Building and facing the future – A word from our director

The first quarter of 2016 is nearing its end, and with that bringing us closer to our 10th anniversary celebratioin – the milestone that we reach this year and which we hope to celebrate with you during our Gala Dinner in September.

I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the work of the Escola which has brought us to this point – with a special focus on 2015.

2015 was an important year for us in that it successfully brought to conclusion three of the projects in which we were involved in – B2MoS, CLYMA and Optimed. It was also the second year running during which we organized our courses without the financial support of the European Union – a testament to the growing popularity of our courses and the quality of the education we provide.

Our Courses

In 2015 the Escola successfully organized nearly 30 courses, with more than 1000 participants from Spain, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Mexico, United States, Panama, Peru, Colombia, Lebanon, Egypt, Moroco and others. In fact more and more attendees from across the Atlantic and Mediterranean fly to Barcelona to attend out Maritime MOST courses – helping spread the European short sea shipping model to the American and African continents.

It was also the first year of the Escola’s Forma’t al Port courses. These courses are aimed at the local market – aiming to introduce students of the Catalan high schools to the professional environments within the Port of Barcelona – but their impact will be internationally felt as Barcelona has become a central point of global maritime links.

The MOST professional courses have also grown in popularity. We were thrilled that, in 2015, for the first time ever, we were able to organize a MOST course for Italian professionals – adding to the annual editions of professional MOST courses for the Spanish, Portuguese and French markets.

In 2015 we have also organized a pilot course for the training of teachers and professors using the Theater to Train methodology, along with a course for teachers on Neurolinguistic Programming – both aiming to improve the dynamics of the classes and the overall experience of the students. These courses have been successfully carried out and will no doubt benefit the teachers in their professional endeavours back home.

The Projects

December 2015 saw the completion of three projects in which the Escola has played a central part in – B2MoS, CLYMA and Optimed.

B2MoS – Business to Motorways of the Sea – was co-financed by the INEA Agency and brought together partners from six European countries. A continuation of the MOS4MOS (Monitoring and Operation Services for the Motorways of the Sea) project, B2MoS provided a suitable array of measures in order for ports to become efficient gateways for short sea shipping in order to compete on more door-to-door corridors and facilitated the development of TEN-T Motorways of the Sea network connecting Europe. It did so through 5 activities, 15 practical initiatives of proposed solutions and public demonstrations in each of the six countries. Aside from developing extensive training materials and organizing training seminars on the National Single Windows and the EU Directive 20108/65/EU, the Escola also provided support to the Coordinator (the Valenciaport Foundation) in all of the Communication Activities throughout the project.

The Escola also completed its work on the CLYMA project – in which together with the Port of Barcelona it worked as the project office. Within the context of the TEN-T Mediterranean Corridor Global Project, this Action focused on freight transport connecting Lyon and Madrid (CLYMA) to enable a coordinated implementation of the network. It comprised of studies on the organization and optimal implementation of the TEN-T network, taking into account long-term perspectives, environmental aspects and associated needs, as well as studies that promote environmental sustainability, resource efficiency and low–carbon transport within an integrated transport concept. This stimulated the deployment of the Green Corridor concept as introduced in the Freight Logistic Action Plan. The project also developed a managerial structure for the intermodal corridor – which has the potential to be implemented across other sections of the TEN-T network.

Finally, the Optimed project came to a close. Carried out under the ENPI CBC MED programme of the European Union, the overall aim of the Optimed project has been to enhance the development of maritime transport and logistics sector in the Mediterranean, in order to ensure more efficient and sustainable trade relations between the northern and south-eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The Escola organized two training courses throughout the life-time of the course, the first one targeting future trainers and professors from the neighbouring countries (for the first time by the Escola), and the second one for professionals – aiming to bring training in intermodal transport across the Mediterranean all the way to the North African shores- bridging any cultural and economic differences there may be between the two continents.

The Team

2015 has been a long year for us – many changes within our team, within our courses and within our goals. We have said goodbye to Nuria Záragoza – our Public Relations and Courses Officer – and to Raquel Ferreira who joined us in the Projects and Knowledge department. Both have moved on to new professional projects and we are happy to have been able to have been a part of their professional ascents.

But it hasn’t only been a year of goodbyes. In the autumn we welcomed a new member to our Communication Department Team – Lea Jacquier – who as the Communication Assistant is helping Lidia with publicity and communication tasks. We are very happy to have her with us and we are sure that she will soon become an integral part of our – and by extension yours as our ex-alumni – family. Moreover Marta Miquel has become the person responsible for Educational Resources, External Relations & Training. Adriana Díaz, who has been with us since 2008, has also moved up in our small family as she became the manager of Projects, Knowledge & Quality. We congratulate them both and are proud to have them in our team.

Our teaching staff has also continued growing throughout the year – reaching 42 coming from Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Holland and Belgium by December. The professors – coming from both the professional and academic sectors – are experts in their respective fields and are integral to the success of every single one of our courses.

Ten years ago the Escola was born out of a desire to bring intermodal transport and short sea shipping operations closer to the minds of European professionals through practical and unique courses. A decade later we are still going strong delivering this promise – and cementing out role as the reference centre for intermodal transport on the continent and, to a certain extent, in the world. Our influence now extends past the Atlantic as we continue to welcome groups from both North and South America. We are very happy to have been able to share these past 10 years with you, and look forward to another 10. Join us in September to celebrate our landmark and help bring the blue spirit, training and values to light.