"New Thinking in the Face of the Economic Downturn Required"

    - Presentation of the 2009 International Transport Forum Programme, the
    World's Leading Transport Sector Meeting, bringing together 52 Ministers
    and Top Business Leaders in Leipzig

    PARIS and BERLIN, April 24 /CNW/ - "Difficult times require new
thinking," said the Secretary General of the International Transport Forum
(ITF) Jack Short in Berlin on Friday, "Because in the face of the current
economic downturn, global transportation faces major challenges." But at the
same time, Mr. Short added, there are also opportunities for sustainable
change. Together with the German Minister of Transport Wolfgang Tiefensee and
the Turkish Minister of Transport Binali Yildirim the Secretary General
presented the programme of this year's International Transport Forum, which
will be held in Leipzig from 26-29 May 2009 under the theme "Transport for a
Global Economy: Challenges & Opportunities in the Downturn."
    Minister Tiefensee reinforced: "The globalised world in particular
requires linkage and cooperation of states. The financial crisis made this
alarmingly clear. The present economic downturn results in plummeting shipping
rates which affect the former growth and success sector transport and
logistics. The International Transport Forum provides a unique opportunity for
the transport sector to discuss concepts for positive action. Because we do
not want to be driven by the changes, but reshape them in cooperation."
    As the President of the 2009 Forum the Turkish Minister of Transport
Binali Yildirim came to Berlin. "There is no doubt that transport as a
critical component of the global economy, is one of the sectors most gravely
affected by the current downturn. As the International Transport Forum, we
should take lessons from the current crisis and serve as a guide to our sector
in designing and implementing necessary measures to overcome the current
challenges. Having the Presidency of the forthcoming Forum, which will gather
all actors of the sector together with policy makers, we believe that it is a
well-timed opportunity to collaboratively draw up resolves and commitments for
fighting this crisis," stressed Mr. Yildirim. Yet, even within the difficult
context, there are also new possibilities for positive action, Mr. Short
added. "The revitalisation of international trade is certain: the question is
not if - but how and when?"
    To address the situation, policy-makers everywhere are employing
instruments to engage an economic recovery process, many of which are already
showing tentative results in national economies. "Transport can and will play
an important role in these stimulus packages," the Secretary General, the Host
as well as the President of the ITF are convinced. "At the same time, actions
to speed economic recovery should ensure a major rethinking of transport
programmes to prepare global mobility in the 21st century." More efficient
transport can create a significant boost to support economic growth and create
new confidence in the economic future. Yet, protectionist and purely national
responses risk accentuating the problem in the medium-term, and solutions need
to be found at an international level. "The 2009 Forum in Leipzig is an
opportunity to be part of this cooperative impetus for change."
    Alongside the Ministers of the Member countries the economist and writer
Jacques Attali and the Vice President of the European Commission Antonio
Tajani will deliver keynotes in Leipzig. Amongst others taking an active part
in panels and workshops will be the CEOs Peter Bakker, TNT, Tim Clark,
Emirates, Stelios Hagji-Ioannou, Easyjet, Joachim Hunold, Air Berlin, Leif
Ostling, Scania, Scott Price, DHL Europe as well as Ron Widdows, NOL.
    A unique platform for strategic thinking on the essential role played by
transport today and in the future, the International Transport Forum is a
global inter-governmental platform which presently brings together 52
Ministries. Together with senior representatives from government, industry and
the scientific community, the 2009 Forum is an opportunity to review some of
the most pressing questions posed by volatile global developments.
    For registration to the Forum and further information go to

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, michael.zirpel@oecd.org

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