Future Educational Challenges for Maritime Information Society
Il ruolo della formazione e delle tecnologie dell'informazione
per lo sviluppo dell'economia marittima
In collaborazione con
AMRIE e con il Forum MARIS di Genova
MARIS AFTER FOUR YEARS
HELMUT SCHMITT VON SYDOW
Direttore Direzione Generale Imprese - Commissione europea
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my privilege and my honour to present
to you a summary of MARIS - the MARitime Information Society Initiative
- after four years of work. As you may be aware the European Commission
leads this initiative together with Canada and has hosted the
MARIS secretariat since the beginning of this pilot project under
the umbrella of the G-8 Global Information Society Initiative.
MARIS was created as an entirely open framework, allowing all
kinds of contributions - technical, political, societal - on all
kinds of levels - regional, industrial, governmental. There has
always been only one constraint: Ideas, activities and projects
must benefit the maritime sectors in their successful participation
in the evolving global information society. Let me start with
a few words about the G-8 Global Information Society Initiative
before I come to MARIS itself.
- The Global Information Society Initiative of
the G-8 Group
The ever increasing importance of "information" as an
universal resource has a significant impact on our societies:
We already see how traditional rigid organisational structures
are giving way to more flexible, decentralised and participatory
models which transform the workings of society, the economy and
public and private institutions.
Following the Bangemann Report of 1994, the seven most industrialised
countries of the world (G-7) devoted a special conference in Brussels
in February 1995 on the global Information Society. The seven
Heads of State and Government - Russia was added later and
G-7 consequently became G-8 - had decided that the conference
should discuss the means by which to "encourage and promote
the innovation and development of new technologies, including,
in particular, the implementation of open, competitive, and world-wide
Since this challenge goes far beyond the national political spheres,
the Brussels conference defined a set of common principles by
which the necessary international co-operation was to be organised.
The resulting eight core principles were:
- Promotion of fair and dynamic competition;
- Encouragement of private investment;
- Definition of an adaptable regulatory framework;
- Open access to networks;
- Universal provision of and access to services;
- Equal opportunity for all citizens;
- Promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity;
- World-wide co-operation, especially with less developed countries.
Ministers used the opportunity of this conference to identify
eleven selected joint pilot projects. The projects selected were
aimed at demonstrating the potential of the Information Society
through a wide range of applications.
It would be leading too far to name all of the pilot projects,
but it is important to know that only MARIS is a project directly
related to industry and its competitiveness. As a matter of fact
MARIS is not a pilot project in the strictest sense, but rather
a set of pilot application areas. It therefore has the great advantage
to be able to fill the somewhat elusive objectives of the Global
Information Society Initiative with concrete meaning.
- MARIS - The Maritime Information Society Pilot
MARIS was initially organised in four sub-projects covering in
the broadest sense shipbuilding, sea transport, maritime safety,
fisheries and the marine environment. The fifth project on maritime
education and training - called FEMAR - was added in 1998 and
it is this element of MARIS which brings us together today here
The MARIS projects were designed to create synergies in the different
application fields, avoid incompatible developments and create
structures for future co-operation between maritime players around
the world. Awareness of new types of technologies and services
among the potential user communities should be raised. The more
technical objectives that are pursued in the MARIS projects are:
- To increase the competitiveness of maritime industries;
- To enhance logistic efficiency and support transport intermodalism;
- To improve maritime safety;
- To protect marine environments and resources.
I will not go into much detail concerning the MARIS sub-projects
but I would like to give you their basic descriptions:
Fisheries is characterised by a lack of transparency, over-exploitation
of resources, outdated marketing methods, extended logistic chains
and a strong need for the exchange of complex data between partners.
MARSOURCE is a fisheries and marine environment information network
which connects various existing databases. The project aims to
improve transparency in the fisheries sector for the benefit of
public authorities and private operators concerned. The MARSOURCE
Internet site provides the fishing community with data on resources,
aquaculture, research and real-time market data for the electronic
trade in fisheries.
