Issue 12

HOT SEAT (2): 

Interview with Eduard Rodés – Director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

and president of the Port Logistics International Knowledge Academy (PLIKA)

Creating a Collaborative Network for Port Logistics through PLIKA

  • The inaugural meeting of the PLIKA Academy at the SIL Barcelona fair brought together participants from across the region, spanning from the Netherlands to South Africa. Can you explain what PLIKA is and its core purpose? 

PLIKA, which stands for the Port Logistics International Knowledge Academy, is a transformative initiative designed to unite training centres, port authorities, and professionals in logistics and international trade on a collaborative platform. The core purpose of PLIKA is to foster connections, share knowledge, and collaborate to enhance the future of the port and logistics sectors. This network emerged from the need for a common space for work, similar to what we experienced during our highly successful European-funded project YEP MED ( In the conception of YEP MED, significant members of MEDports were involved, embedding the spirit of this association into PLIKA’s very DNA.

Currently, PLIKA is configured as a virtual campus where logistics-port communities can learn together. It provides a space where each group can express themselves freely, share and find information, and access resources that can be applied in learning processes, transitions, development of new procedures, and innovation. We envision PLIKA as a meeting point where international relationships and alliances can be established to improve procedures associated with international trade, transportation, and distribution operations. Our multimodal vision involves collaboration across all modes of transportation to brainstorm and create more sustainable logistics chains.

Within these logistics-port communities, training centres, companies, and related public administrations play a pivotal role. The focus is on personal growth for the individuals working within these organizations. Ultimately, our goal is to cultivate a generation of wise individuals who can serve as reference points and exemplars of the transformation processes that societies must face in the years to come

  • Who is the intended audience for PLIKA, and how do you plan to engage them? 

The primary audience for PLIKA includes training centres linked to ports, port authorities, and technology providers aiming to enhance training and development within the port and logistics sectors. Additionally, anyone who believes they can gain value from this collaborative network is welcome. Our engagement strategy involves creating opportunities for meaningful interactions and collaborations among these groups, promoting innovative training programmes, and facilitating the exchange of best practices and knowledge.

It is evident that the current members of the network have strong allies in the port authorities, which themselves belong to extensive networks of ports with significant influence. Word of mouth will undoubtedly play a crucial role in expanding our reach, however a key element is our collaborators. They are the driving force behind the network, and their activity on social media will not go unnoticed. Their passion for collaboration and their determination to drive change will ensure the network’s growth and will help attract new members.

These individuals share many commonalities: they work in a sector they love, they are curious and ambitious in their understanding of the modern world, and they believe deeply in what they do. We are committed to supporting them, enabling them to excel through a network that belongs to everyone. This collective ownership is where its strength and appeal lie. As illustrated in the famous movie “The Spanish Apartment,” you get what you bring. This metaphor beautifully captures the spirit we expect from the individuals and centres that are in the network.

  • Can you tell us about the founding entities of PLIKA and their roles in the network? 

The founding entities of PLIKA include key players from the YEP MED project, who have been instrumental in the initial development of our collaborative initiative. Educational centres are the main protagonists, as they play a crucial role in fostering innovation and collaboration within the international port communities. We have prioritised current key issues to ensure PLIKA develops effectively.

The governing body of PLIKA is responsible for making decisions that shape the direction and operations of the organization. Its members are:

  • President: Eduard Rodés, Director at the Escola Europea Intermodal Transport and leader of the YEP MED project.
  • Vice President: Alaa Morsy, Dean of the Port Training Institute from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport.
  • Vice President: Ana Rumbeu, Director of the Training Department of Fundación Valenciaport
  • Treasurer: Rabih Sabra, Director at Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon

These leaders provide strategic direction, contribute resources, and actively participate in PLIKA’s activities and committees. Their main priorities include:

  • Fostering Innovation: Promoting creativity and technological advancement through structured plans and collaborations.
  • Building Connections: Facilitating the establishment of new bilateral and multilateral relations between training centers, ports, and other organizations in the transportation and logistics industry.
  • Supporting Development: Developing new transport services through innovative technologies and approaches, promoting sustainability and efficiency in the transport and logistics sector.
  • Enhancing Education: Managing and promoting exchange and collaboration relationships between academic institutions to enhance PLIKA’s visibility and knowledge-sharing capabilities.

By focusing on these priorities, PLIKA aims to create a robust and dynamic platform that addresses the current and future needs of the international port and logistics community.

  • Who are the current members of PLIKA, and what key activities and initiatives are planned for the network? 

The founding members of PLIKA are the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, Port de Barcelona, Autorità di Sistema Portuale del Mar Tirreno Centro Settentrionale, Port of Valencia, Fundación Valenciaport, Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Office de la Marine Marchande et des Ports (OMMP), L’Institut Méditerranéen de Formation aux Métiers Maritimes (IMFMM), Aqaba Development Corporation, Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount-Lebanon and MEDports Association.

We are proud to announce that internationally renowned centres such as STC of Rotterdam and the Saudi Logistics Academy from Saudi Arabia have applied and been admitted to PLIKA. Additionally, other training centres, including the Instituto de Logística de Barcelona and ECAT Lluisa Cura of Barcelona, have also joined.

This initial group of members represents a significant and impactful start, bringing together prestigious institutions ready to collaborate. Their ambition and belief in the timely launch of this initiative provide immense energy for all involved.

Our planned initiatives include workshops, collaborative projects, and the development of new educational programmes and technologies aimed at enhancing the port and logistics sectors. Among the initial activities, we aim to foster student and teacher exchanges and conduct joint activities through telematic tools, similar to what was done with YEP MED. We are committed to applying everything we have learned to develop a new way of teaching, where students and teachers are the main protagonists – always focusing on the job market.

These activities are designed to promote continuous learning, innovation, and professional development among our members.

By facilitating the exchange of knowledge and best practices, we aim to create a dynamic and supportive environment that drives the advancement of our industry.

  • Finally, can you tell us what was the driving force was behind your decision to launch PLIKA and embark on this ambitious initiative? 

The driving force behind launching PLIKA was the belief that port communities can be the spearhead of the social transformation our planet urgently needs. We face numerous transitions—energy, environmental, digital, and governance, to name a few. These transitions require collective effort, which is where the concept of Ubuntu comes into play. Ubuntu, a South African philosophy, emphasises caring for others and is based on the belief in a universal human bond. It suggests that humans can overcome challenges because they are fundamentally connected to one another. This interconnectedness fosters mutual support and collective resilience, making it possible to achieve significant and sustainable progress.

Ports are uniquely positioned for such a transformation because they already function as a global network. They share crucial elements such as English as the lingua franca, ships, maritime business practices, and international associations that regulate their activities. Networks of professionals like shipping agents, freight forwarders, customs brokers, and customs authorities work collaboratively in ways that are not common in other sectors. This existing framework facilitates the development of collective knowledge, which can be transformed into collective intelligence aimed at positive change.

At PLIKA, we believe that this collective intelligence should be guided by strong values, comprehensive knowledge, and scientific and technical progress. These elements are the fundamental basis on which to build a better future. Inspired by Ubuntu, PLIKA aims to create a network based on trust, creativity, and the shared goal of making a positive impact.

It would be great to see if any members of the MED Mosaic community would be interested in becoming PLIKERS. The Escola, and PLIKA, values fresh voices, and as such we are enthusiastic about the unique insights and contributions that new members can offer.

This initiative is about uniting efforts to achieve greater, sustainable progress, embodying the spirit of “Wish it, dream it, do it.” Together, we are here to make it happen.