Speech by State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Stientje van Veldhoven at the seminar ‘Accelerate Smart and Green Mobility’, Shanghai

‘No one can move mountains alone. If we want to move forward, we need all our knowledge, all our experience, all possible investment and all our enthusiasm to make it a reality. But most importantly, we need to cooperate!’ stated State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven at a seminar in Shanghai about smart and green mobility, April 12, 2018.

Welcome, huanying

I’m excited to be here in Shanghai.
The first time I visited China was fifteen years ago.
I travelled around by train.
I was impressed by the dynamism of this vast country and her people.
Since then, China has developed enormously.
The city of Shanghai stands symbol for that remarkable growth. But one thing hasn’t changed since my first visit: the warm hospitality I’ve received.

Ladies and gentlemen,
This Dutch delegation is the biggest ever to visit your country – with more than 175 companies and almost 250 participants.
It’s a reflection of the close ties between our countries.
And of Dutch interest in China.
And respect for the way China has set its sights on a prosperous and sustainable future.
I’m sure our visit will boost cooperation on many issues.
Especially in the field of smart and green mobility!

We are living in exciting times for transport and mobility.
New technologies are being developed as quickly as new wind parks are being built around the world, especially in China.

In the next decade, transport and mobility will change more than in the last hundred years.
We’re ready for the next giant leap in mobility.
From horse and cart to car and plane, to autonomous, sustainable flying cars, planes and hyperloops.
Fascinating from an engineering point of view. But also an absolute necessity.

Because we face many challenges:
Mobility continues to grow,
our infrastructure is being stretched to the limit,
climate ambitions – especially for transport and mobility – are huge, and
liveability and air quality are at stake.

Smart and green mobility is our ticket to a future with a better accessibility, sustainability and safety.
We need to invest in both for the best possible future.

The key question in the years to come is this:
How can we use all these innovations in transport and mobility to our advantage?

Smart and green mobility will enable us to tackle challenges effectively.

Luckily, both our countries are trailblazers.
The Dutch and Chinese want to lead the way in innovations.

Dutch companies like NXP and Technolutions, young start-ups like Hardt Hyperloop and many others here this week are showing us the way to a smart, sustainable future.

We know things in China are moving at lightning speed.
Besides decades of friendship, we share the same ambitions on innovation.
And even more importantly, we work together and share knowledge.
Delft University, Tongji University and Shanghai International Automotive City, for instance, are sharing autonomous driving data.
Our countries also have a Memorandum of Understanding on Transport and Infrastructure.

Your vice-minister of Transport, Mr He Jianzhong visited the Netherlands last November to attend a Joint Steering Committee and to meet with the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure.
The two ministers agreed on an action plan as a follow-up to the MoU signed in 2016 – extending our partnership for another five  years.
Under the MoU we’ll be working together on concrete pilots for clean and smart mobility, like sustainable asphalt and intelligent highway transport systems.

The Netherlands also works with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology on new technologies, such as reducing the use of scarce raw materials in the automotive industry.

Finally, a group of Chinese and Dutch companies and institutes is working on making aviation cleaner.

How can we accelerate smart and green mobility?
Let me mention three steps we’re taking in my country.
We have to ensure our infrastructure is ready for connected and automated driving.
To keep our countries accessible, competitive and futureproof.
Preparing for the future starts today!
One of the things we’ll need is digital connectivity for vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, like smart traffic lights.
We’ll be installing 1,200 of them before the end of the year.

We’ll also be putting into effect the most innovative technologies.
Because to accelerate, we need to move from testing to actual practice.
From start-up to scale-up.
Take the ‘TULIP transport corridors’, from the Port of Rotterdam to our neighbouring countries.
We want to make autonomous transport and innovative traffic management a reality on these routes.
It’ll be the next step in making the port of Rotterdam one of the most innovative and sustainable ports in the world.
In a few years’ time we’ll be able to have convoys of at least 100 lorries platooning on these routes.
Real trucks, with real cargo.

These kind of initiatives are drivers of change.

Besides autonomous driving vehicle charging infrastructure is also at the heart of what we’re doing.
Like Shanghai, we’re promoting the introduction of New Energy Vehicles.
And setting ambitious goals.
For example, from 2030, every new car sold has to be zero-emission.

We’re proud that we have lots of innovative Dutch startups that make this possible.
The Netherlands has one of the most extensive vehicle-charging infrastructure systems in Europe.
In this field, we share the same ambitions as China.
One of our ambitious goals is to ensure that from 2030, every new car sold must be zero emission.
In our country we have one public or community-access charging outlet for every four electric vehicles.
And we’re not just limiting ourselves to cars, buses and delivery vans.
We even provide electric charging infrastructure for Amsterdam’s famous canal boats.
Autonomous zero-emission boats will soon be travelling the canals of our capital.
This could be the start of all kinds of green logistical opportunities.
The electrification of all modes of transport is key if we’re to meet the goals we set ourselves in Paris.
And keep our cities liveable and attractive.

A great example of innovation is a special project in the city of Utrecht, where electric vehicles are charged using locally-produced solar energy.
It’s an initiative run by the people, for the people.
What’s the secret? Just do it and learn!
In that sense we’re a lot like China!

What else do we need?
What else do we need?
Public and private partnerships.
They’re crucial if smart transport and mobility are to succeed.
Take green logistics.
Our cities want all goods to be delivered by zero-emission vehicles by 2025.
This ambition can only be achieved if all stakeholders work together. Their commitment is laid down in a plan called Green Deal Zero Emission City Logistics.

All these initiatives give Dutch people more and more reasons to opt for electric transport options.

We have to enable the next generation of vehicles to actually take to the road.
So we’re going to create legal scope for automated driving.
Laying down requirements for reliability and safety that such cars must meet before they can hit the road.
A driving licence for self-driving cars, if you like.
Not for the driver – but for the car itself!

We have to create room for new transport concepts and make sure people can use them easily.
For instance, ‘mobility as a service’ – transport that’s available when you need it, to wherever you want to go, using your choice of transport modes.
I’ll also help cities and regions try out new transport concepts like car sharing, ride sharing and self-driving pods.
Another promising development is smart apps which drivers help to find a parking place.
In my country, almost a third of the traffic in cities is caused by people driving around looking for somewhere to park.

So, in a nutshell, our priorities for the next few years must be: creating futureproof new infrastructure, making room for a new generation of clean vehicles, and testing innovative transport concepts.

Ladies and gentlemen,

To conclude.
No one can move mountains alone.
If we want to move forward, we need all our knowledge, all our experience, all possible investment and all our enthusiasm to make it a reality.
But most importantly, we need to cooperate!
So I call on all market parties, local authorities and national governments to work on smart solutions together.
Nationally and internationally.

The Chinese and Dutch governments, together with market parties and knowledge centres, are already working together on smart and green transport and mobility.
With our biggest trade delegation to China ever we want to strengthen this cooperation and take new steps.
Ambitious and essential steps.
Because if we want to make our infrastructure futureproof, keep our cities attractive, our country sustainable and our road users safe, we need to work together.

Both our countries are frontrunners in innovation, and have considerable knowledge and experience.
So let’s broaden our horizon and join hands.
For a better and healthier future for both our people and the world.

Thank you, ‘Xiè xiè’.