#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)

The Escola Europea reaffirms its commitment to the Motorways of the Sea

On the 4th of April the Steering Committee of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport met in the framework of the “Motorways of the Sea in the Western Mediterranean – Climate Action Programme 2020 The Way Forward” conference in Barcelona. The Committee, which comprises representatives from the primary stakeholders fo the Escola, is tasked with establishing the strategic direction of the institution.

The meeting brought together, among others, the president of the Port of Barcelona and of the Escola Europea Mercè Conesa; the commercial director of short sea shipping in Grimaldi Lines and the president of the ALIS group, Guido Grimaldi; the president of the ports of Rome Francesco Maria di Majo; the CEO of Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV) Matteo Catani; the president of the Ports of Genoa Paolo Emilio Signorini (via teleconference); and the director of the Escola Europea, Eduard Rodés.

During the meeting the Escola’s achievements of 2018 were highlighted and the goals for 2019 were solidified. The participants confirmed that the Escola is consolidating its role as a reference for training both on local and international levels, not only in short sea shipping but in the intermodal transport sector in general. Some of the institution’s achievements of 2018 were:

  • In 2018, the Escola has organised more tan 35 courses with more than 1300 participants coming from Spain, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. The increase in the number of participants coming from the other side of the Atlantic and from throughout the Mediterranean was noted. This international flow helps spread the European model of short sea shipping to the African and American continents, contributing to the improvement of sustainable transport globally.
  • In the framework fo the TransLogMED Project, the Escola has organised: two conferences in Sfax and Algiers; three training courses, one of which was aimed at senior Algerian officials and with the collaboration of the World Bank, and another one aimed at senior officials from the Tunisian government; and 4 collaboration agreements were signed with relevant bodies in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Moreover, the Escola has participated in various industry fairs in the participating countries.
  • The Escola has been the project office of various actions financed by European funds, including CarEsmatic, Core LNGas Hive, and is part of the consortium that is running the RePort project financied byt eh RIS3CAT programme.

During the event the Committee approved actions for 2019, including:

  • The new technical courses “Temperature Controlled Supply Chains” and “Port Operations: Vessels & Goods”, which will have renewed and more complete programmes when compared to the previous editions
  • The Formati al Porto programme, based on the very successful Forma’t al Port model which has in the past few years achieved tremendous results in Barcelona, will be developed from the newely opened offices of the Escola in the headquarters of the Port Authority of the Ports of Rome ( Autoridad del Sistema Portuario del Mar Tirreno Centro Septentrional)

2019 shows all signs of being a very intensive one for the Escola Europea, with courses for professionals programmed for the autumn and courses for university and professional training students scheduled throughout the year. In the past decade, the organisation has increased its influence in Europe and throughout the Mediterranean through the development of new and innovative courses for students and professionals, the signing of new agreements with influential universities and training centres, and the active participation in European projects.

`

#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

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

 

The Escola opens up registrations to 2019 Technical Courses

The Escola constantly tries to identify what is lacking in the educational sphere of intermodal transport, in particular in light of the continuously changing landscape of the sector. New technologies bring new procedures, which in turn call for new skills of the operators and professionals involved. This gave birth to the Escola’s technical courses, which take a close look at specialised transport in today’s everchanging climate.

In the second quarter of 2019, the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport will offer specialised technical courses for professionals in the logistics-port sector. There will be two editions of specialised training in May and June.

The first technical course will focus on temperature-controlled supply chains. It will take place from 6th to 9th of May in Barcelona. The contents of the course focus on how temperature-controlled products (stored, handled and transported) should be circulated through the distribution networks (manufacturers, service providers and customers) in accordance with their specified temperature conditions. Visits to Mercabarna (the wholesale market of Barcelona), a container terminal, an importer/distributor’s storage facilities, container depot and the Border Inspection Point (BIP) will accompany the theory taught in the classrooms. Organised in collaboration with the Port of Barcelona, Mercabarna, Barcelona Container Depot Service, Frimercat and Cultivar, the course is aimed at manufacturers, importers, exporters, distributors and shippers of temperature-controlled cargo and perishable products. For more information on the course, please visit:

https://www.escolaeuropea.eu/calendar/temperature-controlled-supply-chains/

The second technical course scheduled for June 17-19 focuses on groupage operations and consolidation centres. It will similarly take place in Barcelona, training participants in the handling of groupage shipments, consolidation centres, import/export procedures, customs, etc. To give a practical understanding of the theory imparted, visits will be made to a container terminal and consolidation warehouses. The course is organised in collaboration with the Romeu Group, International Forwarding S.L., CWT Globelink Group, Terminal Hutchison Ports BEST, Ibercondor, ATEIA-OLTRA and the Port of Barcelona. For more information on the course, please visit:

https://www.escolaeuropea.eu/calendar/groupage-and-consolidation-centres-2019/

The Escola Europea kicks off the year with a course in railway intermodality

During the third week of January the first course for professionals of 2019 was organised by the Escola Europea – SURCO Operations II. This course offered advanced training in intermodal logistics and international freight transport.

