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Speech by British Ambassador Martin Harris for the opening of Mass Transport conference

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This is the largest business conference we are organising this year, with a focus not on one transport sector, but four: railways, highways and roads, airports and ports

Bucharest, 22 October

Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to be here today and open the Mass Transport Conference together with the Romanian Transport Minister Mrs. Ramona Manescu. I would also like to welcome our special guest speakers from EBRD (Mr. James Hyslop) and AECOM (Mr. Martin Bright). I couldn’t have asked for better company.

It is a special occasion for us, as this is the largest business conference we are organising this year, with a focus not on one transport sector, but four: railways, highways and roads, airports and ports.

Transport infrastructure is the engine of economic development for any country. It enables other sectors - business, tourism, education, culture - to achieve their potential. It contributes decisively to the long-term success of Romania and is a mandatory condition for attracting foreign investors. Transportation is thus an industry, which serves, and affects, the national interest. Today, Romania needs more than ever rapid connections with the other European countries through the main Trans – European Networks axes (TEN-T), needs proper and efficient infrastructure to service its all economic sectors and reduce travel times and costs.

The transport infrastructure in Romania has been developing over the past years. The support and advice offered by EBRD, EIB and the World Bank added significant value, however, this is not an easy or straightforward process. I have been here for 3 years now and I can see things developing in the right direction. The aim is to see Romania benefiting from faster and more efficient trains on the network, more air routes operational, more flights operated every day, better road infrastructure and highways connections throughout the country. Not least, to see a strategic port on the Black Sea – Constanta used at its full capacity and potential.

And British businesses have anticipated this positive trend.

Today we have here 20 British companies with the richest expertise in transport infrastructure, starting from engineering procurement, highway and transportation PPPs, specialised communications, design of digital displays, safety solutions, high quality modular bridges, etc. to various other applications for the transport industry and world class development and management consultancy. We are lucky to benefit not only from the presence of the world leaders such as Atkins and Mott MacDonald, but also the smaller but highly innovative specialists, such as Image Techniques or Spiralite. I will not mention all companies part of the mission as I do not want to miss any, but you can meet them all today during the networking events and some of you I know have meetings arranged with these companies during the next couple of days.

Today, specialists will talk and take you through details of the projects Romania is currently considering, and which entail sophisticated technical designs and complicated highway and railway routes. This is not an easy undertaking, but the UK is best placed to offer expertise and advice, including on better access to the available European funding.

I would like to thank again Minister Ramona Manescu for her presence here today, and to all of our guest speakers, specialists and business representatives. I wish you all a very productive day.