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June 2019 Newsletter

Dear friends of the IFRTT

As most of you are aware of by now the next HVTT16 will be held in China, organized by the Road Institute of Highways (RIOH), a policy institute under the Ministry of Transports (MOT). This event will be very meaningful as the impact of road transport on society is probably larger in China than anywhere else in the world (with the possible exception of India). If this symposium can contribute to China taking further steps in introducing efficient road transport solutions it will have global impact.

The IFRTT President Loes Aarts and IFRTT Board Member and HVTT16 Chair of the Scientific Committee John de Pont spent last week in Beijing sharing experiences from previous organizations of HVTT symposia and together with the Chinese organizers made a timeline for the work ahead.

The organizing work is proceeding very smoothly and more details will be shared in the months to come. The official website will also be launched within short.

The first milestone will be the call for abstracts, which will come out soon. This time the Chinese organizers have high ambitions for Chinese and Asian papers to be presented at the symposium. This will certainly be very exciting and will open up the IFRTT community much deeper to Asia. A first positive effect of this work is that the MOT and RIOH now have been participating in the OECD-ITF Summit in Leipzig. This is already bringing China and the world closer together in the field of transports.

The vibrant coastal city of Qingdao, famous for its beer (Tsingtao) has been chosen as the venue of the HVTT16. Qingdao is making a lot of innovation and investments in the area of transports and will provide a very interesting destination for technical visits. It is one of the 10 largest ports in the world and also a major nodal city of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative that connects Asia with Europe. Qingdao used to be an old German colony and the old city of Qingdao is a lovely tourist destination with German style buildings and golden beaches.

At the HVTT15 the Chinese showed a video making the case for organizing the HVTT16 in China. Here is the link to that video: http://rtest.rioh.cn/meeting/index.aspx.

It is quite spectacular, whilst at the same time correctly describing the situation on the ground in China. China is an exciting mix of old traditional practice and the latest state of the art innovations. Please spread this link!

Apart from IFRTT the US China trade war is very much on my mind. It is retailing into a very dangerous and disruptive conflict. Both sides really need to take responsibility to avoid a permanent trade war. Unfortunately it is about more than just trade – it is about geopolitics. The rise of China is inevitable, but with that rise China needs to ensure that it acts as a responsible global stakeholder. The US needs to accept that containing China or decoupling from it is neither possible not desirable. We pin our hopes to the G20 meeting in June where hopefully Presidents Trump and Xi will meet in the sidelines and hopefully come up with a mutual face-saving accord.

Finally, the weather is strange in Beijing. We have had an unusually warm spring with temperature reaching 36 degrees centigrade. The extreme continental climate of Beijing that used to be warm summer and icy cold winters has been changed into mild winters and six very hot months between May and October.

May greetings from Beijing!

Mats Harborn
IFRTT Vice-president Asia