An interview carried out with Álvaro Rodríguez Dapena, Director of the Technical Directorate from the Spanish State Ports – Puertos del Estado.
Q: In your opinion, how important is providing training in intermodal logistics operations and procedures? How can it contribute to the growth and improvement of the existing trade in the Mediterranean?
A: In all sectors of the economy, productivity is directly related to the level of awareness and preparation of the people behind, from those related to higher levels of management and planning, to those who execute the most concrete of the operations. This is particularly relevant in sectors that play an unequivocal role of intermediation in the economy such as transport, inescapable from almost every human activity. Especially when what we are talking about encompasses different modes of transport in order to achieve maximum efficiency. The complexity, in principle, facing those who want to create or use the maritime-terrestrial intermodal chains, is rapidly diluted with knowledge. As beneficial as the complementarity of ship-truck / trailer / may seem… a whole range of options is opened for shippers, freight forwarders and logistics operators, which, well used, can be put at the service of the economy for its particular projection, opening a sustainable path. Consequently, there is a link between education and trade, to the extent that it helps find more sustainable and competitive solutions both in terms of quality and cost.
Q: 2E3S offers courses on the Motorways of the Sea (Motorways of the Sea Training - MOST) on board of a Ro-Pax vessel, which allows participants to experience intermodal operations firsthand. In your opinion, what kind of benefits does such a workshop bring for professionals?
A: To achieve competitive Motorways of the Sea, it’s not enough to ensure that professionals involved in their implementation and development exhibit good skills in knowledge. Moreover solely accumulating theoretical experience in their respective fields of work isn’t enouch, especially when this scope is confined to an office. A complete education requires continuous training in the reality of transport operations, and a teaching staff with extensive experience in the delivery of courses, seminars and masters degrees complement, stimulate and if anything, encourage cognitive renewal.
Q: In your opinion, what kind of professionals could benefit from 2E3S courses?
A: 2E3S courses have wide and varied public targets ranging from full-time students in either undergraduate and post-graduate programmes to experienced professionals in all fields with interest in professional capacity building. If there is critical mass, it is possible to design ad-hoc courses to the profile of each target audience, so that the student-teacher synergy is maximized. Sometimes though it happens the other way around, and interests intermingle in the same course among people from various fields. Thus, the courses that are raised for the professional world are not only useful for transport operators, freight forwarders or logistics operators. They also have a place in them for loaders or end users, managers and public administrators or other agents, albeit collateral, involved in the transport chain, such as financial agents, insurance or customs or border controlers, for example. It is clear that, at the individual level, the educational “in situ” activity will bring additional light to the participants that can be useful. But I would emphasize here the opportunity for students with different profiles to counterbalance a priori visions found and so end up interacting coral and tax. The benefits with more depth for students arise precisely from such constructive networking. A good example of this are the case studies that need to be carried out in groups. These work groups have become a core element of training on board of the 2E3S courses, which were found effective as a facilitator of an unsuspected wealth of relationships of trust, without which you cannot consolidate development commitments necessary for all collaborative logistics.
Q: You attend the courses as a lecturer. Do you think a mixture of academic and professional faculty adds value to the MOST courses? If so, in what sense?
A: Of course. The richness and plurality in approaches must not only be limited to students, as I stressed before, but in the team of teachers, and in fact, is the open and widespread dialogue, from which the true professional and personal growth emanates for others. This is not an assumption, but a fact. When contributions of teachers who teach the flight within such a conceptual fly, free of the ties in which academics operate, and show the daily battle in the trenches and controls of the professional markets, and then mixing all of that with the contributions of powerful and eager pupils, teaching becomes the best for everyone. I do not know if it’s been said before, but frequently we search in vain to touch the ground and end up touching the sky, not knowing that such a claim is secured with the sea in between.
Q: The Escola Europea de Short Sea Shipping has received several awards in recent months in recognition of its work in promoting intermodal transport. In your opinion, could we say that it has become a benchmark for training in the field of intermodal logistics?
A: Most certainly. Every time I start to promote training in short sea shipping and the motorways of the sea, or am asked for advice in this regard, I start to focus its place in the academic activity that for years now has been developing by the Escola Europea de Short Sea Shipping. Even if it is, in effect, to offer general training in the field of intermodal logistics, the courses offered by the Escola are the best of the practical experiences accessible to the persons concerned in the matter. This is therefore a consolidated reference, and it has also shown to be international in scope, as many courses are attended by students from both the rest of Europe and Latin America, with an unlimited projection worldwide.
Source: Diario Maritimas