Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is here to stay – but at what cost?

Eduard Rodés - Director of the Escola Europea Intermodal Transport

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

In January one evening I sat down to experiment with the new tools that have been receiving a lot of industry hype recently – the AI chatbots that seemed to revolutionise the field of automation and digital assistance. I went into Chat GPT and asked it to “write a 1000-word article on artificial intelligence and logistics”.

This was the result:

“Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize the field of logistics and supply chain management. By using machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics, AI can help logistics companies optimize their operations, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.

One of the main benefits of AI in logistics is the ability to automate and streamline processes. For example, AI can be used to optimize routes for delivery trucks, predict demand for certain products, and identify bottlenecks in the supply chain. This can help logistics companies reduce their operating costs and improve customer satisfaction by providing faster and more reliable delivery times.

Another area where AI can be useful in logistics is in the management of inventory. By analyzing sales data and customer demand, AI algorithms can help logistics companies forecast future demand and adjust their inventory levels accordingly. This can help reduce the risk of overstocking or running out of stock, which can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line.

In addition to automating and optimizing processes, AI can also be used to improve the accuracy and speed of decision-making in logistics. For example, AI algorithms can be used to analyze large amounts of data and identify trends or patterns that might not be immediately obvious to human analysts. This can help logistics companies make more informed decisions about where to allocate resources, what products to stock, and how to respond to changes in the market.

AI can also be used to improve the efficiency of logistics operations by reducing the need for manual labor. For example, self-driving trucks and drones can be used to transport goods, freeing up human workers to focus on more complex tasks. This can help logistics companies reduce labor costs and improve productivity. Despite the many potential benefits of AI in logistics, there are also some challenges to consider. One concern is the potential for job displacement as more tasks are automated. Logistics companies will need to carefully consider how to retrain and reallocate their workforce to ensure that workers are not left behind as AI becomes more prevalent.

In conclusion, AI has the potential to revolutionize logistics and supply chain management by automating and streamlining processes, optimizing inventory levels, improving decision-making, and reducing the need for manual labor. However, there are some challenges that must be addressed in order to ensure that AI is used responsibly.”

 

I was left dumbstruck. I then wanted to test this further and accessed deepai.org/art. I asked the screen to create an image for me with the Word “logistics”, and low and behold – I was given a new image:

Technology has been advancing at an incremental rate since the late 80s, early 90s. Long gone are the days when you had to call an operator to connect you to another person. It also appears that the days of “assistants” will also soon be behind us. Artificial Intelligence is improving our productivity, changing the way we carry out daily tasks and work. But at what cost?

What is ChatCPT?

ChatGPT is a language model developed by OpenAI. In essense it’s an artificial intelligence chatbot, which launched in November 2022. It is built on top of OpenAI’s GPT-3 family of large language models and has been fine-tuned (an approach to transfer learning) using both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques.

The technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we communicate with machines and each other. Its implications on our future are vast, and its potential uses are only beginning to be explored. From business to education, healthcare to entertainment, ChatGPT has the potential to transform our world in profound ways.

One of the most significant implications of ChatGPT is its ability to enhance communication. With its advanced natural language processing capabilities, ChatGPT can interpret and respond to text in a way that is almost indistinguishable from human communication. This means that it has the potential to provide personalized customer service, support in education and training, and even therapy.

  • The system can also process vast amounts of data, which makes it a powerful tool for businesses. With its help, companies can analyze customer feedback, identify patterns in consumer behaviour, and improve their products and services accordingly. ChatGPT can also be used to streamline internal communication, automate repetitive tasks, and provide insights for decision-making.
  • In healthcare, ChatGPT can help patients receive more personalized care. By analysing patient data and medical history, ChatGPT can assist doctors and nurses in making more informed decisions about diagnosis and treatment. It can also be used to provide patients with support and education, helping them to manage their conditions and improve their overall health.
  • In education, ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionize the way we learn. It can provide personalized support and feedback to students, help teachers to create more engaging and effective lesson plans, and even automate grading and assessment. ChatGPT can also provide access to educational resources to people in remote or underprivileged areas, helping to bridge the digital divide.

Is it all good?

While ChatGPT has many potential benefits, there are also several risks and challenges that need to be addressed. Here are some of the most significant concerns:

  1. Bias: Like any artificial intelligence system, ChatGPT can be influenced by biases in the data it is trained on. This means that if the data reflects discriminatory or unfair practices, the system could perpetuate those biases. This is especially concerning when it comes to sensitive topics like healthcare or criminal justice, where biased decision-making could have serious consequences.
  2. Misinformation: ChatGPT can be used to create convincing fake news or propaganda, which can be spread quickly and widely through social media. This is a concern because misinformation can have serious real-world consequences, such as influencing political outcomes or causing panic during a public health crisis.
  3. Privacy: ChatGPT requires access to large amounts of data to work effectively, which can raise concerns about privacy. If sensitive personal information is stored and processed by ChatGPT, there is a risk that it could be accessed by hackers or other malicious actors.
  4. Dependence: As ChatGPT becomes more ubiquitous, there is a risk that people will become overly reliant on it for decision-making and problem-solving. This could lead to a loss of critical thinking skills and creativity, which are important for innovation and progress.
  5. Regulation: There are currently few regulations in place to govern the use of artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT. This means that there is a risk that these systems could be used in unethical or harmful ways without consequences.

