Tag Archive for: Port of Barcelona

The Escola Europea is committed to sustainability and digitisation on its 15th anniversary

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

On 26th May, the Executive and Steering Committees of the Escola Europea met in Barcelona under the presidency of Damià Calvet. After two years of online meetings, this year 2022 the meeting was held in hybrid format on the premises of the Port Authority of Barcelona.

The meeting was attended by Silvio Ferrando representing the ports of Genoa; Luca Lupi on behalf the ports of Rome; Mario Massarotti as a representative of Grimaldi Group; Matteo Catani and Antonio Pedevila in the name of GNV; Catalina Grimalt for the Port of Barcelona and Eduard Rodés and Concha Palacios for the Escola Europea.

In the balance of activities for the financial year 2021, the recovery of face-to-face activities and the favorable evolution of the year 2022 stood out, in which the number of students and courses has grown more than in 2019. The activities related to international projects have also grown and the presence of the Escola Europea in the Mediterranean countries has been consolidated.

 

It is worth highlighting the commitment to the portvirtuallab.com platform, which has meant a technological leap in the development of training models for the digital transition, based on virtual simulators. This places the Escola as a benchmark for innovation in the field of digitalisation in the logistics-port sector.

A second innovative element has been the creation of a sustainability office specialized in the port logistics sector.  Managed by specialists in sustainability management, its objective is to provide support to companies that need to draw up their sustainability reports.

Training, digitalisation and sustainability make up the basic axes of development of the Escola Europea, which this year reaches its 15th anniversary. With a huge activity in Spain and Italy the schools presence has increased in importance across the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.

 

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.

Forma't al Port Annual Report

Forma’t al Port closes 2020 with a positive outlook for 2021

2020 has been a tricky year for all sectors of society – something felt quite palpably by training centres. Many schools and universities have had to adapt their training methodologies to protect the student and teaching bodies from the deadly virus that has swept through our society. The Escola has adapted its programmes as well, introducing hybrid formats of some of the courses, including for its unique Forma’t al Port programme. Although the online part of the newly re-designed courses sacrificed a little of the Escola’s unique experiential teaching approach – which aims to bring the students closer to the places where the operations physically take place – the hybridisation of it (which entailed offering safely distanced in-person visits of the port facilities) ensured that the students could get a 360° view of port operations.

The Escola’s Forma’t Al Port programme, launched in 2016 – aims to give students of the final years of secondary education in the Catalan region of Spain first-hand knowledge of the Port of Barcelona, its infrastructures, logistical equipment and operations, and to showcase the means of transport they operate. Simultaneously it aims to give companies in the sector a space to introduce the characteristics of their activities and to introduce professional profiles they need in order to develop properly. By working with local companies and training institutions, it also works towards the creation of a framework for dialogue and idea exchanges between the two – therewith ensuring innovation and development in the sector, as well as the alignment between the training needs of companies and the curricula offered by the centres themselves. Finally, the Escola works with the partners of the project to try to encourage the companies to hire students in dual-training programmes, therewith letting them to put a foot through the door of the professional and industry world.

Last year, largely because of the pandemic that led to the postponement of the 2nd part of the Forma’t al Port training, the programme welcomed 454 students from 16 public and private training centres (institutes and universities) in Barcelona, including el Prat de Llobregat, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Mataró, Santa Perpètua de la Mogoda, Sant Adrià del Besòs and La Sènia. All of these students completed the Forma’t al Port – Introduction course, and will wait until the public health situation calms down before continuing on to complete the the Forma’t al Port – Management courses – which are predominanty presential and thus could not be carried out this past year. With a large number of centres determined to continue the collaboration with the Escola, 2021 looks brighter for the programme and will surely bring many more new minds to the logistics and port sector.

The official Annual Report of the project is now available online. You can download the document here or head to the Forma’t al Port website. For more information you can contact: formatalport@escolaeuropea.eu.

Smart Ports: Piers of the Future

Smart Ports: Piers of the Future, a window to the world

Logo - Smart Ports

Showing the world the advances in the digitalisation and sustainability of ports is necessary to promote the development and decarbonisation of maritime-port activities. Smart City Expo World Congress, an international event focused on urban evolution and innovation, has become the ideal setting in which to do this.

Therefore, in the ninth edition held in November 2019, the Port of Barcelona organised an exhibition space called Smart Ports: Piers of the Future to which it invited the most advanced ports in the world in this field. These ports were: Antwerp, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Montreal and Rotterdam.

Smart Ports - Piers of the Future 2019

Participants at the Smart Ports: Piers of the Future event at the 2019 Smart City World Congress Expo

A new edition of Smart Ports: Piers of the Future’ is being held again this year and, as a novelty, the Port of Busan —the largest on the Korean peninsula— will also be present.

