Posts to appear on the #DidYouKnow section of the website

Port operations in a globalised society

In an era of a globalised supply chain, the role of the port has evolved from its traditional cargo handling and storage functions to being an integral part of the global supply chain. With the growing demand for integrated logistics services and the intensification of port competition, a port must collaborate and cooperate with its supply chain partners to provide value-added services to its customers and, by extension, to its entire regional area of influence.

Today, instead of companies competing with each other, the logistics chains engage in more active competition. Greater efficiency of their operations gives them advantages over their rivals and positions them higher above other companies in the market. In order to identify all the items that make up the most efficient logistics chains, it is necessary to analyse and combine systems, processes, people, teams and strategies in order to find the most profitable and efficient solutions for all parties involved. Economies with efficient logistic solutions can easily connect companies in their territories with national and international markets through reliable supply chains, while countries with inefficient logistics face high costs, both in terms of time and money, in international trade and global supply chains, leaving their companies at great disadvantages.

On an international level, the position of the economies in the logistics sector can be evaluated through the World Bank’s Logistic Performance Index – a tool comprising different KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that reflect the perceptions of logistics of a country based on the efficiencies of processes of customs clearance, the quality of available commercial and transport infrastructures, the ease of arranging shipments at competitive prices, the quality of logistics services, the ability to track and trace shipments, and the frequency with which shipments arrive at the consignees on time. From this perspective, ports play an essential role, which can only be optimised when all actors and agents collaborate and interact efficiently. We are not only talking about the actions of port authorities; the direct and active participation of shipowners, exporters, importers, shippers, customs agencies, consignment agents, freight forwarders, stevedoring companies, land and multimodal carriers, port and terminal concessionaires, customs authorities, health services, among others is crucial.

Nowadays, the role of a port is not only limited to its port or technological infrastructures, but also to its role as a productive and efficient logistic platform thanks to the integration of all processes and the information capabilities of its actors. In this way, an efficient port becomes an engine for the economy.

This coordination is possible when all the agents of the port community, as well as the rest of the members of the logistics chain, are aware of the roles and responsibilities of each of their interlocutors. This allows the gear between all of them to be much more fluid and efficient. In this sense, the knowledge and training on “what happens in a port” help to generate synergies and process improvements among the participants of the operations, both maritime and terrestrial, and to pave the way for integration, presenting the client as a single entity: the port.

Specialised training in port operations will help increase the efficiency and safety of operations. Ensuring that all actors in the logistics chain are informed of and understand the working procedures will make it easier to find equilibrium between the different actors in order to provide better operation times and greatly reduce operational costs.

As such, the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport has brought together the main actors that make up and partake in port operations to offer specialised training, with the goal of contributing to the improvement of the efficiency of ports and logistics operations on a national scale. This course is part of the Summer School of the Escola, which will take place from 1 to 12 July, and is divided into two scenarios of port operations: vessel operations and goods operations. During the two weeks, participants will be able to get to know all the actors involved in port operations in order to get a panoramic and integrated view of what happens during the passage of goods through a port.

You can find out more about the upcoming course by exploring the course programmes (https://www.escolaeuropea.eu/calendar/port-operations-for-vessels/

 and https://www.escolaeuropea.eu/calendar/summer-school-port-operations-for-goods/

) , or by writing to the Escola (info@escolaeuropea.eu).

#DidYouKnow – Short guide on packaging and security

In this article for #DidYouKnow we think about the packaging and security of consolidated shipments (groupage). The question we aim to answer is how the should the boxes be transported? Several factors are the key to ensure the safe arrival of the goods at their destinations. These include:

Packing: Packing must be made and manufactured “to measure” to avoid potential movements of the goods inside the wooden boxes.

Handling: It is very important to pay special attention to the markings on the boxes, which contain information for correct handling.

Storage: The conditions and duration of storage should be adequate to avoid any potential damage to the box, which could result in the damage of some (if not all) of the goods stored within.

Transport: The packaging must be conditioned for the type of transport used.

