The 2020 edition of the ESPO awards for social integration of ports focused on innovation strategies and capacity of ports to attract start-ups into its ecosystem. The online award ceremony took place last week, recognizing the good work done by the Port of Algeciras (Spain), particularly the “the Innovation Journey” project. This project is part of a broader innovation strategy that will help the port to exceed its traditional roles as a landlord, and turn it into a business and efficiency partner. It will contribute to the port-city relationship, by creating new jobs for the local population. This broader strategy is complemented with a physical facility that will include a Port Center.
The other 3 finalists were the Port of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Puertos del Estado (Spain) and Port of Lisbon (Portugal), all AIVP members as well. Their projects included respectively the Prodock, an innovation hub focused on circular economy, the Ports 4.0 Fund, a national program to foster open innovation in the port-logistics ecosystem and the Ocean Campus, an ambitious plan for the waterfront creating an ecosystem of excellence in RD&I, bringing together researchers, entrepreneurs, main companies, academics and experts in the sea-related field.
AIVP was part of the jury evaluating the project, as it has been since the first edition of the award.
Port and city need to work together to provide career opportunities and facilities for local talents and students. In the case of Dakar (Senegal), the port and the city are working together with national institutions and NGOs in a new project to rehabilitate local middle-schools and reforest green spaces. However, providing schools is only part of the way. The work of young talents can be also a valuable resource for the port, as it is visible in the port of Helsinki (PDF). In the Finnish case, the master thesis of a young student will help the port to reduce the carbon footprint of its procurements. The research was done under the guidance of the port authority and the end result is a practical guide for assessing procurement processes, introducing a stronger sustainability perspective.
Linking educational curricula and labour market needs is not easy. For this reason, we see how port and urban actors are creating different program to close the gap and adjust the educational paths to real labour opportunities. For example, the vocational training initiative “FP Dual – Inmersión Portuaria” started this school year in the port of Valencia (Spain) (Youtube), providing high-school students better opportunities for a career in port companies. In San Antonio (Chile), the port just signed an agreement with the Maritime Commercial high-school Pacífico Sur in order to allow the students to learn closer to the industry and makes internships. On a different level, the port of Tarragona (Spain), is cooperating the university Rovira I Virgili in the Master course dedicated to Logisitic Operation Management, as part of the long-lasting relationship between the educational institution and the port. Another cooperation example can be found in Marseille (France), where Euroméditerranée just signed a collaboration protocol with the region and the employment agency. The goal of the charter is to coordinate their interventions and competences, to support local employment creation in the construction sector, anticipating the needs of the future worksites of the second phase of urban redevelopment project.
Providing personal developing opportunities is crucial for human capital development. There are numerous examples of port cities, where ports and universities work together to facilitate trainings and educational courses to the employees. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, the port just signed a new agreement with the Economic Sciences Faculty of the local University, to allow as well new research cooperation. In Rotterdam we can find other examples of this kind, such as the cooperation between the port and the Erasmus University. In a similar way, the Mauritius Ports Authority has signed a new protocol with the University of Mauritius to created new training programmes that will allow port employees to expand their careers. Other agreements may also support port workers differently, as in the protocol signed between the port of Valparaiso and SENDA in Chile, to prevent drugs and alcohol abuse.
Education is also fundamental to reduce inequalities and increase the diversity of port workers. For that purpose, the Port Authority of New South Wales has launched a new training program designed for Indigenous women, partnering with the not-for-profit organization Tribal Warrior. The port also sponsors the Deck Cadet Program to help young seafarers to kickstart their career. Indeed, engaging younger generations in port city activities is a necessary for developing the local human capital. For that reason, this kind of programs or other initiatives are becoming more common. Another example is the internship program by the Bilbao Puerto y Ría Foundation designed for young graduates. All these efforts only make sense if there are ways to couple job offers and demands, in order to facilitate this, Talent in de Haven 2.0 will take place in Antwerp to facilitate the match between companies and job seekers.
The presence of women in the maritime world is no longer novelty, and their contribution is a crucial added value for ports. This was the main message from the Minister of Women and Gender Equity of Chile in her visit to the port of San Antonio. However, there is still a long way to go. For that reason, three Argentinian ports have launched initiative addressing gender issues. The Dock Sud port and the Port of Buenos Aires have created commissions on gender perspective in accordance with the ministry’s directives. The port of Bahía Blanca has developed an action protocol for situations of gender violence. The main objective is to define the actions to be taken in situations of discrimination and/or gender violence against women and people from the LGTBIQ+ collective, guaranteeing a work environment of trust, security and respect for people’s rights.