This time, due to the current pandemic, ‘Smart City Expo World Congress’ will be held in a virtual format called Smart City Live 2020. Similarly, ‘Smart Ports: Piers of the Future’ has developed its own 100% online platform where you can stream the event. The event will take place on November 17 and 18 under the motto ‘Thinking Ahead, Globally’.

The Smart Ports: Piers of the Future agenda includes topics such as: Digital Playbook, Innovative Technologies, Cybersecurity, Energy Transition, Smart Piers Cities and Blockchain, among others. In addition, as a partner of Smart City Live 2020, Smart Ports is collaborating on a panel to discuss ‘smart ports’ – ‘smart cities’. Jordi Torrent (Strategy Director of the Port of Barcelona), Jens Meier (CEO of the Port of Hamburg) and Gene Seroka (CEO of the Port of Los Angeles) will take part in this debate.

Smart Ports 2020 is emerging as the ideal opportunity for the exchange of ideas, projects and initiatives related to the sector, and will act as a global partner of Smart City Expo World Congress. It is an event of global relevance that seeks to give visibility to proposals, business models and innovation, focused on ports and their relationship with the world. This event will serve to show the importance of having a smart and digitalised port, committed to the environment but, above all, connected with the inhabitants of their cities and the planet.

Port Summit Trade Mission - Colombia 2020

Port Summit Trade Mission – Colombia 2020

The Port of Barcelona will participate in its first ever hybrid Trade Mission between the 4th and 5th of November. The event will have representatives from Colombia as the main protagonists.

This hybrid event will see leaders from the Port of Barcelona and Colombia’s port logistics sector share their experiences through lectures, technical panels and bilateral meetings. It will be an excellent opportunity to establish commercial relations with counterparts from the Latin American country. It will also be the Port’s first event that will combine presencial and online events, allowing for a larger participation. It will be held 4 and 5 November with the logistic and port agents of Colombia and Spain, with the goal of improving and increasing trade relations and identifying new opportunities to negotiate and strengthen strategic alliances in the business and institutional environment.

The event will be open to members of the public interested in learning about the growing relationship between the two countries. To virtually attend the Trade Mission, you can register online to secure your place.

The Port of Barcelona is one of the Escola’s founding partners, and it is also its home base. Eduard Rodés, the director of the Escola, frequently participates in the port’s Trade Missions to help promote intermodal training in all corners of the world.

Barcelona Remains Europe’s Fastest Growing Port

The Port of Barcelona achieved record results in 2018 across all main traffic indicators, solidifying its position as a key facilitator of export activity.

During the financial year 2018, Barcelona handled 67.7 million tonnes of cargo, representing a 10% increase on the port’s total volume for 2017.

According to a statement, the record-breaking volumes were largely driven by a 15% year-on-year increase in container traffic, Barcelona moving 3.4 million TEU during 2018.

Read a Port Technology technical paper by Olaf Merk, International Transport Forum, to understand demand-driven port development.

This rise in container volume underlines Barcelona’s status as the fastest growing port in Europe, as it comes on top of a 32.5% increase already achieved during 2017.

The results also confirm an increase in intermodality, with the significant growth marked in rail transport helping to boost sustainability of the logistics chains passing through the Port of Barcelona.

China has consolidated its role as Barcelona’s main trading partner, with 25% of the containers passing through the port either beginning or ending their journey in the Far East.

“Motorways of the Sea”, regular lines connecting Barcelona with various destinations in Italy and North Africa, progressed in 2018 as well, diverting approximately 150,000 trucks from the road to the “maritime mode”, a more sustainable option.

In economic terms, the port achieved a net turnover of nearly US$198 million, up 4% from the previous year.

Grimaldi begins the remodeling of the ferries that operate between Barcelona and Civitavecchia

Grimaldi has started the process of lengthening and remodelling the Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcelona ferries, which usually cover the route between Barcelona and Civitavecchia, in Italy.

The changes will ensure that the vessels will have a greater capacity for freight and passengers, and they will incorporate new improvements to reduce their emissions and eliminate them completely during the stay in the Catalan port.

At the Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo, new gas cleaning systems will be installed to reduce the emissions of their engines during navigation. They will also have a new lithium battery system to store the electricity produced during navigation and supply it to the ship when it is moored in the port, replacing the auxiliary generators.

The Consortium of the Zona Franca launches its collaboration with the Escola in Forma’t al Port

On the 26th of November, Pere Navarro, the State Representative of the Consortium of the Zona Franca (Free Trade Zone); Eduard Rodés, the Director of the Escola Europea and Joaquim Cabané, the President of the Work Group of Training and Employment of the Executive Committee for the Promotion of the Port of Barcelona, signed a collaboration agreement in which the Consortium became incorporated as a sponsor of the Forma’t al Port programme.

