Dagana 26.-27. maí 2004, var haldin evrópsk ráðstefna samgönguráðherra í Slóveníu. Á seinni deginum ávarpaði samgönguráðherra ráðstefnugesti (á ensku).

Mr. Chairman, ministers and other delegates.

First of all I would like to thank our host The Minister of Transport Mr. Marko Pavliha for the excellent hospitality we are receiving here in Slovenia.

I have read the progress report on Future direction of ECMT: Integration of Maritime Transport with great interest. I think the preliminary result from the informal group is quite logical, that the outstanding question is the possible integration of OECD Maritime activities with the surface transport activities of ECMT and the Joint Research Centre.

I totally agree that one has to look at transport in a more integrated way and the different modes must form a complete integrated transport chain. The synergies between maritime transport and surface activities are quite obvious, and should without doubt benefit policy making in both modes, if looked at together.

From the progress report I learned that the possibility remains that the OECD will give maritime transport a lower priority in the future. Hopefully an effort to bring the maritime and inland transport activities of both organisations together could help to change these plans.

My country, Iceland, is an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean as I think all of you know. Most of our exports and imports of goods are of course transported by sea and I don’t expect that to change in the near future. Our costal shipping is a different story. Before it’s network was quite sophisticated and very well served by the shipping companies. In the last ten years or so costal shipping has stagnated and all the growth in transport, which is very significant, has been by road transport. This is, by my meaning, not neccesarly a positive development in all aspects. Especially considering the environment and the traffic safety standpoint. We understand partly why this has happened but we think a lot more information is needed on the correlation between maritime transport and in our case road transport. Therefore all further work of the informal group has my full support, which is under the excellent chairmanship of Mr. Per Sanderud of Norway and I’m sure that we will receive some concrete proposals in Moscow on this issue.