LEIPZIG, Germany, May 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Secretary General of the International Transport Forum, Jack Short, along with Leipzig's mayor, Burkhard Jung, opened the International Transport Forum 2008 in Leipzig yesterday with a tour of the concomitant exhibition.

International Transport Forum 2008 is one of the world's largest transport summits, with over 600 attendees from politics, industry, science and civil society. It focuses on important strategic transport issues and is the only global platform for Transport Ministers. More than 100 journalists from around the world are covering this unique event. The spotlight is on climate change and rising energy consumption. "The transport sector is facing a most difficult challenge, as it must find the right balance between strengthening transport and trade on one hand and reducing transport-related greenhouse gases and dependence on crude oil on the other hand," Jack Short said.

Transport ministers and senior officials from 52 countries are participating in the Forum. Decision makers have to devise strategies and actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly. These must be enacted at the national and international level. In this context, the organisers underlined the fact that the event is one of the first in the sector to be carbon neutral.

An exhibition on energy and transport as well as numerous other events are taking place simultaneously with the Forum. A detailed programme can be found at http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/forum2008.html.

The exhibition at the Leipzig Congress Centre between 28-30 May, has been made possible by representatives from associations, companies, cities and local authorities, including the city of Leipzig. In addition, there is an "Open Forum" where scientists present their current research programmes and participants can learn about best practice examples in technology, energy and transport.

Additionally, on 28-29 May, Deutsche Bahn AG is presenting its contribution to climate protection in an exhibition at the Leipzig Hauptbahnhof/Central Station (Track 16/17, daily from 4 until 7 pm). The famous Leipzig Children's University has taken on the topic of transport and climate change (Neues Rathaus/New Town Hall Leipzig, 28 May 5 to 6 pm).

A competition for young scientists who have devoted their research to the reduction of greenhouse emissions was also held. At the gala dinner on Thursday night, the winners will be announced in the presence of the transport ministers. Further highlights of the programme include contributions by Angela Merkel (followed by a photo session on 29 May at 12.30 pm), Rajendra Pachauri, Yvo de Boer, Thomas Enders, Hartmut Mehdorn and many other participants. On the concluding day, there will be a closing press conference at 1 pm.

Exclusive events have been arranged for participants of the International Transport Forum, such as visits to the DHL European Hub and the BMW plant in Leipzig. Press attendance is possible by arrangement. For more information please contact the Press Counter at the Press Centre Tel. +49(0)341-41455-573, Fax. +49-341-678-8182, pr@leipziger-messe.de

For more information please contact the Press Counter at the Press Centre Tel. +49(0)341-41455-573, Fax. +49-341-678-8182, pr@leipziger-messe.de