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IRU World Congress kicks off in Muscat - Barroso and Defterios
Global | Muscat

IRU World Congress kicks off in Muscat

6 Nov 2018

Bringing together hundreds of global decision-makers, the IRU World Congress is underway in Muscat, Oman.

Over the next two days, road industry leaders together with business, government and thought leaders will gather in Muscat to exchange ideas, debate solutions and define the future of transport, mobility, logistics and trade.  

IRU President, Christian Labrot welcomes participants and encourages action, “We are excited to bring the industry to Oman, to the IRU World Congress 2018, to take part in the new global event for transport, mobility and logistics. This is the platform for the world’s transport leaders to stay ahead of the game and to keep up with the lightning speed of innovation and technology.”

Themed “Innovation on the Move”, the Congress is co-hosted by Asyad, Oman’s premier provider of integrated logistics services. It explores the vital role of technology in driving improvement and facilitating global trade. Nabil Salim AlBimani, Group Chief of Ports & Freezone at Asyad says, “Technology-driven innovation will be the key to meeting the challenges of tomorrow.”

Transport leaders from over 75 countries are registered, along with numerous major transport companies including Volvo, AXA, PWC, Mercedes Benz, MAN, IBM, and Virgin Hyperloop. 

Themes include new technology, disruptive business models, laws and investment strategies, changing trade patterns, new market needs, emissions, decarbonisation and social issues.

Programme highlights include John Defterios from CNN as moderator, and Chairman of Goldman Sachs International and former President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, who will address the opening plenary to spark debate. 

Other keynotes include technologists, thought leaders in change, mobility, transport, trade and logistics, including futurist, Jim Carroll, who will encourage the industry to embrace change, “In a time of rapid change, you can't expect to get by on what has worked in the past. You must be willing to do things differently. Abandon routine - embrace velocity!”

Interactive roundtable sessions will bring the public and private sectors together to debate the hot topics.

On driver shortage, Alex Knowles from Knowles transport says,“My belief is that automated vehicles or not, there will always be a job for the lorry driver (in my tenure anyway)!” 

And addressing the decarbonisation challenge, Benny Smets, CEO of the Belgian transport company Ninatrans, warns, “Alternative fuels are the future for road transport, but only if they are easy to access!”

Next generation companies, entrepreneurs, and start-ups shaping the future of the mobility, logistics, and transport will exhibit their ideas at the Innovation Alley and will pitch to a jury in a bid to win $100,000 investment. 

Ministerial representatives from the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa will take part in dedicated meetings, with agreements formed on the sidelines and tangible outcomes for a strategy on joint action.

The Congress will also mark the culmination of IRU’s 70th anniversary adventure, We Love the Road. David Couliau, a film producer, entrepreneur, skateboarder and storyteller, travelled through 18 countries across three continents by truck, bus, coach, taxi and skateboard to meet the real people of road transport. 

Regular updates on the different sessions will be available, whether in the Conference halls, on the dedicated app and website, and on social media. 



About IRU:
IRU ( is the world road transport organisation, promoting economic growth, prosperity and safety through the sustainable mobility of people and goods. Founded in 1948, IRU has members and activities in more than 100 countries.

About Asyad:
Oman Global Logistics Group “ASYAD’ was established in 2016 to maximize the economic and financial returns from the Government investments in ports, freezones, land and sea transport and logistic services companies. Mandated by the Omani Government, the Group is also responsible to implement National Logistics Strategy.

About the IRU World Congress 2018:
The new global event for road transport, mobility and logistics, the IRU World Congress ( is bringing the transport industry together in Muscat, with business, government and thought leaders, to debate the big challenges and the big opportunities. For social media, use the hashtag #IRUWorldCongress.


Press contact 

Karen Mazzoli
Senior Manager – Media and Communications, IRU Geneva
+41-22-918 27 96 (direct)
+41-79-633 89 53 (mobile)