To address these risks and challenges, it is essential to continue developing ethical guidelines and safeguards to ensure that ChatGPT is used in responsible and beneficial ways. This includes ensuring that the data used to train ChatGPT is diverse and free from bias, and that users are educated on the limitations and potential biases of the system. Additionally, regulations should be put in place to ensure that ChatGPT is used ethically and transparently, and that privacy concerns are addressed. By doing so, we can maximize the potential benefits of ChatGPT while minimizing the risks.

Final thoughts

There is no doubt that ChatGPT has the potential to transform many aspects of our lives, from communication and business to healthcare and education. Its implications for our future are vast, and its potential uses are only beginning to be explored. As with any technology, it is important to continue to develop ethical guidelines and safeguards to ensure that ChatGPT is used in responsible and beneficial ways. The future is exciting, and ChatGPT looks to be a part of it.

Port Digitalisation

Maritime Connectivity – what it means for the Mediterranean

Eduard Rodés,Director - Escola Europea - Intermodal Transporrt

Commentary by: Eduard Rodés,
Director – Escola Europea – Intermodal Transporrt

We live in an increasingly digital world – there is no doubt about that. Digital literacy and technical capabilities are skills that are now indispensable in employees in all sectors. But what geographical regions? The situation (in terms of skills, capabilities and infrastructures) in Spain is doubtlessly different from the situation in Tunis, just like the situation in Tunis is different from the situation in Bali. The countries’ individual geopolitical and industrial statuses affect how plugged in the countries can be to the globalised industries.

This brings me to a report that I wanted to share with you that CETMO has carried out on the maritime connectivity in the GTMO region. You can read our brief summary below, and then head to the CETMO website for the full report!

I highly recommend it! 

A summary of the “Maritime Connectivity in the GTMO Region: Current Situation and Future Prospects” report by CETMO

This report was produced by the Centre for Transportation Studies for the Mediterranean Region (CETMO) in collaboration with the Western Mediterranean Group Of Transport Ministries (GTMO 5+5). It examined the current state of maritime connectivity in the GTMO region (which includes countries in the Mediterranean, Black Sea, and Caspian Sea areas[1]) and provided recommendations for improvement in the future.

Key Findings:

The GTMO region is a major hub for international maritime trade. Even so, significant gaps in maritime connectivity within the region have been identified, particularly in terms of digital connectivity and the integration of different transport modes. The COVID-19 pandemic in particular has highlighted the importance of digital connectivity and the need for greater investment in infrastructure and technology to support remote operations and data exchanges.

The report identified several key challenges and opportunities for improving maritime connectivity in the region:

  1. One of the main challenges is the digital divide between countries in the region, which can hinder the exchange of data and information among different actors in the maritime sector. The report recommended a range of measures, including increasing investment in port and logistics infrastructure, improving digital connectivity and data exchange, promoting the integration of different transport modes, and addressing regulatory barriers;
  2. Another challenge is the fragmentation of transport modes and logistics systems in the region, which can result in inefficiencies and higher costs for shippers and carriers. The report recommended promoting greater integration between different transport modes, such as rail and inland waterways, to improve the connectivity of the region and facilitate the movement of goods.
  3. The report also highlighted the importance of regulatory frameworks in facilitating or hindering maritime connectivity in the region. Some countries have regulatory frameworks that are favourable to investment and trade, while others have more restrictive policies that can discourage investment and limit market access. The report recommended promoting greater regulatory harmonization and cooperation between countries in the region to create a more conducive environment for investment and trade.

Conclusion:

Improving maritime connectivity in the GTMO region is essential for supporting economic growth, improving trade flows, and enhancing the resilience of supply chains in the face of future shocks such as pandemics or geopolitical tensions. To achieve this, a comprehensive approach that considers the diverse needs and capabilities of different countries and stakeholders is needed, one that involves governments, private sector stakeholders, and international organisations. By working together to address the challenges facing maritime connectivity, the region can enhance its economic competitiveness, promote sustainable development, and improve the resilience of its supply chains in the face of future shocks.

[1] Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia

Barcelona Port’s Training and Employment Group

Striving for excellence in the War for Talent

Barcelona: a city that needs no introduction.

All around the world, when you say the name Barcelona, you can be certain that the name will be recognised thanks to the tourists it attracts and the economic growth that the city experienced over the past three decades. The port of Barcelona, therefore,  is a historical place as well as a nodal point where business development and connection between ports and companies take place.

Within this node and as a response to the problematic lack of qualified talent in the sector, a unique initiative was born. This initiative – called the Training and Employment Group of the Port of Barcelona – exists today to ensure that the Barcelona Port Community (which helps fuel the city’s growth) can access the skills and training opportunities needed to meet the ever-changing demands of our modern-day industry. It is also the first step in our journey to “Discover the Port.”

