We are STM – Albert Gonzalez, Head of IT Management Services, Barcelona Port Authority
“What motivates me is how we are going to make STM operational. In Barcelona our strategy is think BIG, act small. We will start with one of the smaller terminals before implementing it in the whole port, while working together with other European ports taking the STM path."
Well Albert, who are you?
My name is Albert Gonzalez and I am the Head of IT Management Services at the Barcelona Port Authority. Basically I am responsible for all IT development within the port authority and initiatives that encompasses the Port of Barcelona cluster.
How would describe STM to someone who has never heard of the concept?
Sea Traffic Management, STM, is a concept based on information sharing, that when applied in a port will improve efficiency, green steaming and the accuracy of all ship and port operations.
Albert, you work for the Barcelona Port Authority, how are you and your organization contributing to the Sea Traffic Management Validation Project?
Barcelona is one of thirteen ports that have demonstrated port aspect of STM, Port Collaborative Decision Making. We have run two focus months where the information of many of the port calls have been entered in the information sharing platform either automatically from other systems or manually by the different parties involved. This has shown the enormous potential that could be achieved through improved information sharing, and also the complexity when there are different business models for different kinds of goods, different ownership of terminals and other actors.
How do you find working within STM?
My colleagues have had experiences of other EU-funded projects, so they set my expectations very low. But the STM Validation project has been a pleasant surprise. Different partners really share experiences and we gained a lot of value from the other partners. The network within project is one that will continue after the project and will be useful both for the port and for myself in the future. It is sometimes hard to find the time in the busy daily operational life, but meeting the other ports has been good use of my time.
How does Barcelona plan to continue the work?
We like how STM is about thinking BIG. However, we are choosing a strategy to act SMALL, and get a quick proof point of the added value. We will choose one terminal and adapt the IT-systems involved. We will make mistakes on a small scale before rolling out our solutions across the whole port. We believe that Barcelona will have a unique software solution but one that adheres to all the STM standards for data formats and information exchange. Following standards is a must for all STM-compatible solutions across the world. The standards are the foundation we build on.
How will STM succeed?
For ports, the challenge will be to get the big actors involved, the big ports and terminal operators are necessary for STM to happen for real. All actors believe that STM could be beneficial, but it is a challenge to go from demonstrations to real life operations. I believe it is necessary to find groups of actors with similar challenges work together, e.g. similar size of ports, similar types of cargo, similar IT maturity level for example regarding Port Community System. I have high hopes for the suggested Ports of Call-project where major European ports will work together, like Hamburg, Rotterdam, Barcelona, Valencia and many more.
How does STM contribute to the future shipping society?
Our focus is rather on the port society. I believe that ports implementing STM will be more competitive, by being more predictive and improving the efficiency. In the long run, this will make maritime transport a more attractive alternative.