito, we shine a spotlight on the latest developments in Italy, and the possible shifts in the energy transition that the country may be voting on in the near future. The article appeared originally on the Pronto Bolleta website.

The possible return to nuclear power in Italy

After the closure of nuclear power plants in 1990, and some 10 years after the 2011 referendum, when 94% of Italians buried the idea of a return to nuclear power, a new referendum is being considered in Italy to promote new nuclear power plants. Today, polls show a return of interest in this technology in the country.

In fact, while the European Commission is considering recognising nuclear energy and natural gas as green sources for energy production, in Italy the idea is being promoted that a return to nuclear power could also be a solution to the issue of high energy bills.

The reality is that, even today, there are still many doubts about the risks involved in reintroducing nuclear power plants in Italy: from the dangers of radioactivity to the absence of a national repository. In fact, the high cost of storage still weighs on the pockets of Italians – which could reach more than €60 million a year. We discuss this in this article.

Nuclear Energy 1

The EU nuclear proposal and the new referendum in Italy

In 2021 the issue of nuclear energy has come up in Italy, particularly following Roberto Cingolani’s – who is the Minister for Ecological Transition – expressed support for the return of nuclear power in Italy. This was then followed by a consensual agreement voiced by Matteo Salvini, Giorgia Meloni and Confindustria president Carlo Bonomi.

The year 2022 began with a draft by the European Commission on the recognition of nuclear power and natural gas as ‘green’ renewable energy sources – which they declared as sustainable and capable of accelerating the achievement of zero CO2 emissions in Europe.

Salvini’s support for this controversial energy source was slow. Riding on the wave of high energy bills that is sweeping the nation, the Italian Senator stated that he would like to call for a third referendum on nuclear power in Italy for an “independent, safe and clean” future. The last time a referendum on nuclear energy was called in Italy was 2011, when almost all voters (over 94%) voted against a return to nuclear power. At the time this was partly explained by the then recent aftermath of the tragic tsunami that had occurred a few months earlier in Fukushima (Japan), which caused several explosions and the destruction of a nuclear power plant.

With no such recent crises to fall back on, it will be interesting to see whether Italians today embrace the energy source or stay true to the sentiments voiced a decade ago.

The current state of nuclear energy in Europe

Today, there are around 128 active nuclear power plants in Europe, with France leading the way with 58 plants in operation, followed by the Russian Federation (32) and the United Kingdom (19).

Nuclear Energy Plans in Europe

The nuclear proposals, if supported by the 27 member states, would come into force in 2023. With this in mind, it will be interesting to follow the developments of the European Commission’s plan in the coming months, and to find out what the positions of countries such as Germany and Belgium are – countries that are famous for progressively abandoning nuclear power in favour of renewable energy sources.

 

The pros and cons of returning to nuclear power in Italy in 2022

Nuclear power is certainly a sensitive issue. Although a country may benefit from certain advantages, including production capacity, one cannot help but consider the risks linked to radioactivity and safety. Today, thanks to the evolution of the Internet infrastructure, it would be easier to monitor power stations. Nevertheless, with more than 60 nuclear accidents over the years, we have learned that even a small error could have catastrophic consequences – largely due to the radioactivity produced by nuclear power for an entire nation.

Nevertheless, polls in Italy seem to show an inclination towards a return to the construction of nuclear power plants and the production of nuclear energy. Possibly explained by rising energy bills, the numbers show that 51% of Italians would favour a return to nuclear power, despite the fact that in 2011 over 94% rejected the idea. But will Italy be able to bear the costs of storing radioactive waste?

The production of nuclear energy in Italy between 1963 and 1990 resulted in the production of atomic waste which, in the absence of a national repository, was mainly sent to France and the United Kingdom. Not only that, but even today we do not have a national repository. The only solution then, and now, is to store it abroad, which would cost the state about EUR 60 million a year.

In addition, this backlog costs between 1 and 4 million euros per year at each site in Italy. According to Sogin, we are talking about temporary small deposits all over Italy, including at hospitals who may have the facilities in place safe enough to store such waste. Today, Piedmont has the highest presence of radioactivity from nuclear waste, while Lazio has the highest quantity of toxic waste.

