Interview of the week | Ken Shirley on next week’s RTF Conference

Friday, October 21, 2016



The world of transportation and road freight is changing rapidly. New vehicle technologies, new commercial and environmental expectations, and new government regulations are all important aspects of our changing world and will have a major impact on New Zealand’s road freight industry into the future.

The Road Transport Forum holds its annual conference next week and chief executive Ken Shirley spoke of what attendees can expect.

“The theme is innovation and change, which is very timely given the intelligent transport systems and being on the cusp of more emphasis on electric vehicles,” he said.

The conference’s keynote speaker is Ian Wright, founder and CEO of Wrightspeed.

“He’s a kiwi but working in San Francisco,” said Shirley. “He’s the one who developed the powertrain for electrification of trucks, and NZ Bus has already taken a $45 million order to convert the Wellington trolley buses, using his powertrain system, so that’s exciting.

“We also have our members’ forum session, where as a membership-based organisation we encourage current issues to be raised from the floor, and we have our technical people there to address those. We have breakout workshop sessions in the four task groups, logging, livestock transport, metropolitan and ports, and also the long haul and bulk. Jeff Fleury will also be giving a paper, he’s been presenting the Rollover Prevention Safer Journey’s Programme and so far we’ve had 80 of these.”

The National Truck Driving Championship is being held concurrently with the conference and the winners will be recognised at the awards dinner on the Friday night.

“We’re having a networking barbecue on the Thursday night, and we’ve got a conference breakfast with Urzila Carlson, which should be a bit of a laugh. Jeremy Corbett is the MC at the awards dinner and the Minister of Transport will be there too.”

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