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.