Oman’s ITF membership is a strategic milestone, says senior official

Oman Saturday 25/May/2024 14:48 PM
By: Ashok Purohit
Oman’s ITF membership is a strategic milestone, says senior official

LEIPZIG: The International Transport Forum (ITF), which welcomed Oman as one of its latest member nations at the ITF Annual Summit in Leipzig, Germany, on Thursday is a great platform to join, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology (MTCIT).

Oman, along with Saudi Arabia and the Dominican Republic, was unanimously voted into the Council of Ministers of Transport at the summit, raising the ITF member nations to 69. The ITF is the only intergovernmental organisation with a global mandate for all transport modes. It is administratively integrated into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and acts as a think tank for transport policy, organising a global summit of transport ministers annually.

In his exclusive remarks to Times of Oman in Leipzig after Oman’s inclusion, Hamood Musabah Al Alawi, Metro Project Manager and Head of Railways at the ministry, said: “It's really a privilege to be part of this esteemed International Transport Forum. We look forward to collaborating with the member nations and reaping the benefits of joining an international organisation that has made a significant contribution to the transport and communications sector.”

The senior official added: “Forums like ITF give a member nation access to a wealth of knowledge, information, and data, which are crucial elements in planning and bettering the transport system for any country. It is also a great platform to gain access to centres of excellence around the world, particularly in the transport sector. We would also be able to gain from knowledge sharing in the fields of mobility, green mobility, public transport, innovation, technology, policymaking, and engagement at bilateral and global levels. So, it is actually a great platform where 69 nations are together, and our membership is a strategic milestone”

Al Alawi continued: “When a nation is an active player on such a large stage, the journey towards improvement in logistics and transport sectors, like how Oman has started the transformation journey, benefits. The transformation that we have started in the logistics and transport sector is huge with key projects and also Oman’s commitment to Net Zero by 2050. Our membership in ITF will also help us get advice from advanced countries and we feel that Oman can play a big role in this sector.”

He further remarked: “The benchmarks set by developed member nations and the best practices, along with data and regular collaboration, will help us continue to optimally utilise and further expand our infrastructure in the country in the future. Joining these international forums and international bodies is also a global trend as nations have realised the advantages. We saw Saudi Arabia and the Dominican Republic also join with Oman as the three new nations, and with 69 members, it is quite a large organisation, which has done good work over the years.”

He added: “With us joining the organisation, it also brings Oman into prominence on the world stage. It is extremely important. We enjoy a lot of blessings when it comes to the geographical position in Oman. We also enjoy quite a robust road infrastructure and some of the key success factors that would make us a successful logistical and transport hub. So, we need to bring that to the world and make people aware and make the world aware.”

The senior ministry representative hoped that “with Oman joining the ITF, it would also attract investments in the growing transport sector.” He said: “Our transformation journey is on the right track, but such journeys are not without challenges. There are always challenges and the key thing is how to mitigate them.”

With Oman and Saudi Arabia joining ITF, there are now six members from MENA and three from the GCC region. The other nations are UAE, Morocco, Tunisia, and Israel. Europe has the maximum 44 nations in the organisation.

Welcoming Oman along with Saudi Arabia and the Dominican Republic as the new members, ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim said: “The ITF welcomes the Dominican Republic, Oman, and Saudi Arabia with open arms as new members. We are proud to have with us a seventh nation from Latin America and the Caribbean, and our second and third members from the Gulf.”

Kim added: “Oman’s Vision 2040 depends on the provision of advanced transportation, communications, and information technology infrastructure that is safe and integrated with urban and economic development. In particular, Oman’s Transport Ministry has initiated plans for zero-emission light and heavy-duty vehicles. ITF’s member countries look forward to assisting Oman in any way that they can. I am sure that Oman will find much inspiration in the experiences of other countries for further improving its transport systems.”

After the conclusion of the Council of Ministers of Transport, Chile took over the ITF presidency for a one-year term from Lithuania. The Czech Republic will serve as first vice-president and Azerbaijan as second vice-president. The Czech Republic will take over the presidency after Chile, with the next ITF Annual Summit to be held in Leipzig from May 21-23, 2025.

More than 1,200 delegates, including journalists from around the world, attended the 2024 ITF Annual Summit, which began on Wednesday and concluded on Friday. The annual summit of transport ministers witnessed key debates and discussions on numerous transport and communications-related topics, with speakers and experts involved in nearly 70 sessions over the three days.