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NTRO and Tongan Delegation
National Transport Research OrganisationApr 2, 2024 2:51:38 PM2 min read

New and Innovative Strategic Transport Infrastructure Advisory Program Launched between the KINGDOM OF TONGA and NTRO

The Kingdom of Tonga’s Ministry of Infrastructure (MOI) and Australia’s National Transport Research Organisation (NTRO) have formalised their collaboration on a Strategic Transport Infrastructure Advisory Program (STIAP). This milestone agreement, welcomed by Tonga's Minister of Infrastructure, Hon Sevenitini Toumoua, and NTRO's CEO, Mr. Michael Caltabiano, marks a significant step towards enhancing Tonga's transport infrastructure.


The collaboration kicks off with an 'Early Works Package' involving road, maritime, and aviation assets. This package focuses on key areas including: Materials Science, Infrastructure Measurement, Asset Performance, and Strategic Transport Infrastructure Advisory.

  • Critically, the Materials Science focus area will see an ‘uplift’ of the MOI evidence-based, scientific assessment of local materials for infrastructure projects within the Kingdom. The NTRO will commence work with the MOI laboratory team in a ‘partnership in science’.
  • The Infrastructure Measurement work will focus on road and aviation assets – allowing a forward pathway to be mapped for asset performance and management.
  • NTRO Asset Performance experts will commence work on selected aviation and road assets, whilst the NTRO Strategic Infrastructure Advisory team will focus on examining major infrastructure projects currently under consideration by the MOI.

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"This new partnership agreement represents a high level of commitment by the Government of Tonga to improving our roads, ports and airport,” said Hon Sevenitini Toumoua, The Minister of Infrastructure.

“As an engineer, I am very excited about this work with Australia's National Transport Research Organisation (NTRO). Tonga will access NTRO's world class transport laboratory services. At same time help build up and certify our own transport laboratory here at the Ministry of Infrastructure. This will provide scientific and measurement tools we urgently need to help build and maintain Tonga's transport infrastructure.

As always, the main aim is to improve the safety of transport. This also provides real scientific-based solutions to fixing our deteriorating roads and the rapidly increasing traffic and congestion in Tonga.

We will make better informed decisions for major infrastructure projects, not just to get the best outcome for Tonga, but to deliver works efficiently and cost-effectively. I look forward to working with NTRO, and believe this is the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial partnership."

tonga handshake

This 'Early Works Package' serves as a precursor to a proposed 10-year program aimed at enhancing road, port, and aviation assets across Tonga. Through this collaboration, MOI and NTRO are poised to drive safe, sustainable and resilient transport infrastructure outcomes throughout the Kingdom.

"The NTRO is incredibly excited to advance work on this program as a ‘critical-friend’ to the Ministry of Infrastructure,” said Jason Sprott, NTRO’s Executive Director. “We will walk with the MOI in a true partnership – listening, learning and transferring skills and knowledge along the way. This Agreement signals the commencement of an enduring program where we will see significant improvement in sustainable transport infrastructure – being the platform upon which to build a more prosperous and resilient nation. The Early Works Package has now commenced, and we will work with the Tongan and Australian Governments in securing approvals for the longer-term 10-year program of work.”

The formalisation of the collaboration between MOI and NTRO marks a new era of partnership and progress for Tonga's transport infrastructure. With a focus on innovation, sustainability and strategic ‘network planning’, this program of work sets the stage for resilient transport infrastructure outcomes that will benefit the people of Tonga for years to come.