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Message from Tarcisio CELESTINO, ITA President - 

Dear ITA Colleagues:

In spite of an overall low level of global economic activity, the tunnelling industry seems to have been growing steadily along 2016. This is an indication of the effectiveness of underground solutions for infrastructure being more and more recognised by decision makers. Contributions of ITA Working Groups and Committees can be traced in this trend with respect so the promotion of the use of underground space; the significant improvement of operational safety standards when compared to the situation in the late 1990s; better relationship between owners and contractors due to improved contractual practices; technical innovations and their dissemination amongst practitioners; the benefit of construction and operation risk assessment; etc.

The World Tunnel Congress (WTC) held in April in San Francisco was a landmark success. It attracted the record figure of 2,300 attendees. This means that many more people have been exposed to a WTC and all the positive effects of information dissemination and networking are yet to be realised. The program covered a very wide range of topics, including sessions on high-tech development for tunnel construction and monitoring.

The new Executive Council elected late April in San Francisco started to work immediately after. We met in Napa addressing important issues, including the revision of the strategic plan to be presented at the next General Assembly in Bergen.

With respect to knowledge sharing, a new procedure for reviewing ITA publications was approved. It is expected to have a positive impact not only on expediting the reviewing process, but also on the quality of technical contents of the publications.

The ITA Tunnelling Awards Ceremony held on November 11th in Singapore was very successful. This can be measured not only from the standpoint of a significant increase in the number of attendees compared to the previous year (about 75%), but mainly because of the high quality of the presentations by the finalists and the relevance of some contributions. The event can be considered fully consolidated after the 2016 edition. Not only does it promote the excellence in tunnelling, but it also brings incentive to innovation, safety initiatives, fair contractual relationships between owners and contractors, etc. I am sure that in the long run the event will significantly contribute to demonstrate with a number of successful case histories that tunnels can be reliable and predictable for infrastructure construction when the correct practices are adopted.

The Tunnelling and Underground Construction Society of Singapore organised a conference on innovation and productivity the day before the Awards Conference. The synergy between the two events attracted even more attendees. Mr. Alan Chan, Chairman of the Land and Transport Authority, was the guest of honours at the awards banquet.

The Awards Committee is already working for the preparation of the next event in Paris in November 2017. Information about the third edition of the event will be available soon.

It is clear now that there is room for the two regular major events (WTC and Awards) attracting even different types of attendees.

Now it is time for all of us to pause for the New Year celebration. I wish you all a prosperous 2017 and look forward to our get together for the WTC in Bergen next April, when we will welcome Nigeria and probably Oman as new Member Nations - Tarcisio Celestino -  President of ITA 2016-20197

To read the ITA newsletter in full please click here. 01/17.