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Digital twins and the future of rail, road and transit operations

A specialist line-up was assembled to provide their expertise. (Image source: Technical Review Middle East)

Technical Review Middle East and Bentley Systems have hosted a specialised virtual panel session unpicking the present and future challenges facing the transport sector and how new solutions – specifically digital twin technology – are helping to overcome them

In a free-to-view virtual discussion, host Robert Daniels, Editor at Alain Charles Publishing, was joined by a formidable line-up of industry experts who provided unique insights that have been gained through extensive careers within the Middle East and African logistics sector. Participants included:

• Mark Coates: Vice President, Infrastructure Policy Advancement at Bentley Systems;
• Khalil Al-Abbasi: Sustainability Consultant, The Department of Municipalities and Transport;
• Dr. Hamad Al Jassmi: Director of Emirates Centre for Mobility Research, UAEU;
• Debabrata Chakraborty: Sr. Regional Director, MEA & Turkey, Bentley Systems;
• Prof. Dr. Sabih Gatea Khisaf: Infrastructure Lead Engineer MENA, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc;
• Johannes Neethling: Director: Design Services (Act.) & Chief Engineer: Road Systems, Chief Directorate Road Programme Management, Transport
Department of Infrastructure, Western Cape Government.

As outlined by Chakraborty at the start of the session, the Middle East and African freight and logistics market stands at approximately US$164bn in 2024 and is expected to reach US$223bn by 2029. This, he noted, represents a huge market– driven by key countries including Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania – that is offering lots of opportunities for future development and investment. Yet, despite this, persistent challenges threaten to inhibit its progress, most notably around poor & ageing infrastructure, political instability and skills shortages. It is here, that “leveraging technology and fostering collaboration” (which Bentley Systems aims to support) can help to mitigate such problems, realise the resplendent opportunities on offer in this field, and “create more efficient, resilient and sustainable transportation networks.”

Such a message set the tone for the session as panellists dived in to carry on the discussion began by Chakraborty. This led to varied debates going into further detail around the difficulties industry stakeholders are vying with and the advantages of utilising digital twins in doing so; how digital solutions are supporting the implementation of lean principles in project delivery; why collaborative efforts are important to effectively implement digital technology and facilitating successful environmental strategies; and where digital twins are being used to maximise the effectiveness of operations and maintenance strategies.

Click here to view the full recording of the virtual panel session

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