The Training and Employment Group

The Training and Employment Group of the Port of Barcelona is an initiative aimed at promoting job creation, training, and professional development in the port community of Barcelona. The group is comprised of various organizations and institutions, including the Barcelona Port Authority, the Generalitat of Catalonia, the City Council of Barcelona, and various industry associations and trade unions.

The main objective of the Training and Employment Group is to ensure that the port community has access to the necessary skills and training required to meet the demands of the industry and to promote job creation and professional development.  The group works to identify the needs of the port community and to develop training programs and initiatives that are tailored to these needs.

Some of the key activities of the Training and Employment Group include organizing training courses, seminars, and workshops on topics such as logistics, customs, and port operations. The group also works to promote apprenticeships and internships within the port community, providing opportunities for individuals to gain practical experience and to develop their skills.

In addition to its training and employment initiatives, the group also works to promote social responsibility and sustainable development within the port community. This includes initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion within the industry, as well as promoting environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.

Whom does the Group serve?

The Training and Employment Group exists to support the development and growth of the Port Community of Barcelona. The port community comprises a diverse range of companies and organizations, all working together to ensure the smooth functioning of the port and to support the broader needs of the city.

This Port Community is made up of various stakeholders who form a tightly-knit network of companies and organisations, including the port authority, shipping companies, logistics operators, freight forwarders, and customs agents, among others. Together, they form a collaborative network that works towards the efficient and sustainable operation of the port.

The port community of Barcelona also contributes significantly to the city’s economy, providing employment opportunities for thousands of people and generating significant revenue. According to a report by the Barcelona Port Authority, the port community contributes around €2.5 billion annually to the local economy, with the port itself handling over 67 million tons of cargo each year. It is therefore evident that the human capital operating within this community is indispensable towards the continued success of the Catalan capital.

Who’s who in the Group?

The Training and Employment Group (Grupo de Trabajo de Formación y Empleo) of the Port of Barcelona is made up of various organizations and institutions, including:

  • Barcelona Port Authority: The port authority is responsible for managing and promoting the port of Barcelona, and is one of the key members of the Training and Employment Group;
  • Generalitat of Catalonia: The Generalitat is the government of Catalonia, the autonomous region of Spain where Barcelona is located. It plays a key role in promoting economic development and job creation in the region;
  • City Council of Barcelona: The City Council is responsible for the administration of the city of Barcelona, and plays a key role in promoting economic and social development in the city;
  • Industry associations: Various industry associations are also members of the Training and Employment Group, including the Barcelona Port Community, the Catalan Association of Freight Forwarders, and the Catalan Association of Customs Agents;
  • Trade unions: Trade unions also play a role in the Training and Employment Group, representing the interests of workers in the port community and working to promote job creation and professional development;
  • Educational institutions: Finally, educational institutions such as universities and vocational training centers are also members of the group, providing training and educational programmes to support the professional development of individuals in the port community.

Who are the Stakeholders? The players and the roles they play

There are several kinds of companies that exist within the port community of Barcelona, each playing a critical role in its overall functioning. These include shipping lines, freight forwarders, terminal operators, customs agents, and logistics companies:

  • Shipping lines are responsible for transporting goods from one place to another;
  • Freight forwarders handle the transportation of goods from one point to another;
  • Terminal operators provide the infrastructure necessary for the handling of cargo at the port, such as cranes, storage facilities, and other equipment;
  • Customs agents are responsible for ensuring that goods entering or leaving the port are compliant with relevant regulations and requirements;
  • Logistics companies manage the movement of goods from the port to their final destination.

All these companies work together to ensure that the port operates efficiently and effectively, handling a large volume of cargo and facilitating international trade. Through the training initiatives and employment opportunities offered by the Group, these actors can ensure that their employees are continuously nourished and supported in their professional development and have the necessary skills and tools to stay on top of the rapidly-changing trends in the modern industry.

Final thoughts

Overall, the Training and Employment Group of the Port of Barcelona is a key player in promoting job creation and professional development within the port community of Barcelona. By providing access to training and skills development opportunities, the group is helping to ensure that the port community remains competitive and able to meet the demands of the industry, while also promoting social responsibility and sustainable development.

There is no doubt that the port community of Barcelona is a critical component of the city’s economy and society, comprising a diverse range of companies and organizations working together to ensure the efficient functioning of the port and the broader needs of the city. By collaborating closely and leveraging their expertise and resources, the Training and Employment Group is playing a key role in supporting the port’s (and by extension the city’s) growth and development and will continue to do so in the years to come.

More reading:

Escola presents its current and future projects and training to Lluís Salvadó, the President of the Port of Barcelona

As part of his welcome and incorporation into the presidency of the Port of Barcelona, Lluís Salvadó visited the Barcelona headquarters of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport (Escola Europea), a key player within the Port Community, to learn about new training initiatives and future projects.