Alongside these factors, the actual transport of our goods needs to be considered when planning the packaging of our goods. This can be sub-divided into the different transport modes:

  • Maritime:If the packaging is going to travel by sea, its destination, the type of container in which it will travel and the main components of the merchandise need to be taken into consideration prior to the packaging.We must bear in mind that the merchandise will be subjected to high levels of humidity, condensation and salinity. Therefore, for this type of transport, and in particular when dealing with goods that comprise electrical components, it is wise to use VCI protections, which release a series of micro particles that adhere to the goods and help reduce the risk of oxidation. Though mitigating the risks, these protections can’t fully guarantee the avoidance of moisture.Another common protection used by industry professionals is the use of barrier protections. These include the placing of a cover of an aluminum complex applied to a vacuum next to desiccant salts. This creates a microclimate within the cover, which allows the cargo to withstand pressure changes and avoids oxidation or corrosion of the goods within.
  • Air:The packaging that travels by air is subject to sudden changes in temperatures, condensation and humidity. As such, the protections used within packaging mimic those used in maritime transport (see above).
  • RoadGenerally, ground transportation does not call for specific protection unless the goods themselves, the warehouses visiting on the route, or the places visited during the transport journey call for it. Therefore, the packaging of road transport goods needs to be considered on an individual basis.

In all of the three cases listed above, lashing of the packaging needs to be considered. Lashing the merchandise ensures that it is completely immobilised. The goal is to prevent possible damages to the goods caused by blows, rubbing, displacements or overturns during transport.

Lashing of goods

Lashing is a very important in ensuring that goods arrive in perfect conditions at their destinations. What is lashing? It refers to the immobilising and attaching of the merchandise to the container, ship or truck.

There are no restrictions – all types of cargo can be lashed, whether they will be transported by air, sea or land.

It is called for whenever there is some free space between the cargo and the container. Lashing is done by means of slings and tensioners or airbags; this further depends on the characteristics and needs of the merchandise.

Occasionally, wood reinforcements can be used to stabilise the load and make the lashing safer. For example, vehicle transport can require standard lashing that consists of a sling system or mixed lashing (which uses standard lashing with an added wooden ring around the wheels for greater protection).

Both packing and lashing are key for the correct transport of consolidated loads. If they are not done correctly, they can cause accidents and result in (potentially very pricy) damages in the transport of goods. The packaged goods need to travel in the best possible conditions for content protection and load security, ensuring that the products arrive in pristine states at their destinations.

If you want to know more about packaging in consolidated transport, check out our upcoming course on Groupage and Consolidation Centres scheduled for the 17-19 of June 2019.

Written by:

  • Beatriz Jiménez, Servicios Recipe TM2, S.A.

#DidYouKnow – What training do we need to work with NVOCC’s?

Consumption models are evolving towards systems of more customised attention to the final consumer. This has consequently fuelled a change in manufacturing and distribution models. More and more products of very different sizes are exported with very short delivery times and sent directly into the hands of the final customer. It is the evolution from a large shipping model to a new one maintaining a constant flow of medium or small shipments. Simultaneously, the modes of transportation have steered towards gigantism. Ships, trains, trucks and airplanes are becoming larger and larger in search of greater efficiency and lower environmental impact. Loading units, however, have remained the same.

Groupage offers a very good solution for such shipments that result from purchases made through e-commerce, bringing us closer to what we call the Physical Internet. It offers a new environment with the capacity to manage relatively small load units that rely on intermodal transport, which in turn rely on large modes of transport: large ships, trains and mega-trucks.

This technique that optimizes transportation not only generates multiple benefits for the loaders, but also gives great advantages in terms of the concern for the environment.

Customer demands are constantly changing. It is also necessary to keep up with any legislative changes, new transport options and technological inventions. New skills must be developed in the fields of information technology, environmental transport and collaboration. The consolidator works door-to-door. As such he or she needs to be able to manage operations between different countries, with different operators and through the use of various sophisticated technological tools.

The flexibility of an NVOCC makes it attractive to small to medium-sized enterprises, but big companies that manage large volumes of freight across their supply chains also need flexible options.

The consolidation centres are the ones who can best face the challenges posed by this evolution. There is a long way to go ahead of us, and it begins with the training of the operators and companies that will choose groupage as an alternative to their transport systems.

