The rise of asset management: new demands for public infrastructure managers – an exploration

By Dr. Geert Roovers – Infrastructure management is becoming more and more complex. Uncertainties rise, policy fields get intertwined, budgets are under pressure and demands from politicians, stakeholders and users need constant attention. In this climate asset management is rising in public management, and seems to be an answer to every new challenge. But what are the consequences of this rise for public infrastructure managers? What challenges are they facing? This essay explores these challenges. An exploration which sets the agenda for new competencies for modern infrastructural managers.

Planning of infrastructure is becoming more and more difficult

Modern infrastructural asset management has to deal with many challenges. It has to deal with more and more uncertainties, climatic as well as socio-economical. It has to deal with demands from politicians and society. Bad performance of intensively used networks is less and less tolerated, while available budgets are cut. Finally, more and more stakeholders have to be taken into account while planning and implementing asset management. Continue reading


Infrastructure, pump up the value!

By Arjan Hijdra – The universal framing of infrastructure is that these structures are crucial for a prosperous society. Politicians and decision-makers worldwide stress the socio-economic importance. But if we dig a bit deeper, it is not that easy to ensure this potential is realized. When developing a road, railroad, port basin and so on, there are numerous variables which can be altered. In the stress and pressure of development, with deadlines and financial risks all around, it is hard to remain calm and tweak exactly the right elements of the project to optimize its value. Reducing risk and complexity and avoiding delays it usually the day to day priority. But leaving value on the table is a loss for society in general, and certainly for the developers involved. So in a nutshell, how exactly is value to be realized? Continue reading

Infrastructure seriously unserious

By Arjan Hijdra – Before I got to write this first sentence, I have been switching the words seriously and unserious multiple times. I’m not sure whether the sequence is now exactly right; perhaps I will switch them once more. What I’d like to say about it, is that infrastructure is seriously important. And that is not only because it happens to be my personal field of interest. No, there is hardly any worldleader, politician, investor or economist who will argue the opposite. So, that is settled then. Infrastructure is seriously important. And not only seriously important, it costs seriously lots of cash, and it has serious impacts on society in a broad sense. Positive, but negative impacts just as well. So in short, infrastructure comes with truckloads, trainloads and shiploads of seriousness, to stay in the terminology. Continue reading

India plans on investing US$1 trillion in roads, ports and other infrastructure before 2017


May 16th, 2015 – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India is boosting investment in next-generation infrastructure.  This announcement comes as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on an official visit to China. A Bloomberg article reports that India is committed to spending US$1 trillion to realize “China-like” infrastructure. The country is looking for innovative ways to fund this massive expansion. It illustrates the firm commitment of BRICS countries to realizing and updating infrastructure and boost their economies, but also shows the practical challenges ahead in terms of funding, realizing and sustaining it:

Some highlights from the Bloomberg article:

“To see the challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces to improve India’s ailing infrastructure, ask the state-run company specialising in lending to the sector. It estimates US$750 billion of debt is needed for the task.

That’s more than twice the size of Singapore’s economy, and five times the existing 9.2 trillion rupees (US$144 billion) of bank loans to Indian infrastructure projects. The solution is to rethink current funding techniques, according to SB Nayar, the chairman of India Infrastructure Finance Co Ltd. Continue reading

Netherlands seeks to join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

AMSTERDAM, March 28 — The Netherlands intends to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Prime Minister Mark Rutte said today, becoming the latest US ally to seek membership in the China-led institution despite Washington’s misgivings.

Rutte announced the decision on his official Facebook page during a visit to China and after a meeting with President Xi Jinping.

“There is a great shortage of financing for infrastructure in Asia,” Rutte said.

“An investment bank such as the AIIB can meet this demand, and the Netherlands has much expertise in this area.”

The United States had warned against the new institution, but after Britain announced it would join, European allies France, Germany and Italy quickly followed suit this month. South Korea has said it will join, while Japan is still deciding.

The AIIB has been seen as a challenge to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, and a significant setback to US efforts to extend its influence in the Asia Pacific region to balance China’s growing financial clout and assertiveness.

Rutte said joining is in the Netherlands’ interests as a trading nation, and said he hoped it would ultimately create jobs.

The Netherlands is home to a disproportionately large number of international construction companies, including many with a focus on dredging and maritime construction such as Boskalis, VolkerWessels, Ballast Nedam, Van Oord and BAM, among others. — Reuters

G20 leaders make a case for infrastructure investment

In November 2014 the G20 world leaders agreed on an action plan to raise global growth and to deliver better living standards and quality jobs for people across the world. Infrastructure investment is positioned as the key component to achieve these goals. In the communique concluding the Brisbane Summit at 15-16 November 2014 this is expressed as follows:

‘Raising global growth to deliver better living standards and quality jobs for people across the world is our highest priority. We welcome stronger growth in some key economies. But the global recovery is slow, uneven and not delivering the jobs needed. […]

Our actions to boost growth and create quality jobs are set out in the Brisbane Action Plan and in our comprehensive growth strategies. We will monitor and hold each other to account for implementing our commitments, and actual progress towards our growth ambition, informed by analysis from international organisations. We will ensure our growth strategies continue to deliver and will review progress at our next meeting. […] Continue reading