Porto Lab is a project born in 2006 to illustrate the life and work inside a port: a hidden and for safety reasons almost inaccessible world and one that is, little known to the public.
Through visits to the terminals, the Contship Diary and the Porto Lab 2.0 digital project, the Contship Italia Group and the project’s partners reveal the port, the intermodal terminals and logistics to fourth and fifth year students from Italian elementary schools.
Porto Lab visits to container terminals
In spring this year, between March to May, every Tuesday and Thursday, the maritime terminals of La Spezia, Ravenna, and Marina di Carrara and the intermodal centre of Melzo (MI) welcome visitors from the classes of elementary schools in the region the territory, escorting them throughout a unique experience, which, thanks to an innovative and stimulating methodology, makes available to teaching activities competences, values and contents from the port and intermodal logistics worlds.
Each year, around 2,000 children wear the Porto Lab yellow helmet, a customized pass and a high-visibility jacket, and enter Contship Italia Group terminals, chaperoned by Porto Lab Tutors.
Container terminals become open-air laboratories, full of ideas, activities and information rich in didactic and educational value.
During the Porto Lab visits comparisons can be made between yesterday's and today's means of transportation and trades, but it also possible to discuss about safety at work, geography, logic, mathematics and history; kids can learn about units of measurement and new words, in Italian and English, and learn more about women and men who work inside the terminals, their jobs and their educational and professional paths.
Escorted by the Porto Lab Tutors, the classes can interact with personnel from operational, commercial, customs and public safety offices, who simulate customs inspections, share details about the functioning of the operations center, quay and yard activities, vehicles and terminal equipment.
First-hand experience is the added value which allows children to understand the relevance of port and terminal activities for the economic and social development of the region.
The Contship Diary
The visits certainly represent an important and meaningful moment, but the broader objective of the Porto Lab project is to involve the children in an organic journey, offering new ideas, insights and activities which can be explored before and after their experience at the terminal.
In order to offer kids and the classes an additional tool, useful throughout the entire scholastic year, over 10,000 Contship Diaries are designed, printed and distributed free of charge every year.
With a creative and editorial effort which is unique in its genre, made possible by the support of the project’s partners, Contship designs a new diary every year, characterized by a main topic (such as the mind, sustainability or energy) and full of experiments, data and curiosities linked to such theme.
The diary is produced using special characters, designed to be easily readable by kids with dyslexia problems, and it features all contents in two languages (Italian and English).
Porto Lab 2.0
The Porto Lab 2.0 project was born in the first months of 2020, when, due to the COVID-19 emergency, it became necessary to suspend the school visits to the maritime terminals and the intermodal center of Melzo.
To continue to keep the project alive, and offer value to the partners who continued to support this initiative, even during such a difficult year, and above all to offer the classes a concrete help in support of distance learning, the Porto Lab 2.0 project was established.
With Porto Lab 2.0 we tried to digitalize a part of the experience, contents and activities traditionally carried out in presence, to make them accessible online.
In addition to gathering and organizing a series of resources, developed in the past years, we are working to create original contents, even more engaging for the kids, and even more effective from a didactic and educational point of view.
Porto Lab figures and numbers
Almost fifteen years have passed, since the beginning of the Porto Lab project, which reached in 2020 its fourteenth edition.
So far, 110 schools, 1,000 classes and around 30,000 kids, more than 2,000 each year, have lived as protagonists for a day, together with by their teachers, the world of ports and of intermodal centers.
The Porto Lab project has been made possible by the commitment of the tutors and the support of the partners, private companies and public institutions which continue to believe in this ambitious and demanding adventure: AON, Gruppo Grendi, Gruppo Bedeschi, Brieda Cabins, SKF Logistics Services, Sapir, Kuenz, INAIL La Spezia, AdSP del mar Ligure orientale, AdSP del Mare Adriatico centro settentrionale.
Porto Lab for teachers
The Porto Lab team is constantly looking for highly motivated teachers and classes, willing to undertake a quality educational journey.