The programme, promoted by the Port of Barcelona and sponsored by the Barcelona Provincial Council, the City Hall of Barcelona, the Escola Europea, associations and organisations from the sector, has recently completed the first year of its second triennium (2017-2020).

The meeting also brought together Blanca Sorigué, the general director, Victor Francos, the Director of the Cabinet of the Special Delegate of the State and Marta Miquel, Chief Business Officer of the Escola Europea and Programme Manager of Forma’t al Port.

Forma’t al Port is the programme which helps the port community open its doors to students of Transport and Logistics, and International Commerce. In 2018 it has seen an exceptionally high participation rate: 415 young students could discover the Port of Barcelona and its business community.

The courses promote the incorporation of students in dual training schemes offered by companies in the sector, with the objective of helping create a logistic community that is able and well prepared to handle the strategic challenges of the Catalan region. The Consotrium of the Free Trade Zone will actively participate in the Training and Occupation working group of the Governing Council for the Promotion of the Port Community of Barcelona, contributing in particular to discussions on the professions of the sector.

Forma’t al Port has completed the month of November with two Management courses with Genoa as their destination. It will return in January with Introduction courses scheduled already for students coming from Catalan secondary schools.

Thanks to the good results achieved this year, the programme continues wiht the objective of helping position Barcelona and Catalonia in the front lines of logistic activities in Europe and in the World.

For more information you can visit the Programmes website www.escolaeuropea.eu/format or write to info@escolaeuropea.eu

Artificial intelligence: Ports are beginning to take up positions

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an affordable technology, although it is only slowly being introduced into the business sector. Thus far, it has primarily been used to improve sales prediction techniques, but its potential applications are infinite and include lowering maintenance costs, improving product quality, planning manufacturing and increasing service level. In the sphere of transport, AI opens up a host of possibilities. Will the ports take advantage of them?

Today, the ports of Hamburg, Rotterdam and Singapore have already started to develop AI tools to improve predictions of maritime and land transport operations. Specifically, Hamburg has created a decision-making support system based on a predictive model of the behaviour of land transport. The model takes historical data, and using deep learning techniques and neural networks, it offers detailed predictions of the times when lorries should reach terminals. Based on this, the system notifies the lorry drivers of the terminal entrance times, and it gives the terminals a dynamic forecast of the workload they will have according to the changes in the surrounding conditions (road and access route saturation, real ship arrival time, degree of terminal saturation, etc.).

HOW DOES DEEP LEARNING WORK?

Deep learning and neural networks are two of the machine-learning methods which have come to the fore the most in recent years. They are inspired by the way neural networks work in the brain. They transform the entry values, layer by layer, until the value of the variables that they are trying to predict is found. Even though the results of neural networks are quite satisfactory, they need vast amounts of data to learn, and learning times are long (days or even weeks). Natural language processing, image pattern recognition and voice processing are the main success stories of deep learning. Thus, the evolution of data collection and management has to include the following levels: recording, analysing, simulating, predicting and finally recommending. Based on that, new-generation ports are expected to apply predictive and prescriptive analysis techniques as tools to support decision-making when planning the transport of the actors in the port-logistics chain. And this does not only include lorries, since the same transport logistics that it applied on motorways can also be applied to any means of transport (railway, maritime or river).

New-generation ports are expected to apply predictive and prescriptive analysis techniques as tools to support decision-making when planning the transport of the actors in the port-logistics chain.
The digital transformation in the port and the logistics chain entails huge amounts of data, many of them in real time. The competitiveness of future ports will largely depend on their ability to make use of this information. With AI tools that enable them to take advantage of the potentiality of this vast trove of data, the decisions taken by the managers will be higher quality, shared and generated more quickly, so they will likely optimise the time, cost and reliability of the operations in port-logistics environments. In a complementary fashion, all of this will end up leading to more flexible, real-time operations management. AI has reached the world of transport, and it is here to stay. The ports which realised its benefits and potentiality to change the sector first will unquestionably see operational efficiency gains compared to their competitors. Ports that already have advanced systems that allow them to gather a significant amount of data (Port Community Systems, Port Management Systems and Terminal Operating Systems, among other systems) will be the best poised to successfully incorporate the tools offered by artificial intelligence.