Moreover, more and more companies are looking for opportunities to establish cooperation agreements for the supply and distribution of goods. Many companies share vehicles to improve occupancy, reduce fuel consumption, reduce emissions, improve vehicle utilisation and reduce costs. Operators include these initiatives as part of their environmental and business strategies. Groupage has proven to have clear environmental advantages, when compared with each operator using their own vehicles to deliver small, often uneconomical consignments. Today alliances in transport are becoming more and more frequent.

Most companies see groupage as a possible risk to their cargo. Loss, theft, lack of information or control of the cargo are the main concerns when thinking about combining your shipment with that of other companies. It is true that not all cargoes are susceptible to groupage, but that is why there are specialists that analyse and organise these services to maintain control of all transport and consolidation, therewith minimizing the risks that may occur.

It is thus essential to detect what training and information is needed for operators to be able to take advantage of groupage. Some of the subjects in which lack of training has been detected among freight forwarders, direct customers of NVOCCs, and shippers, range from the identification of the main operators and the services offered from a consolidation centre, the differences between types of groupage by mode of transport and the situational analyses to evaluate the use of groupage, to more complex scenarios such as customs procedures, packaging and labelling of goods, risks and groupage coverages or special treatments of specialised goods.

All of these topics are dealt with in depth in the specialised course on Groupage and Consolidation Centres offered for the third consecutive year by the Escola Europea. This year’s edition will take place from 17 to 19 June 2019 in Barcelona. The main objective is for people to be able to know all the casuistry, processes, documentation and legislation that applies to door-to-door groupage operations. This should familiarise the students in the use of groupage services and therefore a encourage their development. In the two previous editions, companies of different types have participated, including Mercadona, Rhenus Logistics, TransGlory, DB Shenker and Fundación Cares, among others.

The idea of offering a course with these characteristics arose from an analysis of the evolution of supply chains and from the need for professionals and students to have more specialized training, which is structured around a theoretical basis and which also allows for the most practical part of operations to be seen through visits to leading operators in the sector. Companies and entities active in groupage such as the Romeu Group, IFS, Globelink Uniexco, Ibercondor, TM2, ATEIA, PORTIC, the BEST terminal and the Port of Barcelona actively participate in the Escola’s course.

The final aim is to inform companies of the best practices for groupage and explain the operation of the whole system so that they can consider it as an option for transporting their goods and contribute to a more efficient and sustainable transport system.

Written by:

  • Raquel Nunes, Training Programmes & External Relations Manager (Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport)

#DidYouKnow – LCL packaging and shipments

In this article for #DidYouKnow we consider the steps and precautions that need to be taken into account in consolidated shipments and groupage operations.

When sending an ocean freight LCL (Less than a Container Load) shipment the cargo needs to be carefully prepared. LCL shipments require container sharing, and therefore the shippers need to take extra caution to ensure the integrity of the merchandise handled.

Source: Fortune Global

The two most common causes for damages to LCL loads are the collapse of stowed materials caused by the shipper’s improper stowage of cargo inside the container, and insufficient individual packaging and contamination caused by the incompatibility of cargo within the same container.

This prompted us to draft this article to clarify the issue at hand: How should an LCL shipment be properly packaged and prepared? Certain aspects need to be considered when ensuring safe transportation of this type of cargo. Some of these include identifying whether the goods in the shipment are fragile, and how many boxes will eventually comprise the entire consignment. Once these questions are ascertained, the shipper can prepare the packaging and the proceed with the labeling of the goods.

In terms of the boxes and packaging, the general rule of thumb is to pack all the goods in boxes, and avoid the use of suitcases or bags. Ideally, special boxes designed for export should be used. Should the shipment contain delicate merchandise, the empty space inside the boxes should be filled with plastic packaging bubbles for added padding and protection. Finally, each box needs to be individually and securely sealed.