On the 21st of February 2023, Lluis Salvadó, President of the Port of Barcelona and Chairman of the Governing Board of the Escola Europea, together with Catalina Grimalt Falcó, Deputy Director General for Organisation and Internal Resources of the Port of Barcelona and Member of the Executive Board, both representing the Port Authority of Barcelona, visited the headquarters of the Escola Europea to learn about the new training initiatives organised and promoted by the training centre, as well as the innovation, digitalisation and sustainable development projects of which the Escola is a part.

Welcoming the  visitors were the Eduard Rodés – Director of the Escola Europea, Concha Palacios – the Financial Director and Head of Projects, Marta Miquel – Business Development Manager, Mireia Ferré – Director of the Technical Office of Sustainability of the Port of Barcelona, Mireia Ferre, and, connected virtually from the headquarters of the Escola Europea in Civitavecchia (Italy), Marco Muci – the Country Manager for Italy.

At the meeting, the Escola’s training activities at both local and international levels were presented, which included Forma’t al Port Talent, the technical courses in maritime intermodality MOST – Motorways of the Sea Training, rail freight transport – SURCO, and management of temperature-controlled logistics chains, together with the training work carried out in Italy within the framework of the Formati al Porto programme and the GLIPS (Management of Integrated Logistics and Maritime Processes) training in Civitavecchia.

The training offer presentation was followed by a summary of the annual participation figures for the previous year, in which a record number of participants was broken with more than 5,542 participants. Of those, 2,111 were students from training and technical courses and 3,431 attended workshops and maritime visits in the Port of Barcelona. The participation figures forecast for the year 2023 showed an estimated 6% growth in student participation of logistics courses and workshops is planned.

The projects that have been consolidated by the institution were also presented to the Catalan port’s leadership: the YEP MED projectYouth Employment in Ports of the Mediterranean – with which a training offer on port logistics has been presented; and the TECHLOG projectTechnological Transfer for Logistics Innovation in Mediterranenan area – which foresees the implementation of two ‘Living Labs’ from which the development of innovation actions with simulator technology is foreseen. Both European projects are financed by ENI CBC MED, in which different Mediterranean port communities are participating.

As part of the strategy of consolidation and evolution of the European YEP MED project, the Escola developed the Port Virtual Lab, a virtual simulation laboratory of a port community portvirtuallab.com.

In the photo are from left to right: Director of the Escola Europea, Eduard Rodés, Lluis Salvadó, President of the Port of Barcelona, Financial Director and Head of Projects, Concha Palacios, General Business Director, Marta Miquel, Catalina Grimalt Falcó, Deputy Director General for Organisation and Internal Resources, and Mireia Ferre, Director of the Port of Barcelona’s Technical Office for Sustainability.

In addition, some of the projects that point to the future and are in line with the trends of the Blue Economy, and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were presented to respond to the training and innovation needs of the industry.

Back to Basics: Port Terminals

Normally, it is easy to think about a particular port as one, indivisible entity. However ports themselves have a number of actors that comprise the overall port community. Just like pieces of a puzzle, port terminals are the different parts that make up a port. In this article we take a closer look at port terminals, looking at the kinds of port terminals that exist and at their corresponding characteristics.

What are Port Terminals?

“Ports are harbour areas in which marine terminal facilities are transferring cargo and passengers between ships and land transportation” by Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue and Dr. Theo Notteboom

Essentially, ports are areas where land and sea merge and where cargo ships and vessels dock to load and unload cargo, fuel and passengers. To facilitate this, ports are hosts to terminals. Depending on the size, they can have one terminal or several. These terminals, in turn, are specialised in the handling of the different types of cargo.

Terminals can be divided into three major categories:

  1. General Cargo (unitized cargo)
  2. Bulk Cargo (loose cargo)
  3. Passengers (passengers and vehicles)

Furthermore, within this division of categories of port terminals, more divisions can be identified, each serving a different purpose and classified by the type of traffic or cargo that is processed.

Divided by types of cargo these are:

Diving deeper, we can take a closer look at how these types of terminals operate.  Let’s take a closer look at these terminal types.

  1. Container terminals

Perhaps the most easily recognised terminals in (cargo) ports are ones that can process containers. These terminals are designed to handle the large containers that are used to transport goods across the world. They have cranes and other handling equipment to move containers from ships to trucks or trains for further transportation.

  1. Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) terminals

As its name indicates, these terminals are used for vehicles -to roll on and off- like a cars, trucks, and buses that are driven onto ships for transportation. They have ramps or elevators to load and unload vehicles. A modern Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal is a facility designed to handle the loading and unloading of vehicles from ships quickly, efficiently and safely.

  1. Liquid terminals

When talking about liquid terminals we intend those handling liquids such as petroleum, chemicals and liquefied natural gas. For this, they have pipelines and storage tanks for the transfer of liquids from ships to land-based storage facilities.

