On 19 June 19 2020, ERTICO participated in the 2020 Board Meeting of the Belt and Road International Transport Alliance (BRITA). Established in 2017, BRITA is an alliance of 183 organisations and public bodies from 43 countries. It is a developing platform aimed at working together to support the development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese Premier Xi Jinping’s development strategy for infrastructure and investment, aimed at connecting China and Asia and Europe. A key goal of BRITA is to ensure BRI will support development and prosperity in all countries along the BRI routs.
At the Board meeting, Jacob Bangsgaard highlighted the unique challenges that are faced now in the post-COVID world, ensuring the creation of a ‘new normal’ for mobility. He presented the 20 years of cooperation between ERTICO and China. Jacob also presented the SOLUTIONSplus Project, for which ERTICO are working with partners in Nanjing to develop trials of vehicle electrification solutions; the 5G MOBIX project on 5G for V2X with trial sites across Europe as well as China and South Korea; and the recently concluded CAPITAL Project, for which an online Interoperability Handbook has been developed, including five case studies of innovative projects from China.
ERTICO is engaging in BRITA in the context of its International Cooperation activities, including business delegations to the USA and China, and engagement with events around the world.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. Qiao Yun, Vice Secretary General of China Highways and Transportation Society (CHTS). Nina Guan, Executive Secretary of BRITA, presented BRITA’s activities, including the set-up of the Belt and Road International Transport Symposium, and the development of an innovation prize and scholarship programme. Future plans include the development of three regional hubs for cooperation through BRITA.
Board Members of BRITA also presented their relevant international activities, including ERTICO Partner CERTH HIT’s Prof. Dr. George Giannopoulos, Director of the Hellenic Institute of Transport, who presented the SHOW project, as well as the Smart Corridors project, co-funded with China, at the Port of Piraeus. The Port of Piraeus is the largest port in Greece, the no.1 container port in the region, and is 51% owned by the Chinese company COSCO Shipping.
Presentations were also given by Board Members from across the world, including the International Road Federation, the Russian University of transport MIIT, the China ITS Industry Alliance and Nepal Automobiles Association (NASA). Members of the Board presented a variety of relevant activities including railway and road infrastructure development projects between China, Nepal, India, Russia and Europe. The emphasis was on cooperation between ‘BRI countries’, referring to the countries connected through the BRI.
At the Board meeting Jacob Bangsgaard was appointed Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. Jacob Bangsgaard said upon this appointment ‘ERTICO will deepen collaboration and increase our cooperative work through BRITA in the coming years, as BRITA works to establish a regional hub in Europe. ’
Qiao Yun of CHTS concluded the meeting, thanking all the participants, and highlighting the opportunities for cooperation going forward. The key sponsor of BRITA is the CHTS, who are also the organiser of the World Transportation Convention (WTC), held annually. In 2019 ERTICO partnered with CHTS to organise the EU-China ITS Forum at the WTC.