On the outside of the boxes clear labels need to be placed, containing the names of the shipper and the consignees, country of destination, name of the freight forwarder and the booking number. If the merchandise is fragile, the “Fragile” label should appear on the sides of the boxes. There are other types of labels that could be added to containers with delicate cargo. These include the orientation of the box to be handled, storage advice, chemical identifiers, etc. Whether or not the labels are placed on the boxes is up to the shipper and to the nature of the cargo.

The labels should also identify the total number of boxes within each shipment. The label should have a number that indicates each box position with respect to the total number of boxes: “Box 1 of 30”.

Finally, when preparing the boxes merchandise needs to be arranged evenly and uniformly. Shipping prices are calculated based on the cubic volume of the contents. Once cargo volume is calculated and the booking is placed with a freight forwarder, it is time to start thinking about palletising the goods. Unlike an FCL shipment where goods can travel loosely within a container, LCL containers are shared. Everything has to be perfectly and properly palletised. When measuring the volume of your shipment, one needs to always take into consideration the pallets used.

Once all of these steps have been taken, the shipment is ready to be sent on its way to its final destination in a safe and organised fashion.

Written by:

  • Raquel Nunes, Training Programmes & External Relations Manager (Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport)

#DidYouKnow – A short story of the refrigerated container

This week we wanted to discuss the evolution of the refrigerated container. Reefer transport, one using refrigerated trucks, trailers and shipping containers is used to ship items that require temperature-controlled environments. Reefer freight is vital nowadays due to the time and temperature sensitive cargo being shipped across larger and larger distances in shorter time frames.

Before modern-day shipping containers appeared in the mid-20th century, loading and unloading of vessels comprised very labour-intensive and time-consuming exercises. Barrels, sacks and wooden crates of various sizes and shapes were used to carry goods to the port, where they were then loaded onto the dock and transferred to waiting ships for their oceanic journeys.

Back in the 16th century seafood products were very popular but, due to the difficulty in transporting them, were limited to people living near coastal areas, rivers or lakes.

In the early 1800’s ice and salt were placed under and alongside cargo with the aim to reduce spoilage. Though an improvement, it was still impractical. Livestock was dying in transit resulting in significant profit losses for farmers. Meat products were also going off before reaching their final destinations.

  1. 1867. The first patent for refrigerated rail cars was granted to J.B Sutherland from Detroit. His design for reefers included a special holding area for ice at each end of the purpose built box car.
  2. 1876. Charles Tellier, the “Father of the Cold”, created the 1st ether-based refrigeration system to maintain a temperature of 0°C inside the boxes. Their tiny size allowed scientist to install three of them on a steamboat called “The Frigorific.”
  3. 1877. Another French engineer, Ferdinand Carré, perfected Charles Tellier’s system, managing to ship 150 tonnes of frozen meat over 50 days, from Sydney to the UK, in a ship equipped with compression refrigeration. The journey successfully transported all perishable cargo without any incidents.

1900’s. The 1st refrigerated vessels specially designed to transport bananas, such as the Port Morant, appeared in 1901. CO2 machines were then used to reduce the temperature and control it. This marked a decisive step forward for the transport of temperature sensitive fruit.

Mid-way through the 1930’s the first portable air-cooling unit was invented by Fred Jones. These units were placed on the outside of trucks that carried perishable foods. By the late 1930’s refrigerated trailers were reaching 38-40 feet in length.

It is not until the 1950s/60s that we entered the golden age of refrigerated containers, a real revolution in the shipping world. By then reefer transport was better controlled and new foodstuffs, such as tropical fruits or even meat, could be shipped across any ocean.

The 1970s saw the arrival of refrigerated containers especially designed to be transported by container carriers. Reefer containers existed in various shapes and sizes each were equipped with their own, separate cooling units controlling the inside atmosphere. Onboard a ship, the reefers were plugged into the onboard power supply system. At the terminals or when carried inland they were connected to reefer plug points or provided with a clip-on generator sets. This system is still largely in use today within the cold supply chain.

The Future: new systems are being created and are already in operation that make controlling various parameters of the container remotely possible. These include temperature control, accidents, door openings, alarms, etc. This type of smart technology will enable a better control of container transport from its origin to the destination.