  1. Dry bulk terminals

For handling dry cargo such as grain, coal, and minerals exist Dry Bulk Terminals. They have storage silos and conveyor systems to move the cargo from ships to storage or onto trucks and trains. These terminals are designed to ensure the safe and efficient handling of these goods, while minimizing the risk of damage or spoilage.

  1. Breakbulk terminals

These terminals exist for the handling of cargo that is too large or too heavy to be shipped in standard shipping containers. This type of cargo includes heavy machinery, steel, and lumber that is not packaged in containers, oversized equipment, etc. They have cranes and other handling equipment to move the cargo from ships to trucks or trains. Modern breakbulk terminals use technology to streamline the handling of cargo and minimize the risk of damage or loss, while also incorporating environmentally sustainable practices

  1. Passenger terminals

 Designed to handle the boarding and disembarking of passengers on cruise ships and ferries, they tend to  include amenities such as baggage storage, restaurants, and shopping areas for tourists. Modern passenger terminals are designed to provide a comfortable and efficient experience for passengers, while also ensuring the safety and security of people on board and their belongings, while also incorporating environmentally sustainable practices.

Conclusion

To summarise then it can be said that the type of terminal found in a port depends on the types of cargo and vessels that frequent the port. Some terminals specialize in handling specific goods, such as containers or liquids, while others are equipped to handle dangerous goods. Each terminal has its own unique features and facilities to handle specific types of cargo efficiently and safely. What determines the number of terminals in a port is the size of the traffic that frequents it – busier ports with better connections tend to be hosts to more terminals than smaller enclaves. Nevertheless all of them depend on the efficient management of said terminals and their successful operation is connected to the successful network within the existing port community.

If you are interested to know more, or if you’d like to witness port operations to a vessel or to goods, get in touch and check out our upcoming annual summer school on port operations.

Sources:

Participants of the inaugural edition of the SURCO Madrid course

The Escola’s takes its signature railway training to Madrid

Promoting rail transport in the intermodal chain, the Escola Europea in collaboration with Puertos del Estado finalised the SURCO Operations II training in Madrid in rail operations.

This January 2023, the first edition of the SURCO – Simple Use of Railway Connections- training took place in Madrid, a training in which different professionals from the public administration and private companies were able to discover the management processes that allow the use of rail transport as a sustainable option in the intermodal chain in depth, in addition to expanding their knowledge of rail infrastructures and intermodal equipment.

For the participants, this was an opportunity to learn about key aspects of the design and management of intermodal chains that integrate the use of railways. Óscar Ródenas, from P&O Ferrymasters, was among the attendees. Reflecting on the course, he highlighted: “Magnificent teaching staff, I have learned a lot in some aspects in which I did not have such extensive and detailed knowledge as they have given me (railway costs, ferro-port terminals). The exchange of views, opinions and knowledge was also very interesting”.

This training, organised and created by the Escola Europea, with the collaboration of Puertos del Estado, Railgroup’s In-Move, the Port of Barcelona, Renfe, ADIF, Viia, Puerto Seco de Madrid, Puerto Seco de Coslada, SLISA and Suardiaz Rail, among other companies in the railway sector, aimed to offer professionals from companies and administrations in the sector a practical and real vision of railway intermodality operations.

After completing its first edition in Madrid, this course, like all editions of SURCO, fulfils the purposes set by the European Union to increase rail traffic and rail motorways in general, as an incentive to promote sustainable mobility in the region, as well as serves as a complement to the plans of the Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda to try to boost rail freight traffic in Spain by making use of the so-called ‘eco-incentives’.

As part of the SURCO series, this training aimed to deepen the understanding of intermodal rail operations between ports and national and international rail inland terminals, focusing on the characteristics and advantages of this type of transport.

This was achieved through theoretical classes given at the Puertos del Estado headquarters, as well as through the resolution of a case study based on real operational scenarios. In addition, participants had the opportunity to learn about intermodal operations and infrastructures through visits to different terminals such as: the intermodal terminal in Coslada and the terminal in Azuqueca de Henares, as well as a visit to the freight and passenger CGO (operations management centre) in Atocha.

Participants of the inaugural SURCO Madrid course during a terminal visit

Theoretical classes focused on the management of railway systems, the European Transeuropean Transport Network, the impact of rail transport on the environment, national and international rail transport and procurement, and the analysis of the costs of rail transport chains.

It is in this context that knowledge of the different aspects surrounding rail freight transport is not only beneficial for professionals but also essential for companies involved in freight transport. This is where the offer of local and international courses and training for professionals, such as SURCO Madrid, takes on special importance.

For more information about the course, you can head to the course page: SURCO Madrid 2023 – Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport.

Smart logistics concept

Back to basics: What is a Smart Port?

This year at the Escola we thought that we would go back to some basic (but modern) concepts connected to intermodal transport. With the series that we are calling #BackToBasics, we will begin explaining some concepts that are central to the transport sector today, but which can be confusing to some. We will kick-start our series with the concept of a “Smart Port.”

Daily Logistik: Asian Development Bank describes a smart port as a port that ensures “no waste of space, time, money and natural resources.”

What is a Smart Port?

