Thursday 10 May 2012
International Institutions

Successful edition of the International Transport Forum (ITF) in Leipzig

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The 2012 Summit of the International Transport Forum (ITF) attracted over 1000 decision-makers from 53 member countries including Chile, which joined earlier this year. Participants debated the theme “Seamless Transport: Making Connections”. From 2 – 4 May, transport ministers and business leaders, representatives of non-governmental organisations and researchers discussed the issue of seamless transport. Organised under the Japanese Presidency, the Forum gave the floor to Mr Osamu Oshida, Senior Vice-Minister in the Ministry for Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan. Dr Peter Ramsauer, German Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Development, also took the floor and welcomed the participants to Leipzig.

ITF featured different highlights, opening plenary, ministerial round tables, side events, restricted sessions, tours and networkings and an exhibition grouping together several companies and organisations such as DHL, Deutsche Bahn, JR East, as well as the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to illustrate the theme of seamless transport and to show concretely how all the actors can play a crucial role and make seamless transport the most important element in the global supply chain. Among the themes discussed during the Forum, participants had the opportunity to exchange through very interesting keynotes and fruitful debates on:

  • Rethinking the last mile: What new approaches exist for freight delivery in cities?
  • The future of travel: How does e-Ticketing, smart-phone use and data sharing change mobility?
  • Facilitating global trade: Connectivity across borders
  • Transport for growth: Can better connectivity stimulate economic activity?
  • Smart grids: How to power the e-mobility future?
  • Collaboration in connectivity: Achieving seamless transport between cities and regions

Declaration from Ministers
Seamless transport is a powerful and ambitious strategic vision for the future of our transport systems. Seamless transport is highly interconnected and provides top-quality integrated service. It drives the development of better mobility and sustainable economic growth.

The structure and dynamics of transport systems – often involving complex modal transfers, multiple ownership structures, international border crossings and security threats – make overcoming the inherent friction within the transport system a constant challenge. This challenge can only be met through co-operation across borders and modes. Transport systems are also increasingly integrated with communications and energy networks, and this integration needs to be managed.

It is in this spirit that Ministers assembled at the 2012 Summit of the International Transport Forum. Small groups of Ministers held in-depth discussions on issues of pressing importance today: the Automotive Future, Piracy at Sea, Safety of Cruise Ships, and Volcanic Ash and Other Crises.

Discussions among all Ministers from member countries and transport actors across the world on Seamless Transport: Making the Connections were concluded by a Declaration.

The whole Declaration is available at:

A new ITF Secretary-General elected

Professor José Manuel Viegas, a Portuguese national, has been chosen by Ministers as Secretary-General-elect of the International Transport Forum. José Manuel Viegas is expected to take up office this summer, taking over from Michael Kloth of Germany, who led the Forum as Acting Secretary-General since November of last year.

“I am grateful to the Ministers for electing me as the new Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum. I look forward to making it a prime example of ‘network governance’, to foster innovative transport policies based on solid knowledge”, he said.

Professor Viegas comes to his new leadership position at the International Transport Forum from an internationally recognised career as an academic and consultant. He is a professor of civil engineering at the University of Lisbon and the chairman of Transport, Innovation and Systems s.a. ( a transport consultancy firm. Professor Viegas has worked in all transport modes and with numerous international organisations. In his career, he has frequently launched and managed collaborative networks across different countries as well as across different economic sectors engaged in transport issues. Viegas has also been responsible for technical, organisational and financial innovations in his projects. He also has a long and distinguished history of collaboration with the International Transport Forum and its precursor, the European Conference of Ministers of Transport.

UIC input

In a statement addressed to the Summit, UIC Director-General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux – who participated in the Forum and more specifically in a Round Table – spoke of the contribution that UIC and its member railways could offer with regard to “Seamless Transport”.

As far as railways are concerned,
“Seamless transport is a very ambitious objective. UIC, since its creation, has been developing a large number of projects based on the development of interoperability, which is part of the goal of seamless transportation by rail. UIC and its Members continuously put their efforts into further developing technical, operational, commercial and legal interoperability. However, though interoperability within the rail mode is still one of UIC’s goals, today this is not only between neighbouring European countries but also between continents through the development of intercontinental corridors and with other modes of transportation to improve the complementarity of modes. It is very important in our opinion to attract Ministers’ attention to the fact that in the 21st century money and space are scarce enough for the trends of full competition not to be continued between all modes. Instead, the best advantages of each mode should be optimised to make them complementary for the benefits of the end user and for the collective whole through optimising the financing of these respective developments”. […]

The whole UIC statement is available at:

UIC also wishes to warmly thank the ITF team for the quality of actions led during the Forum, in conjunction with the OECD, and for the very professional level of exchanges, always expressed within the framework of friendly relations. The discussions held as part of this edition were of high quality and gave rise to new ideas and possible changes beneficial to all actors in the transport chain.

Next Summit in 2013

Headlined “Funding Transport”, the next Summit of the International Transport Forum is scheduled to take place from 22 – 24 May 2013 in Leipzig.

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(© ITF)
(© ITF)
Professor José Manuel Viegas, new ITF Secretary-General (© ITF)
(© ITF)