The success of companies that transport temperature-controlled products comes down to knowing how to ship a product with temperature control adapted to the shipping circumstances and to each type of equipment used, as well as their knowledge of the requirements of each perishable goods type. We are now in the twentieth century and we are seeing a glimpse of the power that the Internet of Things has over transport equipment. At the Escola we are excited to see how the reefer containers continue to evolve and facilitate safe and rapid transport.

Intrigued? You can learn about reefer containers and temperature-controlled supply chains in our technical course dedicated especially to this type of transport. Register now here.

Written by:

  • Raquel Nunes, Training Programmes & External Relations Manager (Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport)

What training do we need to effectively manage temperature-controlled supply chains?

The success of industries that rely on cold storage supply chains comes down to knowing how to ship a product whose temperature needs to be tailored to the circumstances of the transport. Cold chain operations have substantially improved in recent decades and the industry is able to respond to the needs of a wide range of products.  Moving a shipment through the supply chain without suffering any setbacks or temperature anomalies requires the establishment of a comprehensive logistics process that maintains the integrity of the freight.

Most of the accidents of refrigerated cargo are caused by wrong consolidation operations. To make the most of the available space and to cut costs, exporters or importers tend to use all of the space of the transport units, not taking into account that for perishable shipments two vital things have to be considered: air flow between the cargo; and the types of freight that can be combined.

Understanding the functionality of a container and air flow circulation is essential to comprehending how to export such cargo. The Escola has identified the need for training in this industry and undertook upon itself to train its students on the operations of a refrigerated container to ensure safe and intact delivery of the goods at their final destinations.

For example, a common fallacy is to assume that a refrigerated container serves to freeze the loads within in. These units are designed to maintain a steady temperature throughout the transport chain, while the goods should be frozen or correctly stored prior to collection.

Aside from the transport equipment required, the majority of carriers of perishable goods aren’t familiar with the remaining operations throughout the logistics chain. The Escola considers it essential for the companies that operate with this type of cargo to have a complete knowledge of the chain to understand how the goods control, transport, inspections and other necessary procedures are carried out. Only a complete understanding and consideration will ensure the integrity and quality of the cargo at the end of the day. To explain such a well-structured procedure, visits, case studies and practical workshops are fundamental.

All of these topics are dealt with in depth in the specialized training in Temperature Controlled Supply Chains offered by the Escola Europea, which will take place from 6 to 9 May 2019 in Barcelona. The main objective is for people to know what are the best planning and execution practices in each of the stages of the cold storage supply chain and, specifically, those that utilise intermodal transport. The legal aspects surrounding such operations are also analysed during the training.

The idea of offering a course with these characteristics arose from an analysis of the evolution of supply chains and from the demands of professionals and students alike. They called for more specialized training that would facilitate visits to the leading operators in the sector that carry out the practical parts of the operations. The course includes the active participation of companies and entities active in the sector of perishable products in Barcelona such as Mercadona, Frimercat, Cultivar, PIF, Barcelona Container depot service SL, Tmz and Port de Barcelona.

If you’re interested and want to know more, you can take a look at the course programme: https://www.escolaeuropea.eu/calendar/temperature-controlled-supply-chains/. Registrations are open all the way through to the end of April

Blue Innovation – Drones in Port Operations

Let’s talk about Remotely Piloted Aircrafts (RPAs) or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)! These unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, have already been incorporated into our society for their flawless ability to take exceptional videos and photographs. Nevertheless, global transport and logistics companies are looking to take advantage of their functionalities and the shipping industry is not lagging behind.

Within the contributions that an RPA can already offer to transport operations we have:

  • Inspections of physical structures and patrolling of security rounds;
  • Routine inspections for maintenance of buoys, pipes, docks, breakwater cranes, roof-ships and other structures that are conventionally difficult to access;
  • Stock measurement to calculate (bulk) volumetric mass inventory;
  • Detection of irregular situations, leaks or abnormalities through (thermal and gas) sensors, as supplemental emergency support without the need to expose people to the affected areas;
  • Measurement and control of environmental aspects, detection of contamination and tracking and monitoring those responsible for the environmental breaches;
  • Mapping and surveying;
  • Generating audio-visual records of inspection for the authorities or for historical archives;
  • Among others.