 The inclusion of the word “smart” in the name implies the capabilities of the port and the integrated workflow (Marine Insight).  So what is it exactly? A smart port is a modern port that uses advanced technology and digital systems to improve the efficiency, sustainability, and competitiveness of its operations. Smart ports often use digital tools such as sensors, data analytics, augmented reality, big data, digital twins and automation to optimize the movement of cargo, reduce waste and emissions, and provide better services to stakeholders (which include shipping companies, customs authorities, and local communities). Smart ports may also include features such as renewable energy sources, electric charging stations (Onshore Power Supply), and smart infrastructure for logistics and transportation

“The goal of a smart port is to enable a more efficient, sustainable, and profitable port ecosystem that can support economic growth and regional development.”

What are Smart Port’s Digital Tools ?

Smart ports are classified as “smart” because they use a variety of digital tools to optimise their operations. These include:

  1. Sensors: Smart ports often use sensors to monitor various aspects of their operations, such as cargo movement, traffic flow, environmental conditions, and security. These sensors can provide real-time data that can be used to optimize operations and improve decision-making.
  2. Data analytics: Smart ports use data analytics to process and analyse the data collected from sensors and other sources, such as shipping manifests and customs declarations. This data can be used to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for improvement.
  3. Automation: Smart ports may use automation technologies such as robots, drones, and self-driving vehicles to improve the efficiency and accuracy of certain tasks, such as cargo handling and inspection.
  4. Digital platforms: Smart ports may use digital platforms, such as cloud computing, blockchain, digital twins and internet of things (IoT) technologies, to connect various stakeholders and enable more efficient and transparent communication and collaboration.
  5. Clean technologies: Smart ports can incentivize the use of cleaner technologies, such as electric vehicles and renewable energy sources, to reduce the environmental impact of port operations.
  6. Energy efficiency measures: Smart ports can implement energy efficiency measures, such as LED lighting and energy-efficient systems, to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Why? For cleaner, greener ports

The use of digital tools helps smart ports reduce costs, improve service quality, and increase agility and responsiveness to market demands. There is no doubt about it. However, another characteristic of a smart port is its emphasis on sustainable operations and the creation of a greener port.

Below you can find some elements that help characterise a smart port that as “green”:

  1. Promoting recycling and waste reduction: Smart ports can implement recycling programs and encourage the use of reusable containers and packaging materials to reduce waste and improve resource efficiency.
  2. The use of renewable energy: Smart ports can use a variety of renewable energy sources to power their operations, including
    1. Solar power: Smart ports can install solar panels on rooftops, car parks, and other suitable areas to generate electricity from the sun.
    2. Wind power: Smart ports can install wind turbines on land or offshore to generate electricity from wind.
    3. Hydroelectric power: Smart ports located near rivers or oceans can use the flow of water to generate electricity through hydroelectric power plants.
    4. Geothermal power: Smart ports can use geothermal energy, which is generated from the Earth’s internal heat, to generate electricity and heat buildings.
    5. Biomass: Smart ports can use biomass, such as wood chips or agricultural waste, to generate electricity through combustion or anaerobic digestion.
  3. The use of electric vehicles: Many ports have begun to use electric vehicles, cranes and container stackers within their terminals to minimise emissions and ensure cleaner air around the port community area. By providing multiple charging points, smart ports make it easier for the port community companies to operate these clean energy vehicles.

Overall, reducing waste and emissions is an important aspect of sustainable port operations and helps smart ports contribute to global efforts to combat climate change and protect the environment.

Sources:

“Partnership is the new leadership”

Written by Lidia Slawinska

Written by Lidia Slawinska, Digital Communication Manager – Escola Europea Intermodal Transport

Recently, while I took a walk to wind down from a long workday, I came upon an episode of a podcast “The Bid”. Hosted by Mark Wiedman, this particular episode invited the CEO of the Volvo group Martin Lundstedt to talk about the future of transportation. As the conversation went on, a catchphrase voiced by Mr Lundstedt stuck out to me: “Partnership is the new leadership”. It sounded simple to me, and yet it resonated with a powerful message. The conversation focused on fully electric heavy-duty trucks of the Volvo group, but the sentiment can be extended to the larger transport sector when thinking about its future. And there is very little doubt that its future is green.

We need to make sure that we are working together to lower emissions, achieve better designs and ensure seamless transitions. This is what is expected of us to protect our beautiful green planet. This is what was in the mind of Martin Lundstedt in his conversation with Mark Wiedman, and what should be on all of our minds.

Partnering towards lower emissions

One of the main goals today of our industry is to combat greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 is an extremely ambitious goal, and without collaboration perhaps it is impossible. Companies need to set aside their competitive differences and work together to come up with common standards and solutions that target traditional polluters and uplift renewable and clean alternatives.

A great example of collaboration in this field is the Blue Visby solution. The main idea behind this innovation is the eradication of an old principle of “Sail Fast, then Wait.” Through a multilateral platform, companies can use a “queuing system” for ships with a common port of destination. By sailing slower, vessels emit less polluters into the atmosphere and have a fast and efficient turn-around time whilst in-port (as the algorithm sets the optimal arrival time). For companies that collaborate and ascribe to this solution, competitiveness is not at the forefront – rather it is environmental sustainability (as well as efficient supply chain management).

