The EU co-financed project TECHLOG launches the Eastern Living Lab in Beirut in presence of partners and representatives from academia and trans(port) industry.
In the framework of the 3rd TECHLOG Steering Committee meetings that took place in Beirut, on 18 & 19 October 2022, the Chamber of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, partner in the project, organized the launch event of the Eastern Living Lab pertaining to the technological transfer for logistics innovation in Mediterranean area. The launch event and Steering Committee meetings took place in presence of the TECHLOG consortium partners from Italy, Spain, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon as well as Lebanese and Egyptian stakeholders from port, logistics, innovation labs and academic institutions.
Most Mediterranean sectors need to foster connections between research, development, and education, from one side, and, the business, from the other side. Unfortunately, many tools used and developed by research and academic actors do not match with actual market needs. Ports and transport are no exception to this situation. TECHLOG aims to strengthen ties between academia and the (trans)port industry (namely the transport inside port areas) in the Mediterranean region. Concretely, TECHLOG will encourage joint Technology Transfer Initiatives (TTI) to achieve common quality standards for transport and port specialized staff.
Mr. Rabih Sabra, Director General of Beirut Chamber welcomed the partners and participants form Italy, Spain, Tunisia, Egypt, and Lebanon and shed lights on the Chamber’s leading role in ENI CBC MED projects for years. He emphasized the relevance of TECHLOG since it will not only enhance the partnership between Northern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean Basin but will also give Lebanon and the port and transport community of Beirut an opportunity to upscale its workforce skills and to benefit from the technology transfer through the new living labs network.
In the opening session several key speakers took the floor such as: Mrs. Alessia Squarcella, Deputy Head of Cooperation from the EU Delegation in Lebanon, Dr. Kassem Rahhal, Advisor to the Lebanese Minister of Public Works Advisor, Professors, Gianfranco Fancello & Patrizia Serra, from University of Cagliari, the Lead Beneficiary of the TECHLOG project who presented the TECHLOG objectives and scope, and Dr. Sandra Haddad, Vice Dean at Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport (AASTMT) who elaborated the TECHLOG eastern Living Lab’s aims and activities.
Mrs. Hana Nehme, Head of Development projects at Beirut Chamber opened the axes of discussions between the Lebanese stakeholders and the project partners on innovation challenges and needs, alignment of academic approach, and opportunities offered by the TECHLOG project. An open discussion between the stakeholders took place. They all agreed on having common standards between the 5 country partners such as: safety measures especially when it comes to truck transportation. But they all tackled that regarding this subject, the government’s policies in the partners countries are not the same, which can be a hindrance. Raising awareness, related to laws and lobbying is one of the key actions that must be done to set the light on this critical issue, is part of the advice given during this round table. Also, training must and will be given to truck drivers about road safety, an action that has been already taken by the Chamber of Beirut. Increasing the cooperation process that has been launched during this 3rd steering committee is the next step. To improve all stakeholders, must come together especially academia, research and the business sector and the governments.
Among the Lebanese stakeholders who attended the event, namely, Mr. Karim Jazzar , Deputy HR Director, Merit Group- CMA CGM, Dr. Daniel Asmar, professor at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Mrs. Sandra Abboud ESA Business School, Dr. Marcel Hinain, Vice president at the American University of Technology (AUT), and Mr. Ramzi Salamé Secretary General National road safety council.
Professor Gianfranco Fancello, from University of Cagliari, explained: “The Living Lab is a very important tool to create a common platform, a common environment to create a collaboration between industry and research to define, and solve a common problem, exchange activities and create a share program and policy between the 5 countries involved in the project.”
The event was concluded by the signature of two cooperation agreements in innovation and training between AASTMT and the Egyptian Global Logistics and Ship & C.R.E.W and the AASTMT.
The event was followed by a visit to the Chamber of Beirut headquarter where the trucks simulators lab was inaugurated in presence of TECHLOG partners. The Steering committee meetings started in the afternoon and the day of 19 October to evaluate the progress of working packages activities within the set action plan and timeline and the upcoming activities pertaining to TECHLOG living labs functionalities and digital platform. A welcome Lebanese dinner at Beirut Marina Bay's waterfront brought all partners and guests together to enjoy authentic Mediterranean cuisine as the two-day conference came to an end.
Follow along for the launch of the TECHLOG Western Living Lab set to take place on November 23, 2022 in Sfax, Tunisia following the successful launch of the Eastern Living Lab in Beirut.
TECHLOG (Technological Transfer for Logistics Innovation in Mediterranean area) duration is and EU co-financed project of 30 months with a total budget of €3.4 million, of which €3.1 million (90%) is funded by the European Union. The project partners are the University of Cagliari of Italy (Lead beneficiary), the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Agriculture of Maremma and Tirino (Italy), the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (Egypt), the European School of Short Shipping, EEIG (Spain), and the Federation of Egyptian European Business Associations (Egypt) ), the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon (Lebanon), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sfax (Tunisia), and Sfax University (Tunisia).