UK Government Assumes International Transport Forum Presidency

The UK government is assuming the presidency of the International Transport Forum (ITF), which aims to improve people’s lives through cleaner and safer transportation.

The ITF is an intergovernmental organisation for transport policy, formed of 63 countries and hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The ITF 2022 Summit has been taking place in Leipzig, Germany from 18–20 May. The forum’s current president, Morocco is handing responsibility over to UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, who stated he aimed to make transport more connected, greener, inclusive, safe and resilient and innovative throughout the UK’s tenure.

The summit in Leipzig, Germany, brings together the largest gathering of transport ministers in the world

Shapps also said he was using the forum to bring countries together in solidarity against the invasion of Ukraine, uniting transport ministers from around the world with a commitment to end all ITF co-operation with Russia and Belarus. The UK has barred Russia’s flagship airline carrier Aeroflot, alongside Rossiya & Ural Airlines from using from their landing slots at any UK airport, which are worth up to 50 million GBP.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“Transport binds nations together for the common good. But access to the international transport network is a privilege. It requires countries to act in a responsible and respectful way to each other.So we cannot stand back when one state, entirely unprovoked, attacks another, killing thousands of innocent people, violating international law and breaching the UN Charter. The targeted destruction of one nation’s infrastructure, in particular its transport system, clearly contravenes the very foundations on which the ITF is built.”

New technologies such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) are also being demonstrated at the summit. AEB monitors the road ahead and automatically brakes the vehicle if the driver fails to respond to a collision threat. Although this technology is not being considered for UK vehicles, it is hoped that it will be rolled out worldwide through initiatives such as Stop the Crash.

Grant Shapps demonstrates AEB technology at the ITF Forum Summit in Leipzig

In addition, a new air services agreement between Canada and the UK has been announced to allow crucial transatlantic routes to continue following Brexit. Grant Shapps signed the bilateral agreement at the summit with Canadian Transport Minister, Omar Alghabra.

The Transport Secretary recently launched the challenge to deliver the first net zero transatlantic flight by the end of 2023, something he was keen to talk about at the summit.

Grant Shapps will now chair the intergovernmental Zero Emissions Vehicles Transition Council (ZEVTC) meetings, in which he is expected to discuss co-ordinating industry and government efforts for decarbonising heavy goods vehicles.

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