China Set to Host WTC 2024

It is time to prepare for the World Tunnel Congress hosted this year in Shenzhen, China, April 19-25. As the premier event of the underground space construction industry, WTC2024 – as organized by the Tunnel & Underground Works Branch of the China Civil Engineering Society – will address the priority issues of the moment. The services of the industry are needed now like never before as populations and urban communities expand and connectivity, renewable energy, and environmental protection intensifies, placing greater demands for underground infrastructure.

Under the theme “Tunnelling for a Better Life,” ideas and innovations will be shared through 486 paper presentations selected from 792 international contributions and programmed across five simultaneous technical sessions and poster sessions. Focal points of session discussions will include cutting-edge excavation methods; advancements in lining, ground support, and water control technologies; and solutions for excavating and operating under extreme and challenging geological and logistical conditions.

As the host nation, China has completed an astonishing record of underground infrastructure development over recent decades. Since 1990 when it hosted the 16th WTC in Chengdu, the nation has increased its underground alignments for roads from 130 km in 1990 to 26,784 km (a growth of 206 times); for railways from 2,359 km to 21,978 km (a 9.3 times increase); and for metro lines, now in more than 50 cities, from 54 km to 8,006 km (an increase of 148 times). China is also:

  • home to more of the world’s largest TBM projects of up to 17.5 m in diameter;
  • has taken immersed tube design and construction to extraordinary dimension; and
  • completes more conventional and drill+blast excavation per year than many countries combined.

All this experience and knowledge will be shared in Shenzhen where the international underground construction community will benefit from open discourse, professional networking, lessons learned and technical advancements. As well as connecting with existing colleagues and new, delegates will enjoy a World Tunnel Congress with a memorable Chinese social and cultural flair and take home a wealth of contacts, ideas and updates.


For specialist industry suppliers, the best event to attend each year as exhibitors is the WTC. In Shenzhen, the World Exhibition & Convention Centre will host an exhibition hall of 20,000m2 all under one roof, on the same floor as the five simultaneous technical session lecture rooms, and hosting also the Congress catering and food services for delegate lunches and coffee breaks. These arrangements guarantee for exhibitors the greatest footfall and traffic corridors through the exhibition space for the 2,000+ event delegates expected from all corners of the world.

Delegates will include visitors from the 79 Member Nations of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, which will hold its 50th General Assembly during the Congress.

ITA 50th Anniversary Celebrations

Together with the technical programs, the 2024 World Tunnel Congress will also host celebrations to mark the 50th Anniversary of the ITA. Founded in 1974, under the auspices of the OECD, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development of the United Nations, celebrations of this auspicious occasion will bring together Past Presidents of the Association to recall their contributions and chart its greatly expanded development.

Through the five decades, there have been 17 Presidents from different countries of the world. At its 50th Anniversary celebrations in Shenzhen, eight of the Past Presidents will attend in person and two will join online.

It is through the passion, wisdom, and dedication of all the ITA Presidents that the Association is what it is today. The unprecedented gathering of Past Presidents will provide foresight, direction and collective guidance for the Association and the industry as it faces the future.

Sir Alan Muir Wood of the UK, as the first and Honorary Life President of the Association, holds a special place in ITA history and a Lecture at each annual WTC is presented in his memory. This year the Muir Wood Lecture will be given by Dr Priscilla P Nelson of the USA.

WTC 2024 is an occasion to celebrate the achievements of the underground infrastructure community and to look ahead to the innovative solutions that will bring about a better life for all of human kind.

Presidents of the ITA since inception in 1974

  • 1974-1977 Sir Alan MUIR WOOD, UK
  • 1977-1980 H. C. FISCHER, SWEDEN
  • 1980-1983 Günter GIRNAU, GERMANY
  • 1983-1986 Jack LEMLEY, USA
  • 1986-1989 Einar BROCH, NORWAY
  • 1989-1992 Colin KIRKLAND, UK
  • 1992-1995 Dan Zdenek EISENSTEIN, CANADA
  • 1995-1998 Sebastiano PELIZZA, ITALY
  • 1998-2001 Alfred HAACK, GERMANY
  • 2001-2004 Andre ASSIS, BRAZIL
  • 2004-2007 Harvey PARKER, USA
  • 2007-1010 Martin KNIGHTS, UK
  • 2010-2013 In Mo LEE, S. KOREA
  • 2013-2016 Søren EISKESEN, DENMARK
  • 2016-2019 Tarcisio CELESTINO, BRAZIL
  • 2019-2022 Jinxiu YAN, CHINA
  • 2022-2025 Arnold DIX, AUSTRALIA

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