It would be imperative to determine how the waste would be managed if new nuclear power plants were to be built.

 

The possible benefits for the transport sector

The supply of fossil fuels is becoming increasingly difficult, resulting in higher costs for all transport actors. A limited resource is, for example, oil: the cost of supplying it is increasing, and can be seen through the rising prices of diesel and petrol. Fossil fuels also release a huge amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases, resulting in the well-known greenhouse effect that the European nations are trying to minimise.

Despite the fact that the ‘electric’ alternative is becoming increasingly important, most transport in Italy is still powered by petrol and diesel. In fact, this is not only the case in a few cities but also in many of the main Italian provinces. This reliance on traditional energy sources results in both more pollution and high financial costs of fuelling large vehicles (including trucks, buses, etc). And while the adoption of new electric vehicles would be beneficial in the short term, the eventual adoption of nuclear power would be the missing piece to complete this “ecological” transition.

In fact, both electric and fuel cell vehicles could be more efficient due to the advantages of nuclear energy production. Electric vehicle batteries need energy to recharge, whereas fuel cell vehicles need hydrogen, which is itself produced from energy. If this energy were produced from nuclear power, the environmental impact would be minimal and the cost of energy would be much lower than with the traditional combustion engines that we are familiar with.

Overall, it can be said that the topic of nuclear power is incredibly complex, and though there are both advantages and disadvantages to this energy source, it will surely prove to be a multifaceted issue for Italians in the coming months. Europe, for sure, will be watching.

This article originally appeared on the Pronto Bolletta website. Source:  https://www.prontobolletta.it/news/nucleare-italia-2022/

Forma't al Port Management - December 2021

Discovering the Port and Forma’t al Port: teachers and students get to know the Port of Barcelona in the final weeks of the year

The Forma’t al Port programme managed to recover the numbers of students trained pre-pandemic and trained 590 students in a single year; while the “Discover the Port” initiative was born to give visibility to the port professions to educators.

The Discover the Port initiative has been born with the help of the Port of Barcelona, the Escola Europea and the actors of the training and occupation board of the logistics-port community of Barcelona. Through this programme more than 40 teachers and educators of institutes of Barcelona have been able to learn about the new strategic plan of the Port of Barcelona, along with the update of the study of professional profiles of the port community of Barcelona and that of the infrastructures and companies that accommodate new job opportunities for young people in the area.

This programme aims to inform teachers of the professional profiles that are most in demand and difficult to cover, in order for them to be able to identify and guide potential candidates for these jobs and advise them in their academic and professional career.

Similarly, for students already familiar with the sector, the Forma’t al Port programme was reinvented in a hybrid format to bring the Port of Barcelona and its activities closer to students of Transport and Logistics and International Trade, and to students of the Logistics and Maritime Business Degree, both virtually and in person during the year of health-crisis related restrictions.

In the first half of the year, 530 students attended the Forma’t al Port – Introduction course, which consists of lectures by the different players in the port logistics community, as well as virtual visits to the Port of Barcelona. The students also got to know the Port’s facilities in person through a visit scheduled during a pandemic-safe period of the year.

At the end of the year, in November and December, the Forma’t training returned to its original 100% classroom format and two editions of the Forma’t al Port – Management course were held on board GNV and Grimaldi Lines vessels with a total of 60 participants. The experience proved to be very enriching, as the students were able to interact with their peers from different institutes and the trainers in a safe space.

In view of the success of the programme in recent years, several training centres have applied for partnership in order to be able to offer their students this specialised training. The Escola Europea, the organiser of the courses, is looking for new local sponsors to increase the number of centres and students who can take the courses.

In 2022 the Escola’s team plans to restart face-to-face activities, if the situation permits, and to continue the work of bringing the Barcelona port-logistics community closer to its future professionals.

For more information about Forma’t al Port courses, please contact the programme manager: Marta Miquel – marta.miquel@escolaeuropea.eu.