Tag Archive for: Port de Barcelona
On the 15th anniversary of the Escola Europea…
-“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
“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.
On the 15th anniversary of the Escola Europea
I took up the post of the president of the Port of Barcelona a few months ago, and in this time I have been experiencing a multifaceted reality of the port – or ports, because there are more than one – which includes its different activities, projects and the people that comprise its community.
In the planning of the duties that have been entrusted to me when I was appointed, I always keep the mission of the institution that I represent in mind. According to the recently approved 4th Strategic Plan, the port was recognised as the body responsible for guaranteeing services that facilitate the competitiveness of its customers, and that create value for society: through infrastructures and services offered to the society to which it is indebted.
For the first time the 4th Strategic Plan was drafted with the collaboration of the Port-Logistics Community. Five work groups were created based on the main areas of activity and traffic of the port, fostering a participatory and integrative model that included not only the port community but the end customers as well, alongside all public and private agents involved and interested in the future of the port.
This means that an important part of the outcome of the port’s strategic approach depends on the people who work in the port community, and therefore its limit is the capacity and success of those who make up its human capital. More than 200 representatives of the stakeholders of the port logistics community wished to be involved in the drafting of the plan.
The Fourth Strategic Plan opts for a three-dimensional Strategic Objective, which reflect the three pillars of sustainability -the first attribute of the logistics hub of Barcelona – economic, environmental and social. The three parts are considered inseparable, therefore achieving one of the parts without the other two cannot be considered a success. All three parts must be achieved simultaneously. The port cannot grow economically without reducing the environmental footprint of its activities or without consolidating quality employment.
The Port’s Strategic Objective is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs focus on the same three components of sustainable development that underscore this strategic plan and the action plan for the next five years.
For social sustainability the recovery and slight increase in pre-COVID-19 employment is vital despite the intense processes of digitalisation and teleworking. Quality employment on port land is the main benefit that the Port brings to the community that hosts it and compensates for its negative externalities and the physical and mental barriers involved in the fact that it lies in a privileged location for citizens.
Collaboration among members of the port-logistics community becomes a must. This includes a considerable spirit of collaboration with all public and private entities with which the port is obliged to interact, especially with the two cities on whose land it lies, Barcelona and El Prat de Llobregat. It is vital to deepen the cooperation with the organisations lying near the port and especially with the Consortium of the Free Zone (Zona Franca), Mercabarna and the Airport of Barcelona. We need to make the most of the synergies of these three entities to generate wealth and employment. Collaboration with other ports, both nearby (Tarragona first and foremost) and far away, and with logistics operators located outside the port precinct, comprise one of the main added values of Barcelona with respect to other port competences. The ports also mustn’t forget the training centres and research bodies.
The port must put people at the forefront, setting social cohesion as an essential objective of its strategy by generating high-quality diversified employment. It must orient its strategy towards the interests of two main groups: port workers and the citizens of the two host cities, Barcelona and El Prat del Llobregat. It can do so through fostering training, employment, entrepreneurship and talent attraction; promoting equal opportunities; integrating the port into the urban and metropolitan environment; and finally, ensuring the health, safety and security of people and facilities.
Promoting the employability of people in our immediate surroundings will facilitate the creation of new companies through entrepreneurship and the development of an innovation ecosystem in the logistics and transport field to help attract talent and thus offset automation and digitalisation processes that involve a net destruction of jobs.
The promotion of the Blue Economy will create new jobs and this calls for an integrated port-logistics training centre as part of the knowledge, innovation and training hub at the port of Barcelona. This will serve to promote port culture and port identity and foster knowledge of the port among the populace.
Gender equality and multiculturalism in the port environment are factors that contribute decisively to turning organisations into innovators and leaders in our hinterland: the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, Catalonia, Aragon and the Eastern Pyrenees. This also applies to our sea hinterland: Italy, Morocco, Algeria, Libya. Tunis, Greece, Turkey and Egypt.
The Escola must play a leading role in the development of this strategy. From its knowledge of these areas and its proven effectiveness in international projects where knowledge – Sapientia – plays a fundamental role.
May this Sapientia illuminate the path we must travel together.