First Visit of the new U.S. Secretary of Transportation to Europe

    - Joins Other Confirmed Ministers at the 2009 International Transport

    PARIS, April 15 /CNW/ - "We are proud and very pleased that many
Ministers of our member countries have confirmed their presence at this year's
International Transport Forum, amongst others the U.K., France, Turkey,
Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Russia. And we are especially
pleased that the new U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, will pay
his first visit to Europe on the occasion of the 2009 Forum," announced Jack
Short, Secretary General of the International Transport Forum (ITF) in Paris
on Wednesday. The 2009 Forum on "Transport for a Global Economy: Challenges &
Opportunities in the Downturn" will take place in Leipzig from 26 to 29 May.
    "This Forum takes place at a critical time, as international
transportation feels the impact of the global economic downturn," said Mr.
LaHood. "I look forward to discussions with both government and private sector
leaders from around the world about how transportation not only can cope
during these difficult times, but also how it can contribute to economic
    An autonomous body linked with the OECD, the Paris-based ITF is the
world's leading forum on transportation and serves as an international
platform for transport ministers, industry and civil society to discuss and
find solutions on a global level. Decision makers and key figures from the 52
member countries of the ITF come together in the German city of Leipzig every
year for the global transport summit, "a truly global and unique platform and
the right place for international coordination and cooperation," Mr. Short
explained. "In the present downturn, international cooperation needs to be
strengthened and transport should play a strategic key role in the economic
recovery process."
    According to the Secretary General a more efficient, better funded, more
interoperable and more sustainable transport system is needed to underpin
growth and development. Therefore the 2009 Forum will discuss the social and
environmental impacts of the present downturn as well as strategic planning
and financing. "More efficient transport can contribute a significant boost to
restoring growth and confidence in the world economy," Mr. Short stressed.
"This year's Forum in Leipzig is an opportunity to lead the way, and the
presence of a high-ranking member of the Obama administration is a very
important signal."

    More details on the 2009 International Transport Forum at:

For further information:

For further information: Michael Zirpel, Director of Communications,
International Transport Forum, Tel. +33(0)1-45-24-9596, Assistant: Tel +
33(0)1-45-24-95-88, Fax. +33(0)1-45-24-13-22,

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