The cruise sector has been at the center of several negative news during the corona crisis. However, it can also be part of the solution and positive news. In the past days several major cruise lines and ferry operators like MSC, Carnival or Moby have offered several ships to be transformed into emergency hospitals, releasing the pressure from land-based hospitals and healthcare systems around the globe. The most concrete example of this measure is taking place in Genoa, Italy. MSC proposed that the MSC Opera cruise ship and three ferries from GNV (Superba, Suprema e Splendid), a company they own, could be transformed in just 10 days. In this action MSC collaborated with the region, the municipality, RINA (certification company) and the port. The first case has been the Splendid, already prepared to host the first 25 patients that have overcome the most serious phase of the COVID-19 but must remain in isolation. The ship could potentially up to 400 hospital beds and a reanimation and intensive care unit in its hangar. This operation shows other side of cruises and the capacity to cooperate of port city actors in crisis situations.
Since the beginning of March 2020, the new prototype BAM II will be tested in the Barón Pier of the Chilean port city. The new machine, developed by Maestranza Diesel and Asmar with the support of the port authority, could generate up to 3 kW. This is the second prototype from the same consortia, replacing the first one installed in late 2018. One of the main advantages of this new system is that it does not causes any negative impact on the environment since it does not use any fuel, nor produces any emissions. At a larger scale it could be a proper solution of green energy along for isolated companies or communities along Chilean coast. Several companies are currently exploring the movement of waves as a potential source of clean energy, like Eco Wave, making port cities a crucial area for the energy transition.
The port of Valencia has joined forces with Microsoft and ENCAMINA to develop PUBLICARME, a new digital tool to explore the historical archives of the port. This new platform includes more than 10 000 historical documents from the mid-19th century until the 1940s. PUBLICARME uses artificial intelligence to read the text from the documents and improve the research process. Additionally, the platform also establishes connection between the content of the document, speeding up potential investigations. The digital copies will be stored in a cloud system, guaranteeing the safety of their content beyond the paper’s integrity. PUBLICARME recently received the @asLan award for digital transformation. Port archives are cultural resource yet to be explored in most port cities. The port of Dublin (Ireland) has also invested in disclosing its archives and is planning a new facility. Lisbon, in Portugal, inaugurated last year a new building with the archives of its port and Setubal, in Barreiro. These initiatives facilitate the contacts of local citizens with port culture.
School visits and cultural events remain one of the main activities to bring younger generations to the port. In the case of Setubal (Portugal), the School Project of the port authority brought more than 750 students in 2019 from schools all over the country. The port of Tarragona (Spain) is intensifying the its cultural program with the occasion of its 150th anniversary including visits and the refurbishment of the port museum. On February 28th was the main institutional event, gathering 800 persons from the port community, companies, region, municipality, but also the neighbours. Last year, was the turn of the port of Barcelona and Trieste to celebrate the 150th and 300th anniversary, respectively, also with an intense cultural program for the citizens.