The truth is that RPAs have many positive functions to bring to the port community. It is necessary to recognise that not all functions of these high tech devices are positive, and therefore an airspace overflight control would need to be established and regulated. Ports like Rotterdam, Hamburg or Antwerp have already begun regulating the use of RPAs, and allow for their use in certain operations or for inspections under previously established regulations or approvals. The port of Amsterdam has recently tested the Marine Anti Drone Systems (M.A.D.S). This system gives the port authority the possibility to try to control and protect the airspace in order to avoid violations of private security, terrorist attacks and fly-hacking, among others. It is vital, when taking advantage of these devices, to take security and other potentially negative repercussions under consideration.

One of the most interesting commercial cases of the use of RPAs in port areas cases has to do with the service of the company Willensem in Singapore. The company has been able to obtain test authorisation for an “Agency by Air” with which they intend to supply ships with small spare parts, documents, supplies or even consumables for 3D printers. This system will replace shipments by boat in order to reduce economic costs, lower pollution, and ensure faster and risk-free trans-shipment-delivery.

Similarly Airbotics, a company of Israeli origin, has incorporated the devides into a wide range of services. Some of those are applied to the maritime sector where they control traffic and monitoring in port, and undertake supervision on environmental and health issues, inspection systems and inventory tracking. Together they are supporting the construction of the port project in Haifa through mapping and inspection.

In Chile, APM Terminal works with drones for general supervision operations and risk detention. Their devices have a loudspeaker built into the RPAs, allowing the operator to give directions to truck drivers or other people on the ground.

As a final example we could mention the Balearic Islands Port Authority (APB), which has initiated a pilot programme to control and manage the public port domain by using drones in the port of Alcúdia to supervise port operations and environmental control. Currently they perform a weekly flight operated by a specialized company that provides a video and 750 orthophotos.
When it comes to RPAs and UASs, the possibilities for the shipping industry are endless. Companies have only touched on the surface of the possible applications that could be implemented to maximise productivity of the ports, enforce sustainable regulations within the port borders, and improve overall security. As with all new technologies, however, this comes with additional costs and ethical and security considerations. Ports would need to ensure a risk-free airspace for the drone operations to be successful, and if surveillance is involved, that all parties entering or leaving the port are informed of it. The ports we have listed have already taken a first step towards this incredibly exciting future – and we do not need to wait long for the rest of the world to showcase their applications.

For more information you can go to:

 

Written by:

  • Vanessa Bexiga, Operations Manager (Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport)

Blue Innovation – The box is now a “Smart Box”

The world of transport is no stranger to the continuous advances in tracking technologies. Since the invention of the global positioning systems and their implementation in the transport sector in the ‘90s, the need to monitor the placement of individual containers during a shipment has become more common. This was advantageous both to the clients sending the units as well as the shipping lines managing the processes. All parties involved could essentially reap the benefits of tracking shipments during deep and short sea shipping crossings.

In today’s climate, simply tracking the “global position” of the container isn’t enough. It now involves the incorporation of alternative functions designed to benefit the customers. The (now) outdated security seal of the containers has morphed from simply being an evidentiary device aimed to deter theft into an in-situ electronic system that detects vandalism activities. Moreover, just like mobile phones, the E-seal has outgrown its original goal. It has diversified so much that it can be considered appealing for its added value functionalities just as much as for its original purpose.

Some of these added extras include the internal and external control of temperature; a warning notification preceding an attempt to compromise the equipment; humidity control and monitoring inside the unit;  status updates and warnings during intermodal transfers or at physical access points; systems of impact detections on the unit; constant real-time monitoring and easy access through the internet or a mobile device; possibility to customize notifications in case of speeding or access points checks; history of the unit route; the possibility to open doors at defined access points; as well as enabling the opening of the unit when pre-set date and location parameters are met. All these added value functionalities have transformed the traditional container into a more intelligent, accessible and traceable unit that makes integrating data for the best logistic control of those involved in the movement of the merchandise possible.

