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29 November 2021 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 15:11 GMT+1



FEMAR CONFERENCE
Future Educational Challenges for Maritime Information Society
Il ruolo della formazione e delle tecnologie dell'informazione
per lo sviluppo dell'economia marittima
    COMMISSIONE EUROPEA
REGIONE LIGURIA
MARIS
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.


  1. 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 information infrastructures".

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.


  1. MARIS - The Maritime Information Society Pilot Project

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 in Genoa.

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:


MARSOURCE

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.


SAFEMAR

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.


MARVEL

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 ship operation.


FEMAR

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 and projects.

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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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 story.

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 Information Society.

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.


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