MARTRANS (now INFOLOG/MARTRANS)
MARTRANS aims at the development of information technology applications
to support seamless intermodal transport in the framework of efficient
supply chain management. Applications are being developed to support
mainly the following areas: Simulation of intermodal freight flows,
automated transport booking and ordering, seamless tracing and
tracking and EDI for small and medium sized enterprises. The projects
in MARTRANS deal with cutting edge technology without forgetting
user-friendliness and cost-effectiveness which are the cornerstones
of the information society. In order to reflect the changing character
of marine transport towards integrated intermodal chains MARTRANS
has been renamed to INFOLOG/MARTRANS.
The consequences to the environment, and local economies, when
maritime disasters occur, are enormous, so there is clearly a
global need to improve accident prevention capabilities. At the
same time, the efficiency of maritime transportation is crucial
in a very competitive marketplace and there is a need to balance
efficiency with the need for global environmental protection and
safety of navigation. SAFEMAR is developing solutions for safer
ship control and communication, both on-board and ashore. The
project supports the implementation of international directives,
conventions and resolutions in the field of maritime safety. The
main topics are the creation of a Vessel Traffic Management and
Information System, which will also include electronic chart features,
and the development of integrated ship control systems. SAFEMAR
activities are contributing to quality in shipping.
Industrial production and engineering are deeply affected by the
developments that we have come to summarise under the term "globalisation".
Trans-national and international co-operation is important in
order to realise efficient production for global markets. Ships
are traditionally large "One of a Kind Products", and
the development goes towards a highly customised production with
increased out-sourcing of manufacturing processes and work sharing
between different producers. In addition the shipbuilding industry
is increasingly relying on world-wide equipment supply. Real-time
information is essential for such co-operative manufacturing on
a global level. MARVEL aims at the development of information
and communication technologies for the intelligent manufacturing
of ships and other complex maritime systems. Shipyards and their
suppliers are linked into world-wide engineering and procurement
networks in order to improve their global competitiveness. Related
European projects are defining, specifying and implementing tools
for business processes in shipbuilding, ship surveillance and
FEMAR aims to stress the need for information-technology related
training within the maritime sector. It intends to promote a more
cohesive approach towards maritime education and training which
could result in a framework for maritime training. Whereas the
other four sub-projects in MARIS are focusing on specific industry
branches, FEMAR follows a horizontal approach. It contributes
to the implementation of results obtained in the four "vertical"
projects. This is of particular interest to coastal regions as
their industries depend heavily on maintaining their competitiveness
by introducing advanced technologies. I hope that today we will
be able to define a scope for future FEMAR-related activities
An important component in the MARIS approach is that it is user-driven.
The project areas and the focus for the applications are defined
according to needs specified by users in the maritime sectors.
Most of the applications that have been developed are based on
existing technology and on technical infrastructures and telecom
services that are already being used today. MARIS seeks primarily
to link existing systems to create global maritime networks.
As I mentioned before, improving the competitiveness of maritime
industries is our major concern and MARIS is one of our instruments.
Innovation is an extremely important issue when it comes to competitiveness.
The MARIS sub-projects have produced innovative solutions that
will play a role in the shaping of our maritime future. Information
about and the dissemination of results, especially for small and
medium sized companies (SMEs), is equally important. This is a
major work item for the MARIS regional network which will take
up its technical work in the coming weeks, after financing through
an EU regional co-operation programme has been arranged. The work
programme of the network foresees to ask a representative number
of local SMEs that are active in all relevant maritime sectors
about their specific innovation needs with regard to products,
processes and organisation. Subsequently they will be supported
in the take up of innovative solutions.
Due to the thematical variety in MARIS there was never a fixed
list of participants. Government bodies and agencies, regional
organisations, professional associations, research institutes
and universities as well as private companies from manufacturing
and service sectors play a role in MARIS on project or policy
level. They come from Europe, the G-8 states and other countries
around the world. Co-operation is flexibly established on a case
by case basis.
- Activities and Achievements in MARIS
After four years MARIS has reached a mature state - with regard
to both the organisational framework and the technical contents:
On the G-8 level an organisational structure has been established
with partners in all Member Countries. The awareness of MARIS
around the world is significant, thanks to the numerous activities
that were undertaken and the strong commitment of the people involved.
