EU-PORTRAItS Project cross fertilization conference in Hamburg

CrossFerConfA Cross-Fertilization conference on new developments in ports and future port worker training needs, organized within the framework of the EU-PORTRAItS project (European Port Workers Training Scheme), took place last week in Hamburg, Germany. The event, which was held on 26-27th May 2016, was organized by VTT – Technical Research Centre of Finland with support from Hamburg Port Training Institute GmbH - HPTI. It was attended by project partners’ and stakeholders’ representatives from 18 different organizations from Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Spain. The European Commission was also represented by the Project Officer Ms. Ioana Statu.

The purpose of the event was to present project findings on the current state of training in the port sector in Europe; discuss the major trends and how these will affect the required skills and training needs in the port sector in the future; and facilitate an open dialogue among stakeholders involved in the port sector.

The first day started with a port and city bus tour, followed by a presentation of the German port worker’s training system by Ms. Helga Wagner from Hamburg Port Training Institute GmbH. The events generated great interest among the participants and numerous questions were raised. In the afternoon, a three-session Conference was organized. In the first session, devoted to port worker training in Europe, an overview of the workshop findings from seven EU countries was presented by Mr. Sotirios Theofanis, senior project expert.

The second session focused on Mega trends affecting the port sector, identifying 5 main blocks: Market related, Business change related, Technology related, Sociological Evolution related, and Environment related. Following a brief presentation by Mr. Theofanis, the stakeholders worked together in small groups discussing these topics, and they then presented summaries of their group discussions. Concentration of global players (GTO’s) in the container shipping industry, Automation process (remotely controlled operations) and the increasing use of IT and Internet of Things were identified as the most important trends, having an impact on the port sector.

Discussion on this topic was very engaging and did not leave adequate time for the third topic,
on port workers’ future training needs and skills requirements, to be discussed. This topic will be tackled after the cross-fertilization conference. The main findings of the Conference will be disseminated to the participants for review and further comments and their input on the last topic will be requested in writing.

On the second day of the event, a visit to the Hamburg Container Terminal (HHLA CTA) was organized. During the visit partners’ and stakeholders’ representatives observed the operations at the terminal and discussed the effect of automation on port work. Subsequently, a boat tour of the port of Hamburg took place.

EU-PORTRAITS project is funded by the Seventh Framework Program for Research and Development of the European Union (FP7).

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