In 2016 the TRAXENS company in charge of creating hi-tech devices for real-time monitoring has joined forces with CMA CGM to develop a device that complies with many of the aforementioned functions in order to generate Big Data for the different stages of the intermodal transport operations and to improve services for their customers. The device can provide updates on the location, temperature, humidity levels, vibrations, impacts, attempted theft, customs clearance status among others with the additional ability to remotely control functions.

Recently the MSC shipping company has joined the TRAXENS – CMA CGM alliance and has already begun the incorporation of 50,000 “Smart containers” in its operations to offer better visibility, control and monitoring of data for its customers. Moreover, since 2016, Maersk in conjunction with a US-based startup SensorTransport has worked on the development of a Remote Container Management System which offers similar services.

The way transport operations are carried out is constantly evolving, and with the help of the technological inventions, it shows no sign of slowing down. The Smart Containers are proof of that. They not only create significant added value to the customers, but they have (and will continue to do so) greatly contributed to the future of transport, logistics and blockchain through the contribution of Big Data. It will surely be fascinating to see what other solutions transport companies come up with in the coming decades to further modernise and perfect the intermodal supply chain.

For more information you can go to:

 

Written by:

  • Vanessa Bexiga, Operations Manager (Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport)

The jobs of the Future

Talking about the jobs of the future has become fashionable. What will a white-collar professional look like? For many years now, researches have been predicting that new technologies, constantly evolving, will be incorporated into our daily lives to the extent that they will substantially change the way we work. Nevertheless, it is still not clear what, how and when these changes will take place.

The end of February saw the Mobile World Congress, which was held in Barcelona. Following the gathering we now know that networks with 5G technologies will be deployed quickly. The Port of Barcelona has set aside considerable investment in the network’s installation. From then on we can look forward to robots, automation processes, sensorisation, big data, IoT, drones and so on and so forth.

A news item from the Spanish online magazine El País Digital dated 25 February 2019 further underlined the issue: “Before the halfway point of the year is passed, the Ford and Nissan plants (with more than 10,000 workers between the two) will reveal what future awaits them. Doubts about the future of diesel and the risks about how the transition to electric cars will be dealt with and whether the Spanish industry will be able to climb on the bandwagon to produce them. “

Employees who know how to make cars with traditional internal combustion engines will now have produce electric cars. The electrical engineering skills for these new vehicles might be better found among employees of a washing machine factory rather than the workforce of current-day carmakers. We are living in a world of disruptive changes that demand a very high adaptability.

We are told that many of the current jobs will disappear and new ones will be created, but we do not know which ones, nor do we know the specific skills that will have to be acquired. Even if we had the advantage of foresight, it would not be easy to react either as surely, we do not yet have readily available teachers or experts prepared to train others in these subjects.

I, as the director, am fortunate because the Escola Europea has a magnificent vantage point to see and assess the situation in many training centres in Europe and across the Mediterranean shores. A significant number of students and teachers pass through our classrooms. We spend a lot of time together, and this gives us the opportunity to get to know each other and to talk a little about a myriad of topics.  I’ve seen that the majority is worried about the future, and about whether the students are well prepared for what faces them in the road ahead.

Our teachers are exceptional, but nevertheless they are aware that the problem is universal and affects everyone. They also are faced with the challenge of teaching skills that they themselves have not yet fully mastered. The VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) imposes itself.

According to the study by the Barcelona business school IESE “The Future of Occupation and Future Professional Skills” ( February 2019), what we can see is that the knowledge gap in technology and digitalization is following a continuous upward trend. “48% of companies detect deficiencies in vocational training graduates. Likewise, companies consider that the knowledge gap in areas such as big data, digital marketing, artificial intelligence or blockchain will be even bigger in five years, which increases the challenge of improving the education system”. Companies consider that they have to play a more active role in the definition of future professional competences and in the contents of training. They need, on the part of the education system, a more complete, holistic and practical training, with emphasis on the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed in the coming years. A more intense collaboration of the different actors is needed. 87% of the companies that participated in the study considered it important for them play a more active role in defining the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes that are in demand in the industry. They expressed their willingness to collaborate in the creation of training plans with the educational centres in this vital task.

