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What will drive global infrastructure development in 2018?

Press release: Emerging Trends in Infrastructure

A new KPMG International report, Emerging Trends in Infrastructure 2018, identifies the trends that will pose the greatest challenges and fuel new opportunities for infrastructure projects over the coming year.


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What will drive global infrastructure development in 2018?

KPMG report examines key trends for the year ahead

April 10, 2018 – Infrastructure continues to drive growth of the global economy.  Governments have the desire and ambition to invest, and new technologies and innovation are unlocking development opportunity, but social, financial and political division risks stalling critical action. A new KPMG International report, Emerging Trends in Infrastructure 2018, identifies the trends that will pose the greatest challenges and fuel new opportunities for infrastructure projects over the coming year. 

The report cautions that today’s divisive politics may result in many worthy projects becoming stalled under the weight of political and social indecision. Yet the report also notes that there is still great opportunity.

“With the disruption, confusion and uncertainty of the past year – it would be easy to be very downbeat on the prospects for effective infrastructure development around the world,” says Richard Threlfall, Global Head of Infrastructure at KPMG International. “Yet demand for infrastructure continues to accelerate globally, and indeed the more infrastructure we build, the more we connect the world and increase its resilience to local political risk.”

“Those markets with vision and adaptable institutions should find ways to rise above the din of divisiveness,” argues Stephen Beatty, non-Executive Chair and lead on Infrastructure in the Americas. “It takes a long-term perspective and purpose to accommodate and find ways to strike compromise between competing needs and interests. Those markets most adept at moving forward with purpose and vision stand to be most successful.”

The report points to the evolving security environment in many markets and argues that public spaces are becoming increasingly difficult to sustain. It notes that, having been on the ‘back foot’ for several years, governments will now start to adopt a much more aggressive stance toward infrastructure security.

Against this backdrop of competing forces, the report also predicts that debates about sustainability – in all its forms – will become more critical than ever, not only for users and planners, but also for investors and owners.

“Today’s view of sustainability is far too narrow,” according to Julian Vella, Infrastructure lead for KPMG in Asia Pacific. “Most people instinctively think about sustainability in terms of the environment, and that is clearly a critical consideration in any infrastructure project. But sustainability is actually a much wider concept, encompassing the social and technological sustainability of infrastructure and that is increasingly creating new pressures on decision-makers and planners.”

“Thailand has been developing infrastructure projects to support country-wide growth and connectivity between cities and other countries. Infrastructure projects not only help boost logistics and the economy, but also improve efficiency and raise the overall standard of living. Massive projects – such as high-speed rail from Northeast to Bangkok, North to South, East to West as well as Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) projects such as U-Tapao International airport, high-speed rail connecting three international airports – are rapidly moving forward and, in doing so, helping to create better interconnectivity within Thailand and in the region” says Tanate Kasemsarn, Partner and Head of Infrastructure, KPMG in Thailand. “In a world of rapid change, infrastructure is not always keeping pace with the technological, demographic and socio-economic developments. We continue to develop assets with 50 to 100 year lifespan expectations and build for the needs of today, not tomorrow. Planners, developers or other related organizations must design and contract future-proof infrastructure projects that could provide flexible solutions.”

This year’s Emerging Trends, identifies a number of issues and topics that carry both pros and cons. For example, technology could enable unprecedented progress… or it could make current planning models obsolete; new pricing and funding models could release massive investment… or they could exacerbate issues of social and wealth inequality.

The nine trends identified in this year’s report include:

  • The clash of competing forces
  • Infrastructure planners start to think about flexibility
  • Sustainability – in all its forms – rises up the agenda
  • The pace of development comes under the microscope
  • Security becomes critical
  • Creating alignment between payers, financiers and beneficiaries
  • Pricing models mature
  • The benefits of sharing data become more evident 
  • Alternative asset classes re-converge

While this year’s Emerging Trends in Infrastructure contains a number of trends that have been evolving for some time, it also highlights topics that are only now developing and should continue to shape infrastructure markets for years to come.

About the paper

Over the past 6 years, KPMG International’s Global Infrastructure leadership team has tracked the key trends that – in their opinion – will influence the world of infrastructure over the coming years. Each year, the Global Infrastructure team hopes this report’s insights serve to not only highlight major trends but also help infrastructure players see some of the less obvious long-term changes affecting our sector.

About KPMG International

KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 154 countries and territories and have 200,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

About KPMG in Thailand

KPMG in Thailand, with more than 1,700 professionals offering audit, tax, and advisoryservices, is a member firm of the KPMG network of independent firms affiliatedwith KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Ploi Phayakvichien
Tel: 02 677 2034

Praewpan Luangphaipol
Tel: 02 677 2141 

© 2020 KPMG Phoomchai Audit Ltd., a Thai limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

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