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‘Attitude, knowledge, expertise and innovation’ – key ingredients for lifting port industry safety standards

The Safety in Maintenance Operations Conference was hosted by the Spanish Maintenance Association last month in Madrid. It brough together industry leaders, including APM Terminals’ Technical Competency Specialist, Ivan Garcia Jorquera. During the session he was able to gain valuable feedback on the company’s ambitious collaboration with Original Equipment Manufacturers to develop a Technical Competence Framework that will establish an industry benchmark for technical professional development and lift standards of safety in the port industry.

The aim of this conference was to inform and raise awareness of the importance of safety in maintenance operations.

During his presentation, "Competence Development Systems: Mitigating Operational Risk and Improving Workplace Safety", García highlighted the key role of competence development in reducing operational risks and fostering a safe working environment but was clear that this was just one ingredient. “Attitude towards safety is just as vital as knowledge and skills for the promoting of exemplary and safe behaviours in the workplace,” he said.

Juan José Gómez, PhD in Maintenance from the University of Cadiz, highlighted the evolution of roles within maintenance management and the imperative of collaboration between asset owners and equipment manufacturers for effective maintenance - a key success factor in APM Terminals Technical Competence Framework.

Digital anxiety

Claudio Rodriguez, president of the Spanish Maintenance Association, highlighted the key role of digital transformation in maintenance operations. While digitalisation promises efficiency gains, Rodriguez highlighted the inherent risks associated with this change, such as the slow adaptability of equipment and the anxiety induced by rapid technological change. 

He stressed that modern maintenance engineers must not only understand the design and functionality of equipment, but also effectively manage its lifecycle. Rodriguez stressed the importance of excellence in execution, emphasising the combination of efficiency and safety over mere compliance with procedures.

Alfonso Masovier, director of Audelco, focussed on two key pillars: organisational culture and technological advances. He emphasised the need for a supportive organisational culture that aligns with safety principles, highlighting the discrepancy in standards between principals and contractors. 

Technology to reduce risk

He also explored the role of technology in risk reduction, citing innovations such as exoskeletons, robots, drones and equipment lockout management systems. These technologies not only improve worker efficiency, but also contribute to risk awareness and mitigation through remote training, video inspections and artificial intelligence-based analytics. 

A number of innovative solutions were also welcomed at the conference. IFS presented "Poka", a software that uses QR codes on equipment to provide guided inspections in augmented reality. The system registers nearby incidents and facilitates equipment monitoring and fault notification through maintenance tools based on generative artificial intelligence.


Drukatt demonstrated the production of customised parts and spares using 3D printing, reducing costs and avoiding the purchase of complete sets of equipment, while the use of drone inspections for inaccessible areas, such as tanks and cranes – already in use at some of APM Terminals facilities - was presented by Elektra Group. Magnon Green Energy, presented a bracelet solution that alerts workers to the proximity of vehicles, preventing hit-and-run accidents.

“The knowledge gained at this event will undoubtedly catalyse ongoing efforts to raise safety standards in our own Asset Management Strategy for 2030 and drive transformational change across the industrial maintenance sector,” concludes García, reflecting on the conferences call to action for organisations to prioritise competence development as a cornerstone of safety culture and operational excellence.


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Ivan Garcia, APM Terminals

Spanish Maintenance Association

Development Partner, Dot Consulting