Despite a slower year in 2020, the global tunnelling market can expect to pick up in 2021 according to the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA-AITES), Kristina Smith reports. The association has just published the results of its latest survey of current and planned tunnelling projects around the world and estimates that there is a planned pipeline of projects priced at €1,385 bn.
“Our industry will continue to grow,” predicted ITA president Jenny Yung, citing new mega projects such as the Fehmarnbelt undersea tunnel between Germany and Denmark and the 16km Jingtang undersea tunnel in China, which will be the world’s longest high-speed rail undersea tunnel. Yung was speaking at a two-day, free-to-attend event to showcase this year’s finalists and winners of the ITA awards.
ITA-AITES’ survey shows that the global output for tunnels and underground space construction in 2019 was €125bn, up from €86bn in 2016, representing growth of between 7% and 9% each year. “The growth in tunnelling is twice as high as growth for global construction,” said ITA-AITES managing director Olivier Vion.
Although that global growth has slowed down in 2020, thanks to lower productivity and the delay of the start of some projects due to Covid-19, Vion expects it to ramp up again next year. The tunnelling market in China, which accounts for €472bn of the future pipeline of projects, has already roared back into life.
Despite the unexpected challenges faced by projects around the world this year, the awards still attracted 52 entries from 23 countries with 28 finalists shortlisted. The ‘innovation’ category was the most heavily subscribed – perhaps because the safety category has been removed on the grounds that it should not be a special consideration – attracting over a quarter of the entries.
The winners of each of the right award categories were due to be announced on Friday 4 December. The event is free to attend. Register at https://ita-aites.6connex.eu/event/ITAVirtualEvents/login