Partnering towards better vessels

Another great field of opportunity for partnerships is vessel design. There is a huge demand for greener next generation vessels that integrate both smart technologies and rely on green and renewable fuels.

The processes to create and troubleshoot such designs are long, complicated and time consuming. Working together with other companies involved in similar initiatives not only brings together more minds to create the most efficient designs possible, but also speeds up the processes. Naval engineers, ship owners, classification societies and other actors need to be able to collaborate effectively and communicate easily.

Using new technologies, 3D models and online simulators, data can be shared across the band of shareholders. By using protected web-based information sharing platforms, agents can rest assured that their intellectual property rights are not infringed upon, whilst nourishing a pool of new ideas. A great example of this is the virtual reality tool used by Knud E. Hausen – Ship Space – which allows up to 64 users to work on a similar design using VR instead of relying on the traditional CAD software.

These solutions don’t need to be limited to vessel design. Different port authorities can work together to compare and integrate different technological solutions in different environments, therewith building on new ideas and sharing the innovative alternatives – making transport journeys consistent and easy for shippers calling at different ports.

Partnering towards seamless transitions

No innovation will be effective if the industry does not accept it. Agents across the board need to embrace innovative solutions and let the traditional processes gradually fade away. The transition towards new technologies and new fuels needs to be seamless and, above all else, secure. Any new modifications to a vessel (new batteries, carbon capture, etc.) can affect its stability profile, and therefore constant monitoring is needed to ensure the success of the change.

Innovative partnerships between vessel operators and onshore agents make this possible through the use of digital platforms. The Cloud can provide vast amounts of storage and up-to-date data to actors at sea and on land, ensuring that variables are regularly updated.

“Given the speed and breadth of the technology transition, this more proactive and collaborative approach is essential to maintain the trust of a key partner: seafarers” (Splash 247).

An example of such a partnership can be found in the Port of Barcelona, where 5G technology and a comprehensive 5G network will soon be tested for the first time in Spain. The platform will make it possible for agents within the port community and operators on land and at sea to communicate with each other and exchange information quickly and securely.

Final thoughts

We are taught as children that we need to share. We are told that teamwork is the path forward. At school we are frequently placed in small groups to work on presentations across all subject areas – underscoring the value that educators put on teamwork in a formative environment

As adults, we need to embrace that mindset as well. The climate emergency that we are facing today is very real – and to face it we need to reinforce whatever partnerships exist and create others, putting aside our competitive factors. We need to share ideas and solutions and work together to put them into action. We need to be partners with our direct and indirect competitors to make sure that our industry moves forward. With new technologies and ever-expanding research base, we have everything at our disposal to lead us through partnerships, and therewith help our companies, industries and even our planet thrive.

 Sources:

·     https://splash247.com/a-digital-framework-to-collaborate-on-decarbonisation/

·     https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-bid/id1441032838?i=1000585054887

·     https://www.knudehansen.com/news/ship-design-review-collaboration-virtual-reality-tools/

·     https://piernext.portdebarcelona.cat/en/technology/this-is-how-the-port-of-barcelona-will-deploy-the-future-5g-network/

The War for Talent

When I was younger, the search for employees was very different. Companies created preferred “job profiles,” which would remain unchanged for large periods of time. People would send in their job profiles and hope that they would be accepted for the advertised posts. Those with a university degree (any degree – as frequently the specialisation didn’t necessarily need to be directly linked to the job) were always held in higher esteem. The burden to fill the positions was carried by the unemployed.

We live in a different world now. Workers’ expectations for their professional careers and who they work for have changed. The pandemic has hastened a trend that was already gaining speed in the late ‘10s – of preferred workplace environments, possibilities for employee development and growth, and a work-life balance. On top of that, the rapidly changing nature of work fuelled by technological innovations and environmental ambitions has made job posts flexible, if not obsolete, flexible. This is true when we look at any industry, but when we look at the transport and logistics sector in particular.

The fight for talent

Attracting, identifying, and retaining talent is becoming one of the strategic issues for organisations in the post-Covid world. This is one of the exciting topics currently surrounding Port Logistics Communities (PLCs). Many of the members of these communities depend on each other, and thus the search for solutions and the effectiveness of any joint actions in this field is achieved through common work between different operators. Such inter-cooperation creates a working chain in which the weakest link represents the strength of the entire system. In practice this means that every person should do things to the best of their abilities to ensure overall success.

Until recently, a significant part of operator selection has been done traditionally through general testing and assessment of services. This approach is not ideal to effectively assess increasingly unpredictable or less repetitive operations, which require very short preparation and execution times, and where the margin for failure is small. Moreover, in today’s ever-connected world, it is necessary to rely on the quality of services provided by other participants in the operational chain, which makes individual evaluations complex. Increasingly, relationships must be based on a thorough knowledge of the way our suppliers operate, who then become collaborators and managers of different parts of the operations. Therefore, all of us must be concerned about the entire human element that makes up this team.