The training is directed at professionals linked to companies involved with freight transport, shippers and/or port authorities.

The course analyses the different elements required for the provision of rail services, and give the necessary training and information to those who manage logistics chains in which the railroad is seen as a cost-effective alternative for services, cost or time. It also promotes the use of rail transport by exploring its characteristics.

The group of more than 20 participants came from companies such as SEAT, DB Shenker, NAFOSA, Campofrío. PortIC, Logiral, Aralogic, and from port authorities and dry ports (Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia, Castellón, Avilés, Santander, Vilagarcía de Arousa, Cartagena, and Azuqueca. They had the opportunity to gain specialist knowledge in international rail transport. Alongside the theoretical classes, two out of the five days of the course were dedicated to practical workshops: one in Zaragoza to see the operations of the traffic control centre of ADIF and from the Maritime Terminal of Zaragoza (tmZ), and the other to discover the various railway infrastructures on the border between Spain and France (Port Bou terminal, LFP (transborder tunnel of Pertús) and the LorryRail terminal). The format of the training impressed all of the participants, as stressed by one of the participants “The visits were very useful, and combining theory and practical workshops is very good. The global experience is very good and extremely satisfying.”

From the 10th to the 12th of June 2019, a new edition of SURCO Operations I will take place in Barcelona. This introductory course will offer training in logistics and railway operators, infrastructures and equipment, legislation and documentation, freight railway services and railway terminals in ports. For more information you can consult: https://www.escolaeuropea.eu/calendar/surco-operations-i-2019/ . In the first half of 2019 the Escola will hold four other courses dedicated to professionals which will focus on technical aspects of transport (including temperature controlled freight, consolidated shipments and port operations). You can find information of these courses on the Escola’s website.

The Escola Europea closes the year with a course for North African professionals

Over the past week the Escola Europea has organised the MOST MED course which brought together professionals from three countries from the Magreb: Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The training took place between the 16th and the 19th of December, and welcomed representatives from the port and logistics sectors. The goal was to explain, promote and debate the intermodal services and the motorways of the sea in the Mediterranean.

The course was organised in the framework of the TransLogMED project. The Escola is the leader of the initiative which aims to extend links with countries from the Magreb.

The individuals came both from private companies and public institutions, and thanks to their varied nationalities, the attendees were able to analyse different scenarios from each of the three countries. From Algeria members of the l’École Nationale Supérieure de Technologie (ENST), Groupe Serport and Logitrans Groupe took part. From Morocco, professionals from the Agence Marocaine de Développement de la Logistique, Association des Freights Forwarders du Maroc and UNISHIP came to the training. Finally, from Tunisia representatives of the Office of the Marine Marchande et des Ports, Groupe- Societé Tunisienne de Transit d’Agences et de Transport, Societé Tunisienne d’Acconage et de Manutention, Groupe des Manutentionnaires de Sfax, Institut Méditerranéen de Formation Aux Métiers Maritimes and the Ministry of Transport attended.

This final course marks the end of a busy year for the Escola, which witnessed 83 training actions, among which 35 were courses and 48 were visits – workshops in the Ports of Barcelona, Genoa and Civitavecchia, and on board of the vessels of Grimaldi Lines and GNV.

The Escola has welcomed more than 1200 students in its courses this past year, and more than 1800 individuals participated in the visits – workshops. Overall, a total of 32 training centres with students spanning 45 different nationalities have participated in the Escola’s training actions in 2018.

GNV vessel Excelsior becomes certified as a classroom for the Motorways of the Sea Training (MOST) courses

This December Marta Miquel, Chief Business Officer of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, delivered the Arete metope to certify the Excelsior vessel of the shipping company Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), which operates the Tangier-Barcelona-Genoa route, as a classroom of the Training Centre. The certificate has been delivered to Commander Alessandro Fantini and Valerio Esposito, the GNV representatives in Barcelona, ​​and has immediately been placed in a pre-eminent place on the bridge of the vessel. This certificate indicates that the vessel meets the quality requirements established by the Escola to host the MOST courses (Motorways of the Sea Training).

The Arete award comes from the Greek word for “excellence” (Ἀρετή). In ancient Greece it was an important part of the education of young Athenians (Paideia). It included physical training, for which the gymnasion was created, and mental training, which gave the population skills of oratory, rhetoric, basic sciences and spiritual formation. All these disciplines serve as inspiration for the Escola, which emphasizes that the vessels in which the courses take place must be able to adapt to this type of training (updated with the requirements of modern training).

Other recipients of this award include the Cruise Rome and Cruise Barcelona vessels of Grimaldi Lines, the GNV vessel Fantastic, Tanit from Cotunav, the Aula dels Estels at the Drassanes terminal and the Europa classroom at the BEST terminal (both in Barcelona).

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