“Secretary General literally means serving leader”

“ If the last decade of ITF was the phase of growth based on strong leadership, the future vision during my term of office is to effectively respond to the needs of the 59 member countries, the true owner of ITF. ”

 Dr. Young Tae Kim(currently holding the Head of Transport Policy Coordination Division in the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport, Republic of Korea)has been chosen as the new Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum(ITF) by the transport ministers of ITF member countries at their annual summit in Leipzig, Germany, on 1 June, 2017. Dr. Kim is the first Secretary-General from a non-European country and he speaks fluent English, French and some Spanish with wide international experience of visiting 55 countries so far.

 Media KN, a weekly publisher of the Shippers’ Journal and BVL(German Logistics Association) Chapter Korea conducted an exclusive interview with Dr. Kim based on the request of leading foreign readers.

 Despite his hectic schedule ahead of his departure in August, Dr. Kim was willing to devote his time to intensive interviews in late afternoon, introducing his rebranding plans for ITF during his term of office.
 Being one of OECD PARTⅡ programs, ITF is an intergovernmental organization with 59 member countries including 15 non-European countries and leads the comprehensive discussions about all transport modes.

 “Although ITF has pursued comprehensive approach to all transport modes, I can say that road and railway modes have been the mainstream so far. However, ITF is going to collect a wide range of information on air and maritime transport field and work on the issues within the scope of not overlapping with related int’l organizations” Dr. Kim said.

 Also, Dr. Kim said that I hope ASEAN countries and South American coastal countries get interested in joining ITF members during my term of office so that ITF will be able to make more active discussion about all transport modes from the international perspectives. Dr. Kim emphasized that this would fit the identity of ITF and the most important thing to make it realized would be truly interactive communication between the secretariat and the member countries. For instance, Germany, the country with considerable stake among member countries, holds regular ITF forum on an annual basis in Leipzig completely supported by the Ministry of Transport, Saxony state government and the city of Leipzig. Dr. Kim said Germany is a typical excellent case of delivering the country’s opinions effectively through organizing separate task force team for ITF activities together with government support.

 When he was asked a question about the feasibility of autonomous vessel currently progressed in Norway, “Transport is a fruit of human beings’ imagination and creativity.” he answered. “For example, we could only think about conventional automobiles in the past but now it has got to the point where imaginary vehicles from hybrid, electronic vehicles to drones have been actualized and even we are already enjoying them.” he added. So Dr. Kim presumes that remote-controlled autonomous vessel will become feasible in the foreseeable future and like automobiles’ case, related policies will be dealt with by transport research institutes, transport safety authorities, transport conferences and ITF progressively. In connection with, Dr. Kim said that he believes building ‘Think Tank’ platform, in which transport researchers in every member countries can actively participate, would be necessary.

 In addition, as port air pollution becomes serious environmental problem, regarding maritime policy issue concerning particularly on green house gas reduction and fine dust issue, he said, “Since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 and became an international core issue in 2016, maritime sector should continue to deal with eco-friendly technology policy and comply with regulations of Int’l Maritime Organization (IMO).”

 As to the last question on his attitude of mind as a newly-elected ITF secretary general, Dr. Kim concluded, “Secretary General literally means ‘serving leader’ and obviously not an authoritive position.” Dr. Kim expressed his aspiration to create a variety of synergy effects with European and non-European member countries based on strong responsibility and willingness to respond positively to their high expectation.