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International Transport Forum In Leipzig, Germany

Ministers and top business leaders to discuss global transport in the face of economic downturn

eTN Staff Writer  May 29, 2009

The International Transport Forum (ITF) in Leipzig, Germany convened today, bringing together 52 ministers and top business leaders from around the world at the political highlight of the forum. Today's three panels will be one of the highlights of the forum, presenting the most important issues of the conference. Headlined "Transport for a Global Economy: Challenges & Opportunities in the Downtown," the world's leading platform for the international transport has been meeting since Tuesday, May 26 and will continue until Friday, May 29.

"This year's forum occurs at a very difficult time", said the Secretary General of the ITF Jack Short today. "Global production is down, trade is down even more, and transport is down most of all, by over 20 percent in many markets and sectors. It is, therefore, an enormous challenge for all of us to chart some ways forward for our sector. There is a unique opportunity today to identify key actions that can be taken in the transport sector to help improve our economies and to allocate responsibility for pushing forward with the actions necessary. Policy makers and business leaders have the opportunity to react and to say how they see the way forward for transport in the 21st century. We need new thinking from the sector."

As a supra-national and inter-governmental event, the forum, which is part of the OECD family, provides a unique opportunity for strategic thinking on the essential role played by transport today and in the future. The ITF offers the opportunity for decision-makers of both the private sector and public bodies to devise strategies and actions on a national and international level.

The ITF 2009 is hosted by Germany, represented by the country's Minister for Transport Mr. Wolfgang Tiefensee and is held under the presidency of Turkey, represented by Mr. Binali Yildirim, the Turkish Minister of Transport. Both ministers and the ITF secretary general will welcome delegations today, including the new member state India. In addition, keynote speeches for today's highlight event will be delivered by renowned European economist and writer Jacques Attali; the new US Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, (also making his first appearance in Europe); as well as Antonio Tajani, the Vice President of the European Commission.

The minister-industry panels will discuss pressing questions, i.e., how the current downturn is affecting transport and the appropriate policy responses, the role for transport in effective stimulus packages, the risks of a return to protectionism, measures to deal with the social consequences of the economic downturn, and the challenge of how to meet environmental goals.

Amongst the business leaders taking part in panels and workshops are the CEOs Peter Bakker, TNT; Tim Clark, Emirates; Stelios Hagji-Ioannou, Easy Group; Joachim Hunold, Air Berlin; Leif Ostling, Scania; Scott Price, DHL Europe Express; as well as Ron Widdows, Neptune Orient Lines; and the new CEO of Deutsche Bahn, Rudiger Grube.

Ministers and top business leaders to discuss global transport in the face of economic downturn
ITF Secretary General Jack Short - Image via

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