Speech Article from  Transport Canada

Archived - Speaking notes for the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities – open ministerial session of the International Transport Forum's 2012 summit

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Leipzig, Germany
May 3, 2012

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Ladies and gentlemen, I am very pleased to be here in Leipzig with you today.

Let me take this opportunity to thank our German host, Dr. Ramsauer, and pay tribute to Minister Maeda, for his leadership in presiding over this year's Summit.

Ministers, business leaders, and members of the international community gather in Leipzig because we understand the important role transportation plays in driving our economies, creating jobs, and improving our quality of life.

Transportation is key to international trade, economic growth and the prosperity of all trading nations.

We all have a stake in ensuring that our transportation networks are connected, efficient and seamless.

As you know, the many players and stakeholders across the system and supply chain, each with its own set of circumstances, can be seen as a challenge. And yet, in a very fundamental way, all of the players – transportation providers, logistics professionals, small business owners, politicians — have the same interest: improving the transportation system. And there is a role for everyone in this endeavour.

In Canada, we have asked the question: What is the best role for government in creating greater collaboration and seamlessness between all stakeholders?

The answer has been to take a leadership role — to involve all levels of government and the private sector, and to implement a national framework for strategic gateways and trade corridors.

Canada's three major gateways and trade corridors — the Atlantic Gateway, the Continental Gateway, and the Asia Pacific Gateway — are integrated systems of transportation infrastructure and key drivers of international trade.

Our strategy in developing our Gateways has been a systems-based approach, focusing not on one mode in isolation, but on an integrated system of transportation modes and infrastructure.

While we have made significant improvements to transportation infrastructure across the country, our government recognizes that supply chain efficiency does not rest entirely on a port, a bridge, or a highway, but rather on how well all of these parts work together.

Strategic partnerships with the public and private sectors have also been instrumental to our success.

We have learned that bringing diverse interests to the table and leading competitors to view each other as partners is possible when shared goals and benefits are clear.

The purpose of partnership is that ideas and resources can be leveraged to help us move forward together.

In Canada, significant investments have been leveraged through combined and coordinated financing. And it is critical that we ensure sustainable funding models for future transportation infrastructure.

Furthermore, innovation and competitive measures help to ensure transportation networks meet the needs of today, and the future. Advanced technology applications, including intelligent transportation systems, help transport providers improve efficiency, and provide users with better options.

The benefits of greater efficiency also extend to the environment: the more efficient our systems are, the greener they become.

Let me conclude by saying that the opportunities for dialogue and collaboration here at the International Transport Forum are key to building stronger relationships and addressing joint challenges.

Strong partnerships — at home and with our international partners — are essential to achieving Canada's transportation and international trade objectives.

Thank you.

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