Ports that already have advanced systems that allow them to gather a significant amount of data will be the best poised to successfully incorporate the tools offered by artificial intelligence

THE ORIGINS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Even though it seems like a recent concept, the origins of artificial intelligence date back to the Greeks. Aristotle (384-322 BC) was the first to determine a set of rules that partly describes the way the mind works to reach rational conclusions, and Ctesibius of Alexandria (285-222 BC) built the first self-controlled machine, a water-flow regulator (rational, but without the ability to reason). John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky and Claude Shannon coined the term artificial intelligence at the Dartmouth Workshop (USA) in 1956 to refer to the “science and inventiveness of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent calculation programmes”. Where these three scientists missed the mark was in their prediction of when the first smart machines would arrive. They trusted that by the 1970s we would be surrounded by artificial intelligence. However, the majority of tech companies did not decide to make significant investments in this field until the 1990s and 2000s, in a bid to improve the processing and analytical capacity of the vast amounts of data which were being generated in the new digital world. In fact, AI was definitively enshrined in 1997, when IBM demonstrated that an IT system was capable of beating a human at chess. And it wasn’t just any human; it was the world champion, Garry Kasparov. The supercomputer was called Deep Blue, and it marked the turning point when industrial technology and society at large became aware of the real importance and possibilities of artificial intelligence.

Source: PierNext 

Mercè Conesa

Generating value for society

I would like to take this first opportunity offered to me as the President of the Escola Europea to address all of the alumni and readers of the ODISEO newsletter.

I took up the post of President of the Port of Barcelona a few weeks ago, and in this time I have been experiencing this multifaceted reality of the Port – or ports, because there are more than one – its different activities and projects and the people that comprise its community.

From strategy to infrastructures

In the development of the duties that have been entrusted to me, I keep in mind the mission of the institution that I represent: the Port itself. In its most traditional version, it is the body responsible for the development, construction and management of new infrastructures. It is also responsible for guaranteeing services that facilitate the competitiveness of its customers, and for creating value for society: infrastructures and services of the society to which we are indebted.

The final goal is clear and we have many ways to work towards its achievement. The strategic axes that will guide our development in the coming years are sustainability and innovation.

At the same time, the Port needs to strengthen connectivity with its terrestrial and maritime hinterland in order to increase the agility of the logistics chains that pass through the port area.

On the terrestrial side it is necessary to finish road and rail infrastructures that grant access to the port, to increase its current capacity and improve connections, both with the rest of the peninsula and with France and the rest of Europe.

In the maritime dimension of the hinterland, the Motorways of the Sea must play a fundamental role. Our connections with Italy and with the Maghreb have to be developed to allow for a greater agility of the passage of goods and improved door-to-door services. The Maghreb is today a key region in Europe’s construction project. Its development is a necessary element to achieve the stabilisation of the region.

It should be noted here that in both rail and maritime services, an acceptable solution must include both of the nodal infrastructures and transport corridors that connect them. The final solution depends on everyone involved, so doing it right at the port is no longer enough. It must be done well from beginning to end. The port can make the investments within its territories, but it becomes necessary to have equivalent infrastructures present in the destination nodes. This requires a different action that depends on third parties, which in itself poses difficulties and uncertainties.

A part of the solution must come from the development of transport networks that arise from the design and implementation of the Trans-European Transport Network, so that they can be extended and integrated with those of the rest of the Mediterranean countries. This Trans-Mediterranean network must be the engine of change in the region.

From infrastructures to logistics communities

Once we have the infrastructures, it is necessary to develop high quality and competitive maritime and railway services. Customer-oriented logistics communities, in which competitiveness, quality and proactivity in the management of services and efficiency are the main axes of the action.

We need ports that work and are built as a team, especially in terms of collaboration between public administrations and private operators. Two worlds that seek to establish a dialogue and cooperation to harmonise their interests and activities. Customs, inspection services, police … Each one with its obligations and responsibilities is looking for a way to respond to customers, while continuing to innovate and find better and more effective ways to preserve the environment as a source of wealth and development of the societies to which they must provide services to.

From logistics communities to the people

Complex infrastructures that provide complicated services, are innovative and sustainable, and contain competitive logistics chains in an uncertain and changing environment are not easy to maintain. Finding the people capable of doing it isn’t either.

The ports, in their current state, with the collaboration of the training centres, can be the organisations that facilitate the development of people in the sector, provide quality training and the develop the competencies that allow effective management of operations and ultimately lead to customer satisfaction. Generating value today goes through the recruitment of talent, which in turn happens to employ and retain the people capable of providing it.

Talent can be bought or built. For the first, money is needed. For the second, it takes vision, conviction, determination, patience and perseverance. And the results at the end are not the same. The first solution is ephemeral. The second is consistent and durable. We need to train the best professionals to help build the best port in the world in the broadest sense of the term.

We can buy creativity and innovation, but it is better to have creative people with the capacity and desire to innovate. We can apply environmental measures to improve sustainability, but it is better to have people convinced of and dedicated to sustainability.

The Escola can and must help advance on this path that tries to maximise the immediate and universal value for the society. I hope I can help achieve these goals that will allow us to build a better world for all.

 

Mercè Conesa
President
Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport