The International Newtwork of Customs Universities (INCU) writes a request about increased resesrch in some specific areas high-lighted by the World Bank. 

At the 11th PICARD Conference, Mr Gerard McLinden, Lead Customs and Trade Facilitation Specialist from the World Bank (Singapore) emphasized the importance of research in relation to border management reform activities. 

With my colleague Gerard McLinden

In his presentation McLinden pointed out the demand for knowledge in the following areas :
    How to measure progress/success what is success?

    Cost/ benefits of border management reform (CBA/ROI)

    Analysis of outsourced services (DI, scanning, executive contracts)

    Organizational models Revenue administrations Single border management agency Stand alone customs administration

    Coordinated/Collaborative border management

    Application of new technology (cargo tracking) 

The INCU welcomes any research work on the above themes to be considered for publication in the future editions of World Customs Journal and other customs and trade journals.

As a Fellow of and Member of the International Advisory Board of INCU, I sincerely want echo this request. 

Copenhagen Airport (Kastrup), my second home, will be expand and re-build in a huge investment of approximately for 2,6 billion Euro in the following years. 

The airport will be expanded to accommodate 40 million passengers per year. Kastrup which wants to remain Northern Europe’s largest airport, is planning to open 17 new long-haul routes and increase the number of gates from the current 78 to 125. 

All in all, the expansion is expected to cost at least 2.6 billion Euro. After the rebuilding the airport area is planned to be twice the size of today. 

Last year, 27 million passengers traveled through Copenhagen Airport.

The race to the top has just gotten tighter, with two rising mega-towers in the Middle East battling to become the world’s tallest. Construction has now begun on The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbor, a vast waterfront development, with completion scheduled for ahead of Dubai’s Expo 2020 world fair, which kicks off in October that year.

Piercing through a canopy of clouds, The Tower, at 3,045ft (928m), aims to take the title of world’s tallest tower, which the 2,723ft-tall (830m) Burj Khalifa, also in Dubai, has held since 2010. But it’s got competition. The Jeddah Tower, in Saudi Arabia, is also slated to finish in 2020. When completed, this gleaming vertical will be 236ft (72m) taller than Dubai’s creation. If The Tower in Dubai wants the world title, even for a short time, it has to open its doors before the Jeddah Tower.The Tower will be the heart of Dubai Creek Harbour, one of the largest tourist and lifestyle developments in the world stretching across a huge area, namely 6 sqkm.  Both of these towers are feats in modern engineering.

The Tower, in Dubai, is being constructed by Emaar, the real estate giant also behind the Burj Khalifa, and will anchor the Dubai Creek development, serving — developers hope — as a magnet for tourists.

Designed by Swiss-Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava Valls, it will feature The Pinnacle Room — an observation point offering 360-degree views of the emirate — and public vertical gardens, while 18 to 20 floors have been reserved for homes, restaurants, shops and a boutique hotel. 

If construction runs to schedule, this $1 billion tower will have been thrown up in just three years. The Jeddah Tower, in Saudi Arabia, will have taken a little longer. 

Construction on this graceful arrow to the sky began on April 1, 2013, and was originally slated for completion in 2018, but its opening date has already been pushed back twice. Constructing it will require about 5.7 million square feet of concrete and 80,000 tons of steel, according to the Saudi Gazette.

This $1.23 billion USD construction project is, however, already 40 floors off the ground, with 212 left to build — it’s undeniably farther along than the Dubai Tower.

But to think Dubai could finish first is not “as farfetched as it sounds”, according to Jason Gabel, communications manager for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).

“The Dubai project is an observation tower, and therefore won’t require nearly as much lead time as a full-blown skyscraper,” Gabel tells CNN. “2020 is a real possibility for completion.”

Because less than 50% of The Tower’s height is occupied by usable floor space, it is defined by the CTBUH as a “supported tower” rather than a “building”. 

This technicality precludes The Tower from achieving the distinction of being the world’s tallest building. Rather, it would be the world’s tallest man-made structure, or tower, until the Jeddah Tower is completed.

Home to more than 65 highrises over 200m tall and counting, Dubai has become synonymous with futuristic skyscrapers, and has been a pioneer of this in the Middle East.