Carrying the G-8 label has been extremely helpful to make MARIS
a success. Although maritime business has been subject to "globalisation"
for a long time, the visibility of MARIS that was brought about
through the G-8 framework has significantly helped to gain momentum
and establish a fruitful discussion on the future impact of IT
in the maritime world.
MARIS has already seen a significant enlargement beyond the G-8
countries. The Mediterranean, Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea Region,
Latin America and Eastern Asia have become new focus points and
partnerships are evolving on various levels.
The sub-projects have progressed very well: The MARSOURCE web-site
is highly successful; MARTRANS (now INFOLOG/MARTRANS) has created
a number of very useful technical projects and new ones have been
added this year; SAFEMAR projects are pushing the technological
edge in their field and help to implement the latest safety standards;
solutions from MARVEL offer the shipbuilding and ship-repair industry
significant cost and time advantages while maintaining high product
quality and production flexibility.
On the regional level the MARIS network was formally inaugurated
in May 1997. The network currently comprises four nodes with offices
in Bilbao (Spain), Bremen (Germany), Genoa (Italy) and Helsinki
(Finland), but in the meantime other European regions have joined
as associated partners and currently specialised offices, e.g.
for MARSOURCE, are set up. The regional network serves as a flexible
and user oriented interface between local maritime industries
and activities in the information society framework. Experiences
in technology transfer and innovation support will be shared with
interested parties around the world.
Up to now more than 40 technical projects have officially received
the MARIS label. The label was introduced to identify projects
that are relevant to the building of the Maritime Information
Society and could serve as reference activities. So far a total
of more than 30 workshops covering the various MARIS sub-projects
were held in 15 countries.
Through its Internet site MARIS serves as an information pool
for contact points, activities and projects world-wide that contribute
to the building of the maritime information society. In addition
MARIS has provided intellectual support for focused events that
aim at the promotion and the dissemination of information and
communication technologies for maritime applications.
- Conclusions and Perspectives for the Future
Building the maritime information society is an on-going task.
The first building blocks have been put together and the first
success stories have been written. The maritime world is not homogeneous
and it comes as no surprise that some sectors are moving faster
than others do:
Where technical demands and strong international competition have
forced an early adaptation of advanced information technologies
(e.g. in shipbuilding or in intermodal transport) MARIS builds
on existing solutions and therefore focuses mainly on interconnectivity
and the dissemination of results to players not yet involved,
which is nevertheless a challenging task.
In other sectors such as fisheries, market, and to some extent,
behavioural aspects are dominant over technology aspects. This
is to say that although solutions are already commercially available,
information technologies are not embraced on a sufficient scale.
Here education and training as well as stable and inexpensive
infrastructures supporting electronic commerce are crucial and
MARIS is actively working on this.
To improve maritime safety adequate regulatory frameworks on global
level are needed to establish the developed solutions in the field
since they foremost serve public interests and do not necessarily
add economic value in the short term. However, the resulting equipment
markets could (and sometimes already do) provide new business
opportunities on a significant scale and the costs that do not
occur when accidents are avoided should not be under-estimated.
The G-8 co-ordinators for the Global Information Society Initiative
have decided to end all pilot project by the end of 1999 but it
is obvious that MARIS-related activities will continue beyond
1999, because the maritime sector increasingly embraces advanced
IT solutions. New technical projects are created, e.g. in Europe
under the EU's 5th Framework Programme on R&D where the information
society and industrial competitiveness play an important role.
Moreover MARIS will continue with dissemination and awareness
activities, focussing on selected applications in various maritime
sectors and putting special emphasis on regional maritime players
and the involvement of SMEs.
The more IT solutions find their way into the maritime sector,
the more the need for accompanying education and training will
evolve. Without this crucial element the new technologies cannot
be exploited to the full benefit of industrial competitiveness.
Today's conference on FEMAR should serve as a kick-off for more
discussions on this important subject, hopefully leading to projects
and other initiatives which can help to continue the MARIS success
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your kind attention. I wish
you an interesting and pleasant conference. I am confident that
this conference here today will contribute to a further development
of MARIS and I expect that this successful initiative will continue
to play an important role in the evolving global information society.
