Ports are key elements of the European Transport System. Over 90% of Europe's trade with the rest of the world (and almost half of intra-European trade) is shipped through ports and expected figures are much more impressive for the future: the European Sea Ports Organisation estimates that traffic in European ports will double from 2006 to 2015. At the same time, constraints (in terms of ships' size, ships' calls, available space, etc.) and requirements (in terms of environmental protection, security, safety, profitability, etc.) will have severely increased.
Such a future scenario emphasises the needs of European ports for further developments and innovations. Therefore, investments in research, development and innovation (RDI) for ports represent several billions of Euros each year. However, various RDI projects have been realised in the past which never passed the commercialisation threshold. As ports are nodal points for the repartition of goods through inland transport networks, failure in one port has consequences for the entire supply chain. Issues of RDI activities and associated investments in ports are therefore of major importance for the future development of a sustainable transport system.
CAPOEIRA concentrates on maximising the opportunities for successful RDI in the field of freight transport activities in ports.
The objectives of CAPOEIRA were:
- To improve the chances of success of applied research in the field of freight transport in ports (terminal and intermodal aspects).
- To identify critical factors for success and determine recommendations concerning future RDI projects.
- To help to define a research roadmap at short, medium and long terms (until 2020) with all actors (ports, operators, industrial manufacturer, state administrations, trades unions, technological platform and advisory councils).
In such a context, CAPOEIRA aimed at minimising the risks of public or private investments in RDI activities in ports, i.e. to contribute to a better commercial success rate of future projects and products. CAPOEIRA concentrated on RDI in the field of freight transport activities in ports (handling, ICT, inland networks' access etc.).
The project was divided into six work packages (WPs):
WP 1 - Project management
WP 2 - Assessment of past research projects
WP 3 - Diagnosis of the present situation
WP 4 - Assumptions on the future
WP 5 - Conclusions and recommendations and
WP 6 - Dissemination.
CAPOEIRA began by identifying critical factors for RDI success through the analysis of failures and successes of previous projects, and of RDI activities in three representative European ports over the last ten years. Based on the analysis of the present situation and of the visions for the future of the relevant actors, guidelines for current and future RDI projects were then produced, and common port research topics were issued for short, medium and long terms.
It was a question, at any given time within the lifespan of this Coordination Action, of combining 'who' (the society), 'with what' (techniques) and 'where' (the territory) and thus ensuring that the 'offer' (the innovation) is actually a response to a 'demand' and minimise the risks of research and associated investments (public and private). This approach is called the 'Techniques - society - territory' (TST) approach. The TST process was structured around the following activities:
- Data collection;
- Data processing;
- Assessment and validation by concerned actors and experts.
The approach was divided into separate stages of action, namely:
- Stage 1: reading of documents;
- Stage 2: TST model design;
- Stage 3: interviews of actors;
- Stage 4: TST model development;
- Stage 5: analysis and reporting;
- Stage 6: workshop realisation.
A TST model was specifically designed and developed so as to address the implementation stage of an innovation. The TST sub-systems contained the necessary elements to form an adequate model.
As found during this research, the impact of implementation efforts (before, during and after) will be maximised if:
- they are based on an understanding and assessment over time of the interactions between an innovation, a local situation and a global context at the level of the interrelations of the concerned actors, techniques, territories;
- they have been planned in an appropriate way in collaboration with local actors;
- representatives of the various stakeholder groups are involved in the process in an appropriate way; experts may be involved, especially if behaviours to be adopted are complex;
- social marketing principles are considered for animation and communication;
- support and involvement from top level management and champions is secured;
- monitoring, controlling and reporting activities are ensured on a transparent, continuous and regular basis;
- adequate training is ensured;
- follow-up support is provided, in order to avoid reverting to the previous situation and to ensure a successful long-term change;
- they are assessed (notably mistakes) to be built upon.
The research team recommends the following:
- An association must be made between men and research, whether they are financial decision-makers or investors.
- Training linked to research should become an investment and not an expense.
- The EU has to take these facts into account and to consider them while making its assessments. Training must become a tool supporting research results, it must not be alms given to academics to support their laboratories.
CAPOEIRA aimed to 'minimise risks of research in ports environment'. Pragmatically speaking this concerns identifying framework conditions for research project success and failures.
For that purpose a dedicated approach (the TST approach, for techniques, society and territories) has been built (however, and as expressed below, some aspects need to be detailed) and applied. Initiated by one of the CAPOEIRA partners during his doctorate, the design of the approach has been pursued in order to finally offer a tool actually allowing addressing the complexity and transversality of research by integrating different scientific corpus, distinct methodologies and the vision of time.
In parallel a primary concern has been actors' mobilisation: professionals coming from various fields (port business, industries and research organisations,