The message is clear. The responsibility for training belongs not only to the educational institutions, but also to the companies themselves, and to the workers already active in the sector who should get their associations and professional networks involved.

We all owe recognition to those professionals who devote part of their time to training others. At the Escola we know this very well and are indebted to the individuals who come to lecture in our classrooms or carry out the practical workshops, and share their professional expertise and advice with us and our students. I ask you for the recognition and gratitude they deserve for the work they do.

If you are interested in this topic, it is worth spending some time on the report that the world economic forum produced in 2018 (https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2018).

We must think of strategies that will allow us to facilitate the transition into this new technology-dominant professional landscape. And we have to be prepared for the surprises that will inevitably come up. Personally, I strongly believe that we will have a much better world, albeit a drastically different one from what we have today.

 

Eduard Rodés Director Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

 

#DidYouKnow – Distribution Networks in the Consolidation of Goods

In order correctly carry out groupage or consolidated shipments of our merchandise, a fully functioning and efficient capillary distribution network needs to exist. Once the consolidated cargo arrives at its destination, regardless of the type of transport used to get it there, be it air, land or sea, the products contained then need to be distributed.

The distribution networks can offer:

  • Control of the shipments until they reach their final addressees
  • Fixed transit times related to their final destinations
  • Competitive rates

Moreover, depending on the location of the distribution networks, we can:

  • Distribute with the network in each city, province or region
  • Distribute with the network in each country, or
  • Distribute through distribution hubs connected within different countries

The distribution network needs to be organized depending on the availability of departures and distribution tools.

Generally, when a consolidated shipment arrives in a city or a region, it needs to wait until enough merchandise is accumulated to be sent out. This results in deliveries going out once or twice a week, resulting in lost transit time. This could be improved through the capillary distribution network in countries where such networks exist.

If we have the ability to decide to or have access to a network at a national level, the volume of the cargo increases and makes additional weekly departures possible.

Alternatively, if the distribution level is extended to several countries, we could offer daily departures to the hub (always according to availability), and continue the delivery from there.

This is why it is vital to differentiate between multinational and medium-sized companies that carry out consolidated shipments. Generally medium-sized companies have their own capillary distribution networks, meaning that they have access to warehouses of origin and destinations, and therefore restrict themselves to specific countries for import and export.

In the event of multinational companies, it is standard practice to load all of the goods of a customer, regardless of their destination or origin, at the same time. This merchandise is then consolidated in a single warehouse and from there loaded onto the trucks of the different company lines. This allows for the customer to save considerable costs.

Groupage or consolidation operations need to be adapted to the typology of each country (in terms of uses and customs) or to the volume of cargo sent.

Ibercondor provides comprehensive logistics and forwarding services, for land, sea and air transport and customs representation

For example, a local distribution network in Italy, comprised of spread out small companies that are dedicated to distributing in specific areas, will not operate in the same way as other types distribution companies which operate on national or trans-national levels, as is frequently seen in northern Europe.

In terms of tariffs, by having suppliers adapt to the environment of the different countries, a tariff for each territory of origin or destination can be generated.

It is also very important to review the packaging, labelling and documentation of the goods sent out, both during the collection and the delivery segments of the transport.

If there are any anomalies present, these should be indicated on the collection or delivery notes, to avoid possible claims after the transport is completed. This saves costs with the insurance companies and premium increases when claims are indeed justified.

Nowadays, in this world of globalized commerce, clients can request tighter delivery times, regardless of how it is done. Having a distribution network tailored ot each destination allows Ibercondor to offer a winning service, thus meeting customers’ delivery expectations.

There is no better or worse model, they are all good if used correctly. The important thing is to study each market and use its strengths to establish synergies with our partners, because with mutual trust come great business opportunities.

Finally we have to understand that our services do not end with the arrival of the consolidated shipments at the ports or places where the main transport ends; it ends instead with the final delivery to the recipient, as specified in the terms offered.

David Farzón Responsable dpto. consultoría en Ibercondor, S.A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to know more?Don’t miss the 2019 edition of the technical course on groupage and consolidated transport. Check it out now and register today: http://ow.ly/IIkg30nX1lP