Key IRF event for Middle East
First publishedon www.WorldHighways.com
The International Road Federation's event in the Gulf & Middle East Region in the capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain comes amid calls for efforts to meet the challenges posed by the region's growing demand for mobility and movement of goods.
Over 400 regional and international delegates, including many heads of corporation, regional policy makers and ambassadors attended the formal opening of the event in the presence of deputy premier Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa as well as their Excellencies Essam bin Abdulla Khalaf, Minister of Works, Kingdom of Bahrain; and, Abdullah Al-Mogbel, deputy minister for transport, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and current chairman of IRF Washington.
In his opening address, His excellency Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa noted that the region's economies are among the fastest growing in the world, resulting in new infrastructure demands which the region is responding to through multibillion dollar investments. Examples of these large-scale infrastructure programs include two major highways linking Qatar and Saudi Arabia through Bahrain, added minister Khalaf. "We cannot be content with keeping pace with demand - we must confidently predict and plan accordingly", noted for his part minister Al-Mogbel in his opening statements, adding "the region's traffic accident rates demand greater attention to education, enforcement as well as the deployment of better and more forgiving infrastructure. As we embrace the latest technologies, intelligent transport systems will play an increasingly important role both in saving lives and mitigating road congestion in our cities."
Commenting on the success of the Congress, IRF Washington president and CEO Patrick Sankey added: "For over 30 years, IRF has been a partner to the Gulf countries. As their capacity building needs have grown, IRF has facilitated knowledge sharing programs by providing professional development opportunities for its road and traffic engineers. I am thrilled to announce that the region continues to be a major contributor to the endowment of the International Road Educational Foundation, which provides graduate-level scholarships to the next generation of road and transport leaders."
The three-day Congress, Exhibition & Professional Development Course is co-organised with the Bahrain Society of Engineers (BSE). BSE President A Majeed Al Gassab highlighted that Bahrain and the rest of the Gulf countries are committed to exploring the role of new technologies as part of their infrastructure projects. "IRF's 3rd Middle East Road Congress will address these aspects through input from and dialogue with a wide range of global experts", he concluded.