Earlier today, Transport Minister Joe Mizzi participated in the annual International Transport Forum’s Ministerial Summit held in Leipzig, Germany.
The ITF’s Annual Summit is the world’s largest gathering of transport Ministers, with a total of more than 1,000 participants, from 71 countries. More than 65 countries are represented by their respective Ministers, including Malta. The main topic for discussion by Ministers this year was Green and Inclusive Transport.
During his formal intervention, Minister Mizzi pointed out how, in recent years, society had become increasingly mobile and how freight deliveries had become more time-critical and that this had led to unabated growth in the demand for transport across all modes. He indicated that, while increased transport demand should be good for trade and for our economies, transport infrastructure development was often not able to keep pace with demand and that traffic bottlenecks had inevitably developed. He warned that the resultant congestion, not only comes at an economic cost to society, but that we are also paying a high environmental cost in terms of air quality, noise and climate change.
The Minister mentioned that aviation, maritime and road transport sectors in particular are still largely carbon-dependent and that the decarbonisation of these modes should be kept high on the global political agenda.
Minister Mizzi shared some of Malta’s experiences in promoting from green and inclusive mobility; particularly the recent changes in Malta’s public transport system - including innovative features like mobile apps and smartcard ticketing that had contributed to the 15% increase in bus patronage in the first quarter of this year over last year. He urged fellow transport policy makers to take the necessary steps to help promote electro mobility and to introduce measures to help reduce the consumer price gap between electric and conventional vehicles.
The Ministerial session concluded with Ministers pledging support for the ITF Declaration on ‘Green and Inclusive Transport’. Minister Mizzi thanked the ITF for the specific recognition that had been given to the IMO and ICAO for the important work they are carrying out in climate change adaptation and mitigation at a global level.