The quality of the Port Logistics Community is fundamental for its proper development.

The Port of Barcelona and the Training and Employment Group: a three-sided coin

The Training and Employment group of the Port of Barcelona’s Governing Council tries to help companies in the sector find and maintain the resources they need to adequately fill current and future vacancies. The companies in the port logistics sector are facing a new reality on a day-to-day basis: innovation has become the new fuel for companies, both due to the number of start-ups that pop up and because of the need for large companies to continuously reinvent themselves. This means that what until now was seen as a two-sided coin represented by training on one side and employment on the other, has now morphed into something new; with an third characteristic: innovation. This poses new educational challenges and calls for new training needs – for teachers and students – and new jobs.

To help respond to this situation, a programme made up of several sub-programmes was set up in Barcelona. Incorporating a 360º programme, the idea was to cover all levels of the ecosystem. This system has been called “Vine al Port” in Catalan (or “Come to the Port” in English). It encapsulates various sub-programmes that are aimed at specific audiences: “Descubreix el Port” (Discover the Port), “Aprenem Junts” (Learning together), “Format al Port” (Training in the Port), “Port Talent” (Port Talent) and “Benvingut al Port” (Welcome to the Port).

The goal of this innovative system is to help the Barcelona port community come out strong in the war for Talent by tackling the issues at the fore – identifying what are the training needs that the companies lack, creating training programmes that fill the educational gaps that may exist, helping young students understand the professions of the port community (and what the jobs themselves look like through experiential courses and internships), and then finally filling any existing (or new) positions with the best prepared new workers.

Conclusion

The Escola and the Port of Barcelona have now embarked on this journey to continuously improve the Port Logitics Community. The port must reflect and represent the entire port-logistics community, publicising how its companies treat their staff and how they embody their fundamental values and responsibilities. Doing so will facilitate the community’s public image and therewith help with the war for Talent.

Companies must focus on tangible benefits in the form of good remuneration, mutual health insurance, pension funds, training, promotion, location, etc. It is also important to establish an emotional connection based on initiatives linked to environmental issues, social work or volunteering. In this respect, the PLC can carry out actions that complement what individual companies do with activities such as the food bank or the “Solidarity Container”.

 And finally, a sense of belonging must be fostered so that the people who work in the PLC feel that they are working on a common project with a scope that goes beyond what each one of them could achieve. It is important that this is known, understood and shared. The Port Community should be built together, with the collaboration of all partners involved.

In the new year we will be focusing more on our involvement in this Talent War. Keep an eye out for more news from us which will explain, with great detail, what “Coming to the Port” means and how you, or your colleagues or friends, can get involved to help our Barcelona port thrive.

I wish all of you a fantastic holiday season! 2022 has been, for lack of a more elaborate word, fascinating! The Escola has grown – through our port community, our projects and our initiatives. I am very exited to continue sharing with you our work in the new year.

Bon Nadal I Pròsper Any Nou

 

Written by Eduard Rodés, Director of the Escola EuropeaEduard Rodés

President of the Training and Employment Working Group
Of the Governing Council of the Port Community of Barcelona
Director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport
Barcelona 12 December 2022

The Escola and In-Move collaborate to promote railways

On the 13th of this month, the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, a European reference centre for training in logistics and intermodal transport, and Railgrup’s In-Move have signed a collaboration agreement in Barcelona to promote ther use of railway in the intermodal transport chain. 

With this agreement, both entities have committed to raise awareness among transport users and logistic operators to adhere to the European Union’s committment to increase the visibility and practicality of rail transport within the Economic area.

Both In-Move multimodal logistics cluster initiative and the Escola Europea have agreed to offer courses in Spain, which will be aimed at professionals responsible for managing logistics chains in which intermodal transport can be a profitable alternative in terms of service, cost or time. Through this agreement, both companies will form a comprehensive training proposal in intermodal maritime-rail freight transport.

The courses will provide participants with the knowledge and tools to analyse the different elements that are necessary to contract a traint in a transport operation, and understand all of the associated costs, as well as to learn about the infrastructures and intermodal equipment that enable rail transport to be used as part of the multimodal transport chain.

The experiential learning methodology provides a practical point of view, combining theoretical classes and practical visits to transport facilities, introducing the concept of ‘co-modality’ as a tool for improving transport management. In this experience, participants will have access to the railway-port infrastructures, where they will see the logistics and transport operations, their management and their development first-hand, allowing students to experience these operations in person.

Thanks to the agreement between In-Move and the Escola Europea, professionals seeking to specialise in the design of intermodal transport logistics chains will be able to access a unique training offer, designed by both entities and their collaborators –  expert professionals with extensive experience in the rail and maritime freight sectors.

With this commitment, the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transporte strengthens the current offer of its courses and training in rail freight transport which comprise of SURCO Operations I and SURCO Operations II.