December newsletter from Immediate Past President, Loes Aarts, and new President Gavin Hill
Dear HVTT Forum family
My two terms as President of the International Forum for Heavy Vehicle Transport & Technology are now over. My presidency was marked by the farewell to the founding fathers of the HVTT Forum, the evolution from the International Forum for Road Transport Technology (IFRTT) to the International Forum for Heavy Vehicle Transport & Technology (HVTT Forum), COVID-19, and the further convergence of road, vehicles and logistics as one system.
Bringing together different disciplines to achieve synergy in order to make road freight transport more efficient, safer and more sustainable is the foundation of the organization. With great enthusiasm, the founding fathers built an international community from which later generations continue to reap the benefits to this day. It was very important to me to rejuvenate and renew the organization in such a way that the generational change would not detract from the vitality of the organization.
In 2020, it would have been the first time that the HVTT symposium would be held in China. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world closed down. It brought a lot of uncertainty about what was and was not possible, with regional differences in the number of infections being recorded. The organizers from China showed resilience and managed to make the HVTT16 a successful online event. COVID-19 meant that during my presidency I was mainly an “online President”. With the concept of ‘regional hubs’ we found ways to push the boundaries of what was possible. This meant that within regions where this was permitted, participants in the HVTT16 could meet in person on a smaller scale.
The most recent HVTT Symposium, Technology Convergence 2023, highlighted what the HVTT Forum stands for: bringing disciplines together to move forward through synergy. The collaboration with the International Society for Weigh-In-Motion (ISWIM) meant that data as a building block for innovation had a central place in the conference. It enabled in-depth discussions and enriched the experience of conference delegates. The organization was rock solid and was excellently taken care of. The bar has been set high once again for HVTT18.
For the last time, I close with the weather…
It had been a quiet winter day and suddenly I heard rumbling. I couldn’t identify it at first, but it turned out to be thunder. A thunderstorm!? That’s typically part of summer after a hot day, but not in winter!? Soon it was pouring down from the sky. It rained for about fifteen minutes and then peace returned. It is one of the phenomena that we will have to get used to in this part of the world.
In The Netherlands we will have to deal with high water more often in the winter because of heavier and longer periods of rain, but in the summer we will experience drought. Learning to deal with these rapidly changing circumstances is the challenge for the coming decade, also for road freight transport. To ensure that things do not get further out of hand and to limit the damage caused by weather extremes.
I now hand over the baton to Gavin. I am confident that the HVTT Forum is in good hands with him.
Immediate Past President
Handing over the baton…
As the incoming President, I wish to thank the Board for expressing their confidence in having me lead the HVTT Forum.
It’s quite a privilege to be given the opportunity to collaborate with global leaders and experts in the field of heavy vehicle transport and technology. In stepping into the role of President, I want to acknowledge the efforts of my predecessors who’ve led the HVTT Forum to where it is today. Needless to say, I have big shoes to fill!
With this in mind, I thank Loes Aarts during her time as President of the HVTT Forum. As already covered in the preceding part of this newsletter, Loes faced a number of challenges during her time as President which she was able to navigate us through.
As the new President of the HVTT Forum, it’s worth reflecting on some of the key impressions which emerged from Technology Convergence 2023 – a summary of which was presented by Chris Walker and Gustavo Otto during the closing ceremony. They took away two key impressions:
- Some things stay the same; and
- New issues are continuing to emerge and grow.
Examples of these impressions include:
- Performance Based Standards (PBS)
- Infrastructure management and increasing vehicle mass
- Electrification of roads and vehicles
- Green House Gas (GHG) reductions and the move to zero emissions
- Data for road authorities, managers, regulators and transport operators
- Women in transport
- Truck drivers – new challenges and increasingly complex tasks
- New stakeholders being brought into discussions on freight and transport innovation
As mentioned during my closing remarks at the conference, I encourage everyone to reflect on their personal experience at Technology Convergence 2023, and to consider:
- How your perspectives have been influenced by the information and knowledge you gained from the conference; and
- What you’ll do differently to lead and influence change going forward.
On a personal note, it was terrific to see so many familiar faces, as well as having being able to establish so many new friendships during Technology Convergence 2023.
And if this was your first time joining us, we hope to see you again at future HVTT Forum symposia!
Turning to the HVTT Board, I wish to acknowledge the Board members who stepped down from their roles in 2023:
- John de Pont
- Mats Harborn
- David Rolland
On behalf of everyone, I thank them for their generous contribution to the HVTT Forum. In particular, a call out to John de Pont who is one of the founding fathers of the HVTT Forum. Having been involved since 1986, John has been a major contributor to the Forum (both as the IFRTT and the HVTT Forum), and to its conferences, both as the original International Symposium on Heavy Vehicle Weights and Dimensions (HVWD) and the subsequent HVTT Symposia, for nearly four decades.
I also wish to offer a warm welcome to our new Board members:
- Michael Atkins (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)
- Parth Deshpande (University of Cambridge, UK)
- Rachel Michaud (Knorr-Bremse, Australia)
- John Gordon (TCA, Australia)
- Daniel Ainalis (NTRO, Australia)
- Bengt Jacobson (Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden)
I’m excited to work with all of you in the coming years, which is shaping up to be a period of considerable change. This includes the next HVTT Symposium being planned for 2025.
HVTT18 in Québec, Canada
The 18th International Symposium on Heavy Vehicle Transport & Technology will be held in Québec, Canada at the end of May 2025. Place it in your calendars!
HVTT Board members Julien Lépine and Jonathan Regehr are leading the organisation of HVTT18, which will be hosted by the University of Laval (ULaval). The key theme for HVTT18 will be Resilient Heavy Vehicle Transport, encompassing the following topics:
- Winter and extreme weather road transportation
- Climate-change mitigation and adaptation for heavy vehicles
- Policies and incentives toward sustainable and resilient road transport
- Innovations in materials, systems, and instrumentation
- Integration of heavy vehicles to a smart transportation environment
- Advances in vehicle and road safety
- Improving transport practices through training and education.
Being hosted in Canada, HVTT18 will represent a return to the origins of the HVTT Forum (the first HVWD Symposium was hosted by the Roads and Transport Association of Canada in Kelowna, British Columbia, in 1986).
Further details will be provided shortly, including the call for abstracts.
Until then, I wish you a happy new year and all the best for 2024!