International meet to discuss highways between Asia and Europe

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New Delhi, Jan 4 (UNI) A two-day international conference on transport, with its focus on dramatic chages in India's transport logistics and building state of the art highways to ensure seamless inter-modal transportaion systems between Asia and Europe, gets under way here on January 7.

To be organised under the auspices of All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA), 'India Global Logistics Vision-2008' will be inaugurated by former Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who is to deliver the keynote address.

Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu will deliver the valedictory address at the conference, which is supported by the Geneva-based International Union of Road Transport (IURT).

Giving details of the conference, AITWA President Ramesh Agarwal said India Global Logistics Vision-2008 has been conceptualised to showcase the growth and development of India's logistics and transport sector in the past decde and the great potential it has for future.

''The event will be an eye-opener to the world to the new developments in India with respect to infrastructure, road transport sector and logistics and will change their age-old perceptions about the country and the people involved in the logistics business,'' Mr Agarwal said.

He said the country's logistics industry has been growing at around 10 per cent per year and is targeting a revenue of Rs 4,50,000 crore during this year.

The deliberations over the two days will include a wide range of trade facilitation issues, such as import and export procedures, payments, insurance and other financial requirements.

In addition, there will be discussions on issues like transport logistics and business opportunities in India, vehicle technology and drivers' health and support systems.

Mr Agarwal said India's logistics industry is in tune with the developments elsewhere in the world and there is an ample scope for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector.

The event is to focus on the critical issue of highways development between Asia and Europe, he said.

Mr Agarwal said it is surprising that trade and commerce across South Asian roads is less than through most regions in Africa.

''Developing transnational highways and roads network through Asia will provide a tremendous boost to the social and economic development of the region, especially to India,'' he said, adding that India is the natural leader for this initiative as it is the only country that shares its border with almost all the South Asian countries.

Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal, IRTU Deputy Secretary General Umberto de Pretto and representatives of automobile and insuarnce sectors are to attend the conference, touted as one of the biggest international transport events in India.

UNI SKS-BJR MS KN1756

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