Print Download PDF Embed

News Release

New Report on Best Practices for Operating and Maintaining Infrastructure

Yann Zopf, Associate Director, +41 (0)79 204 16 10, +507 65 40 34 46  yzo@weforum.org

Español

  • A new report from the World Economic Forum, Strategic Infrastructure: Steps to Operate and Maintain Infrastructure Efficiently and Effectively, focuses on an often neglected and yet critical practice that increases an asset’s productivity and longevity
  • Report provides an actionable framework, best practices and case studies for increasing the throughput of existing assets, reducing their operating costs and extending their lifetime
  • Report is part of the Forum’s Strategic Infrastructure initiative and its Knowledge Series reports
  • Download the full report here

Panama City, Panama, 2 April 2014 – The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, has released a new report on best practices for operating and maintaining infrastructure. Strategic Infrastructure: Steps to Operate and Maintain Infrastructure Efficiently and Effectively looks at how to deal with the gap in infrastructure investment worldwide, which is estimated to stand at $1 trillion per year. Rather than focusing on constructing new assets, the report suggests governments should make the most out of existing infrastructure through more effective operations and maintenance (O&M). Using more than 200 real-life case studies, it provides guidance on how this can be done.

Drawing on examples from the various infrastructure sectors, the report identifies two types of best practices: implementation best practices (for asset operators, to enhance O&M performance) and enablement best practices (for policy-makers, to create the conditions for sustainable O&M). Implementation best practices include how to maximize utilization and quality, reduce O&M costs, minimize adverse social and environmental effects, and extend asset lifetimes. Enablement best practices cover the areas of funding, capability-building and governance reform.

The report also contains a comprehensive case study of the best practices applied by the Panama Canal Authority, which has continuously strived to optimize the O&M of this crucial waterway that links the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, facilitating global trade.

Thomas Maier, Managing Director of Infrastructure, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Infrastructure and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Strategic Infrastructure Advisory Committee, noted that in order to “solve the infrastructure gap, governments should not only concentrate on building new assets, but also consider innovative approaches to getting the most out of their existing asset base. Any government may use the framework presented in this report as guidance for optimizing their infrastructure asset management, in order to enable the optimized use of infrastructure for the benefit of civil society.”

Pedro Rodrigues de Almeida, Director, Head of Infrastructure and Urban Development at the World Economic Forum, emphasized that “governments often focus too much on building new assets. But as these will be in operation for 20 to 30 years after initial construction – sometimes longer – new projects are just the tip of the iceberg. Better management of existing infrastructure offers the opportunity to optimize their utility and lifetime at a reasonable cost.”

Lee McIntire, Executive Chairman of CH2MHILL, an engineering company, said “the sustainable O&M best practices set forth in the report will be valuable for infrastructure assets across the globe, and can help drive economic growth in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.”

To help narrow the infrastructure gap, the World Economic Forum is working with its Partners and constituents to develop new forms of public-private cooperation in infrastructure. Throughout 2014, the World Economic Forum will advance a new approach to financing for early-stage project preparation; disseminate the best practices collected over the three phases of the Strategic Infrastructure initiative; and work on furthering the regional infrastructure agenda in Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia.

Notes to Editors 

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is tied to no political, partisan or national interests (www.weforum.org).


The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (www.weforum.org).