2E3S – a reference for successful training: Three perspectives from French professionals

The Escola Europea de Short Sea Shipping (2E3S) prides itself as being a reference centre for intermodal training and maritime logistics in Europe. Over the past ten years its popularity has grown so much that more than 1000 students pass through the doors annually. What is the secret of their success? We have approached three professionals who attended the MOST (Motorways Of the Sea Training) Operations course for French transport, logistics and international business professionals. This course, which centered on intermodal logistics, short sea shipping services and the motorways of the sea, took place on board of a Ro-Pax vessel of Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), along one of the main motorways of the sea of Europe between Spain (Barcelona) and Italy (Genoa).

Léa Jacquier from the Communications Department of 2E3S approached three of the participants, hoping to gather feedback and to understand what makes these courses a unique experience. The three participants were:

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François Trouquet  Gaëlle Cadiou Alexandre Luczkiewicz
Deputy Director of MP2 Responsible for Communication of the French Shortsea Promotion Center – BP2S Responsible for Communication of the French Maritime Cluster
The Syndicat Mixte Plateforme Multimodale Pyrénées-Méditerranée – MP2 is a public institution to promote and develop the logistics expertise and potential of the Pyrénées-Orientales territory. BP2S is an association that aims to promote the short sea shipping and intermodality in transport. The French Maritime Cluster is an organisation established by and for professionals to promote the interests of all sectors of the maritime economy from manufacturing to service.

This course, targeting professionals from the French logistics and transport sectors, is an annual occurrence. Next year’s edition is already planned: It will take place on board of a Grimaldi Lines vessel on the crossing between Barcelona and Civitavecchia from the 26th to the 29th of November 2016. The draft programme is available online on the 2E3S website: www.2e3s.eu/course/161126mm/

Why did you decide to attend one of 2E3S courses?

François Trouquet: Because I had a lack of knowledge about the shortsea and maritime sector.  

Gaëlle Cadiou: It seemed to me to be a very complete course. In addition to the theoretical classes, there are also a lot of practical workshops such as the maritime visits and the demonstrations around the vessels. To me, these are really important. I think that experiencing the operations truly helps the students understand what is taught. And it’s necessary, as it complements the theory from the lectures. 

Alexandre Luczkiewicz: I won the first price of the “Nuit du Shortsea”[1] quiz 2014, and I’m very glad to have been a laureate of this training course.

In your opinion, how important is continuing training for professionals, in particular in intermodal logistics operations and procedures?

FT: It’s important because of the constant evolution, and I, as well as the institution, have to be kept up to date on the new techniques and practices to be able to adapt the public decisions between the theory and what is really going on in the daily work.

GC: It’s necessary not to rely only on the already acquired knowledge and to keep opening our mind. It’s important to keep ourselves updated on the latest innovations, solutions and policies. It’s also a good opportunity to talk with other professionals and learn from them.

AL: It’s important because we are in a sector that is extremely challenging in terms of quality, security and environment. I think that on-going professional  training is necessary to be able to evolve, to acquire new skills and to maintain this high level of demand that is asked of the companies nowadays.

Is there any topic you found particularly interesting?

FT: The case study and the group work, as it was stimulating for everybody.

GC: Everything interested me. I really liked the port visits, indeed we could see that the Port of Barcelona and the Port of Genoa have really diversified traffics, including shortsea traffics, and we could observe the various operations of the ports.

AL: A lot of things interested me. As a sailor, the first thing I enjoyed is to sail! What I also appreciated were the methods to calculate the costs according to the transport mode, especially for the case study. We came to the conclusion that some solutions actually exist to decrease transport prices and the environmental impact, whereas we have been using solutions for years that today are no longer the most competitive. To conclude I found discovering the various options that exist for freight transport really interesting.

How do you think the knowledge gained will help you in your field in the future? Will you use the concepts learned in this course in your professional environment?

FT: Yes, of course. In the institution I work for, we have to deal with buyers, shippers and all the logistics chain stakeholders, so it is important to know what we are talking about. It’s necessary for me to have the correct information to be able to make decisions about future investments and adjustments.

GC: Yes. I don’t have academic studies in transport, and even if I’m working in a Shortsea Promotion Center, I always need to see the operations firsthand. It will also help me talk better with professionals from the sector; it’s key to speak the same “language”.

AL: Everything is not going to be useful for me, because my work covers the whole maritime sector. However what is interesting for me is to have, in each part of the maritime sector, an overall knowledge that will give me the keys to promote technical solutions and concepts to my interlocutors, the political and economic decision makers. To have an overall understanding of the subject helps me talk knowingly to the right interlocutors. For example, with the motorways of the sea concept, it’s important for me to be able to demonstrate that short sea shipping lines are operating in Europe, are an alternative to the road, are competitive and virtuous. Here you have four keywords that I can promote to my contacts.

The 2E3S is a very unique center and has already experience in this kind of training (it celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2016). Could we say that it has become a benchmark for training in the field of intermodal logistics?

FT: Yes, of course. The fact that the Escola takes part in European projects, like for example the CLYMA project of which MP2 is a partner, gives them a real European vision of the sector. That gives the Escola more than just the point of view of an office in a particular country.

GC: Yes, entirely. I know the Escola for six years, and I think that they have a real expertise. Everything is really well organized. The courses have a real value because the participants are professionals of the sector and they participate to learn on the ground.

AL: I’m not the best person to answer this question because I’m working exclusively in France and overseas. I know the Escola thanks to our member BP2S, who spreads a lot of information on 2E3S – which we also disseminate among out contacts-, through which I learn about the Escola’s activities. I see that what they are doing is lasting, and so for me it’s a proof of quality. More generally, what I can say from my part is that today we have a lack of institutions – even if there are some really competent – that are providing training in France in logistics, security, and environment in the transport sector.

Would you recommend others to attend our courses?

FT: Yes!

GC: Absolutely, I communicate all the time 2E3S news, and I will keep doing it because in our opinion they provide high quality training.

AL: Completely. For one reason in particular: being immersed in the heart of a transport mode helps you understand the transport solution that can be used in the daily activities of your company, and I think this is relevant and instructive.

The success of the course could be felt among all of the participants. The on-board format and the unique teaching methods that mix theory and practice helped the students visualize and experience actual short sea shipping operations. They enriched their expertise with new theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as provided ample opportunities to network and create lasting professional bonds with the other professionals.


[1] The “Nuit du Shortsea” is an event organised by BP2S.