Innovative Malaysia Set to Host WTC 2020

Cityscape of Kuala lumpur city and central park on night time, Kualalumpur, Malaysia

The world‘s greatest meeting of tunnelers, the ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress (WTC) and the 46th ITA General Assembly 2020, will be organised by the Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM) in Kuala Lumpur, May 15-21.

Set in the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia has been undertaking tunneling challenges for the past two decades and along the way has developed many groundbreaking tunneling technology. Beginning with Southeast Asia´s longest stormwater drainage tunnel – the 9.7 km two-story stormwater management and road tunnel in 2007, the first metro construction in Malaysia followed in 2011. To tackle the arduous challenge of mining in Kuala Lumpur´s karstic limestone ground, the variable density tunnel boring machine was developed by Malaysian engineers and became an industry marvel with the successful delivery of the Klang Valley MRT Line 1 in 2013. The innovation won the Technical Innovation of the Year award in ITA 2014. The next in Malaysian tunneling offerings is the autonomous TBM operating system which won the ITA award for Technical Product/Equipment Innovation 2019 as well as NCE Tunneling Festival 2019’s “Innovation in Tunnel Excavation” award.

Hence, it is only apt that Malaysia being home to many prestigious global tunneling awards will offer the ultimate platform for technical insights on cutting-edge tunneling innovation and advances in underground construction.

The WTC will kick start on Friday and Saturday, May 15-16, 2020, with the first ITACET
training course “Innovations in Tunneling – Geotechnical Engineering and Project Management” to welcome young tunnelers and those interested in tunneling and underground space developments. Highly recognized and prominent tunneling experts from all over the world will be sharing their experiences through keynote lectures, presentation sessions and poster displays providing deep insight into different fields of tunneling and underground space developments. “This will not only be a chance to learn from the best, but also offer ample of time for participants to join in various discussions and networking sessions with industry-recognized experts ,” said Organizing Chairman Ir. Dr. Ooi Teik Aun.

The opening ceremony is expected to be officiated by the world’s only nonagenarian prime minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on May 18, 2020, Monday morning. One of the highlights is the Muir Wood lecture, to be presented by sprayed concrete expert Tom Melbye. His talk is titled “Wet-mix Sprayed Concrete: A Modern Support Method in Tunneling and Mining “ and will give insights into the development of the aforementioned ingenuous tunneling support method.

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The exhibition at Kuala Lumpur Convention Center (KLCC) which will showcase more than 150 companies and will kick-off on Monday morning. Technical dialogues in open sessions, presentations, working group committee meetings and countless networking sessions with fellow participants, exhibitors and business partners will make up the bulk of the days until the closing ceremony on Wednesday late afternoon as the grand finale of the WTC 2020 event, followed by the handover of the ITA flag to the next host country, Denmark, for the WTC 2021.

Various site and technical visits will be held during and after the congress with limited seats available. These include the SMART Tunnel (Monday, May 18, 2020), Tunneling Training Academy (Tuesday, May 19, 2020) and Underground works at the KVMRT Line 2 construction sites (Wednesday, May 20, 2020) which serve to enumerate Malaysia´s outstanding achievements in tunnel engineering and projects which no engineer should miss. All site and technical visits, as well as short excursions, will start and end at KLCC. On May 21, 2020 (Thursday), a limited number of participants will even have a chance to join a technical visit to either the ongoing East Coast Rail Link project or the completed Pahang-Selangor Raw Water Transfer Tunnel.

Several sightseeing programs are also available for interested persons to join in and explore the beauty of Malaysia as well as Kuala Lumpur, before or after the congress. WTC 2020 in Kuala Lumpur falls during the month of Ramadan, which is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. With that effect, participants will get the opportunity to experience the uniqueness of “buka puasa“ (breaking of fast) in KLCC itself. The WTC 2020 program offers a vibrant mix of business, professional and leisure opportunities for all and is designed to leave a lasting memory for all participants.

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