Jack Short, Secretary General of the International Transport Forum (ITF), and Deputy Secretary General Alain Rathery are visiting Finland 9-11 July. During their stay, they will look at the border-crossing arrangements at Vaalimaa, on the Finnish-Russian border, and also visit the port of Kotka.
This spring, the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) was transformed into a broader worldwide transport forum, the ITF. In the meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, at the end of May, Finland was chosen to be the first country to chair the ITF. Ms Anu Vehviläinen, Finland's Minister of Transport, thus acts as the Chair.
In visiting Vaalimaa, Secretary General Short and Deputy Secretary General Rathery are continuing the theme of the Sofia meeting with regard to congestion and border-crossings. Their discussions at Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communications also deal with the role of the chairing country in the new organisation, and the new form of ministerial meeting to be arranged next spring.
The new transport forum has a total of 53 member countries. The new full members include big countries that are members of the OECD: the USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia and Mexico. Starting next spring, the Forum's yearly sessions will be held in Leipzig, Germany. The theme for next spring's session will be "Transport and Energy". Key topics will include the impacts of transport on climate change, energy efficiency in transport, and alternative fuels. As well as Transport Ministers, participants in this and future sessions will also include representatives of science and technology, business and industry, and interested organisations.
Between the annual sessions, the Forum's highest powers of decision are exercised by its Transport Management Board. While Finland is the chairing country, the Board will be chaired by Mr Juhani Tervala, Director-General at Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Mr Juhani Tervala, Director-General, Department of General Affairs
Tel. +358 50 552 7260