“Historically, no Middle Eastern country has come close to building skyscrapers at the rate and height of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but notable pockets of high-rise development are occurring in Qatar, Israel, and Saudi Arabia,” says Gabel. “The competitive situation we now see between Saudi Arabia and the UAE very unique.”

Dubai’s lofty intentions debuted in 1979, with the 39-story Dubai World Trade Center. It was the city’s first high rise, and the tallest building in the Middle East. 

Subsequent iconic buildings, such as the Burj Khalifa and the Burj Al Arab, have given Dubai global notoriety.

The Dutch government has approved a bill that allows the country to ratify the EU’s cooperation agreement with Ukraine.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday that he is confident that the Parliament will vote on the proposal, which is a compromise between the Netherlands and other EU countries.  It is uncertain however whether the agreement will be ratified before the election on 15 March.

This is a huge step forward for the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement treaty. 

Switzerland has once again topped the table as the world’s most innovative economy, in the latest World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report. Sweden is still Top 6 in the world. 
It is the seventh year in a row that Switzerland has claimed the title. The European nation scores highly on a range of indices, but particularly well for high quality enterprises across sectors that strive for innovation and for commercially applicable products.

The 2016-2017 report assesses the competitiveness landscape of 138 economies and ranks them based on several factors. 

High scoring countries must have an environment that is conducive to innovative activity and one that is supported by both the public and the private sectors.

This could mean investment in research and development and the presence of high quality research institutions.

The report says that, “In these economies, firms must design and develop cutting-edge products and processes to maintain a competitive edge and move toward even higher value-added activities”.

Source: WEF

Today the Swedish Minister for ICTand Digitalization, Peter Eriksson, presented the main features of Swedish Government’s new high-speed Internet and broadband strategy – a fully connected Sweden. The strategy is the first of its kind that covers all people living in Sweden.

The strategy has the following objectives:

– In 2020, 95 percent of all households and businesses have access to broadband of at least 100 Mbit / s.

– In 2023, the entire Sweden have access to stable mobile services of good quality.

– In 2025, the entire Sweden have access to fast broadband

“For the first time the government presents a broadband strategy in which all citizens and businesses have the opportunity to be with. I feel an added joy of rural and remote areas are taken into objectives fully”, said the Minister in a comment at the Press Conference. 

In 2025, entire Sweden have access to fast broadband in the home and at work. 98 percent of the population will have access to broadband of at least 1 Gbit/s or faster. It is ten times faster than the target in the previous broadband strategy and a goal that takes the height of the development of digitization brings in the world today. 

The households that currently have 4G as the best option situated in rural areas will withvthe new strategy have 100 Mbit / s, a speed that is about five times faster and is a substantial potential.It will for many mean a significantly improved quality of life and facilitate active citizenship.

In 2023, entire Sweden will have access to stable mobile services of highest quality. This means that the connection should be as stable and of such quality that the user does not experience limitations in their use by interruptions or lack of capacity. This applies to places where people, companies, and things usually are, for example, on vacation, in recreation areas and along roads and rails.
In 2020, 95 percent of all households and businesses have access to broadband of at least 100 Mbit/s. Thanks to the government’s aggressive efforts will aim at the former broadband strategy to be surpassed by a wide margin.
“high-Speed Internat and Broadband is becoming a prerequisite for being able to take part in basic services and to fully participate in society. The development is already well advanced. In the future, many of our welfare services have large digital elements”, said Minister Eriksson.

As an example, is likely much of the health care will be provided remotely and on distance through internet solutions. Digitization will also be able to contribute a significant streamlining of the public and to improved public services and quality of life for citizens. But for all people to be able to take advantage of the public on an equal basis, to successful businesses can be developed in all parts of the country and to the public should be able to streamline the service to residents, all have broadband.

Increased globalization, digitalisation, urbanization and climate change all have a connection with, or affected by a connected society. It is important with Sweden that holds together and where it is possible to live and work in the country. When people have access to broadband is needed in each situation have broadband a unique opportunity to act as a bridge between town and country – the foundation for a democratic society equipped for the future. It also creates an opportunity for Sweden to maintain and strengthen its position in innovative and sustainable industrial production of goods and services.