Sayyid Asaad inaugurates IRU Congress

November 08, 2018

Sayyid Asaad bin Tariq al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs and Personal Representative of His Majesty the Sultan, officially inaugurated the World Road Transport Organisation (IRU) World Congress in Muscat at the Oman  Convention & Exhibition Centre on Wednesday. 

Organised by IRU and co-hosted by Asyad in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Communications, participants from over 75 countries have gathered to help shape the future of the industry over two days, driving debate on trade and innovation, in the region and beyond, a press release said. 

Themed ‘Innovation on the Move’, this year’s Congress explores the role of technological advancements in optimising operations management, driving continuous improvement and facilitating global trade. 

“The faster we adopt disruptive technologies, the better chance we have to stay competitive and serve our customers better,” said Nabil Salim al Bimani, group chief of Ports & Freezone and member of the organising committee. “Technology-driven innovation will be the key to meeting the challenges of tomorrow.”

The first day started with a special session organised in partnership with Mwasalat which brought together leading international figures to examine major challenges facing passenger transport operators today and discuss the solutions for tomorrow. 

Ahmed al Bulushi, CEO of Mwasalat, said, “We have initiated a number of innovations such as smart ticketing, passenger information systems, and automated vehicle management systems. These initiatives will help improve transport systems, reduce traffic problems and help the economic and social development of Oman.”

A declaration was also signed between IRU, the guardian of the TIR system under the United Nations mandate, Mwasalat, the official TIR issuing authority, and the Royal Oman Police Directorate General of Customs. This reaffirms the sultanate’s commitment to boosting trade across its borders and working in partnership to bring the globally applicable international customs transit and guarantee system to life in Oman. 

The Congress also marked the culmination of IRU’s 70th anniversary adventure, ‘We Love the Road’. 

In the opening plenary session, ‘Moving in the 21st Century – Road Transport, Mobility and Trade’, José Manuel Durão Barroso, chairman of Goldman Sachs International and former president of the European Commission, urged the industry to work together to effect positive change. “It is essential to talk, regardless of differing interests and animosities, because talking is what leads to deals, which in turn means trade and global prosperity.”

The interactive roundtable sessions discussed a number of hot topics including data management and analysis, enhancing competitiveness with infrastructure development and new intermodal connections, designing the future workforce, adopting next generation platforms, enabling trade facilitation and increasing fuel efficiencies. 

On decarbonising transport, Benny Smets, CEO of the Belgian transport company Ninatrans, said, “Alternative fuels are the future for road transport, but only if they are easy to access.”

The IRU World Congress will conclude on Thursday where innovation and competitiveness will be the main topic of discussion.