È mio grande piacere ed onore presentarvi un resoconto
dell'attività di MARIS - the MARitime Information Society
Initiative - dopo quattro anni di lavoro. La Commissione europea,
che guida questa iniziativa insieme con il Canada, ha ospitato
il Segretariato di MARIS fin dall'inizio di questo progetto pilota
nato sotto l'ombrello della iniziativa varata dal G8 sulla Global
MARIS fu creato come una struttura aperta a tutti i tipi di contributi,
tecnici, politici, sociali, da qualunque livello arrivino, regionale,
industriale, governativo. La sola limitazione era che il settore
marittimo dovesse beneficiare delle idee, attività e progetti.
A seguito del rapporto Bangemann del 1994 il G7 dedicò
una conferenza speciale a Bruxelles nel febbraio 1995 sulla Global
Information Society. Il G7, in seguito allargato alla Russia,
decise che la conferenza avrebbe dovuto discutere i mezzi per
"incoraggiare e promuovere l'innovazione e lo sviluppo delle
nuove tecnologie, incluso, in particolare, l'implementazione di
infrastrutture dell'informazione aperte, competitive e allargate
a tutto il mondo".
Siccome questa sfida superava le tradizionali sfere delle politiche
nazionali la conferenza di Bruxelles definì una serie di
principi comuni attorno ai quali poteva essere organizzata la
cooperazione internazionale. I risultanti otto principi cardine
erano: la promozione della libera e dinamica competizione, l'incoraggiamento
all'investimento privato, la definizione di un'adattabile struttura
di regolazione, l'accesso aperto ai network, l'universale accesso
al servizio, uguali opportunità per tutti i cittadini,
la promozione della diversità linguistica e culturale,
e infine la cooperazione internazionale specialmente nei riguardi
dei paesi meno sviluppati.
Da questa conferenza e sulla base di questi principi vennero identificati
sette congiunti progetti pilota.
Bisogna sottolineare che di questi progetti solo MARIS è
direttamente correlato all'industria e allo sviluppo della sua
competitività, da raggiungersi attraverso il rafforzamento
dell'efficienza logistica e del supporto al trasporto intermodale,
il miglioramento delle condizioni nel campo della sicurezza della
navigazione e la protezione dell'ambiente e delle risorse marine.
Per raggiungere questi obiettivi MARIS si divise pertanto in cinque
sotto progetti ognuno dedicato ai vari settori dell'economia marittima,
ai quali l'applicazione delle nuove tecnologie dell'informazione
potrà apportare significativi vantaggi: MARSOURCE (pesca
e ambiente marino), MARTRANS (trasporto intermodale), SAFEMAR
(sicurezza nella navigazione), MARVEL (cantieristica), FEMAR (formazione).
Già il programma MARIS, grazie alla sua significativa importanza,
ha incontrato un grande successo ad ogni livello, sia globale
(si è infatti esteso ad altri paesi al di fuori del gruppo
dei G8 e, oltre al Mediterraneo, alla Scandinavia e alla Regione
Baltica, anche l'America Latina e l'Asia orientale sono diventati
nuovi nodi di sviluppo) sia locale con lo sviluppo dei network
regionali, vero punto di contatto tra le aziende marittime e le
attività nel quadro della società dell'informazione.
Quello di estenderne i benefici al mondo marittimo è tuttavia
un lavoro in via di sviluppo essendo questo un settore non omogeneo
dove non è sorprendente che alcune parti si muovano più
veloci di altre; per questo motivo, tutte le attività correlate
al programma MARIS continueranno oltre la fine del 1999, data
in cui i coordinatori del G8 avevano previsto la fine dei progetti
pilota relativi all'iniziativa Global Information Society.
Il settore marittimo sta infatti sempre di più implementando
soluzioni legate alle tecnologie dell'informazione, ed è
quindi ovvio come in parallelo aumenti il bisogno di corsi di
educazione e formazione per chi vi si accosta. La Conferenza FEMAR
ha esattamente lo scopo di rilanciare nuove discussioni su questo
argomento, sperando che guidi a un ulteriore sviluppo di successo
del programma MARIS.