Spotlight on ASEAN transportation initiatives

Azlan Othman

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof, in his capacity as Chairman of the ASEAN Transport Ministers (ATM) Meeting for 2020, chaired the 26th ATM Meeting and Associated Dialogue Partner Meetings held via video conference on November 24 and yesterday.

The meeting discussed policy measures to support the implementation of transport-related initiatives and programmes of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF), adopted by the 37th ASEAN Summit recently. The ministers also considered transport activities and programmes under the relevant cooperation initiatives to be discussed with the dialogue partners.

The meeting also discussed specific initiatives to ensure the sustainability of the transport sectors in the ASEAN region, among them were to ease networks on the movement of essential goods, re-opening of the aviation sector in phases taking into consideration the current developments of the COVID-19 pandemic; facilitation of travel between ASEAN member countries through initiatives such as ‘Travel Bubbles’ and also the management of crew change in the maritime sector during the pandemic.

The meeting approved the adoption of the Brunei Declaration on Road Safety 2020 which also includes the need to achieve the objectives of engineering, education and enforcement, reducing injuries and fatalities on the road for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and people with disabilities through a holistic and safe system as well as awareness programmes on best practices in road safety.

The meeting also launched the ASEAN Road Safety Video, which is a compilation of videos from each ASEAN member state showcasing ASEAN’s efforts in improving road safety and reducing the road fatalities in the region during the last decade. Seven key deliverables were also adopted – Annual Priorities/Key Deliverables for 2021; Recommendations of the Mid-Term Review of the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan (KLTSP) 2016-2025 and the Revised Schedule of Actions of the KLTSP 2016-2025; Implementing Protocol-2 (IP2): Aviation Training Organisations of Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Flight Crew Licensing (MRA on FCL); ASEAN Air Navigation Service (ANS) Master Plan; ASEAN-wide COVID-19 Operational Guidelines; Guidelines for improving standard procedure for reporting road crashes in ASEAN member states based on UN standards; and ASEAN Land Transport Network Map.

The ASEAN Transport Ministers met with China at the 19th ASEAN and China Transport Ministers Meeting (19th ATM+China) under the co-chairmanship Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib, and Minister of Transport of the People’s Republic of China Li Xiaopeng.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof attends the virtual meetings. PHOTO: MTIC

The meeting reiterated the commitment to strengthen collective response to COVID-19 pandemic in ensuring the smooth transport and logistic services to support the COVID-19 recovery. They also welcomed the initiative for both sides to jointly develop a five-year successor Action Programme (2021-2025) under ASEAN-China Transport Cooperation.

Meanwhile the 11th ASEAN and ROK Transport Ministers Meeting (11th ATM+ROK) was held via video conference yesterday. The meeting was co-chaired by Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib, and Vice Minister for Transport at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Republic of Korea Son Myoung Soo.

The meeting was preceded by the 12th ASEAN and ROK Senior Transport Officials Meeting (12th STOM+ROK) on November 19.

The ministers commended the progress made in implementing the ASEAN-ROK Transport Cooperation Roadmap 2018-2020, particularly the implementation of the following key projects/activities this year namely DEEP (Development Experience Exchange Partnership) for Transport Sector in Vietnam; Feasibility Study on Central Backbone Expressway in Myanmar; Pre-Feasibility and Feasibility Study for the Construction of Hanoi Urban Railway Line No 8 in Vietnam; Optimisation and Localisation of Customised Warm-Mix Asphalt Technology for Improving Pavement Performance in Vietnam; Establishment of Kr-VN Joint Flight Training Centre in Vietnam; Project Management Consultancy (PMC) Services for Construction of Pulau Muara Besar (PMB) Bridge, Road, and Utilities in Brunei Darussalam; and Establishment of Integrated Management for the Structural Health Monitoring System of the National Bridges in Indonesia.

The ministers adopted the ASEAN-ROK Transport Cooperation Roadmap 2021 – 2025 which sets out the potential projects and activities of cooperation in the areas of human resources development, development consulting, infrastructure feasibility study, as well as technology and management. The ministers tasked their senior officials to deepen cooperation for the implementation of activities under the new roadmap.

The ministers noted that field survey and data gathering on target ports for the Pilot Project on the operationalisation of the ASEAN Single Shipping Market (ASSM) is progressing despite the pandemic. The ministers urged officials to strengthen coordination for the expeditious completion of the Pilot Project.

The ministers reaffirmed the importance of the ASEAN-ROK Air Services Agreement (AK-ASA) and encouraged senior officials and the working group to work towards the early conclusion of the AK-ASA including a more liberal and mutually beneficial traffic rights exchange to further enhance air connectivity between and beyond ASEAN and ROK. The 12th ASEAN and ROK Transport Ministers Meeting will be held in Cambodia in 2021.

Meanwhile the 18th ASEAN and Japan Transport Ministers Meeting (18th ATM+Japan) was held yesterday via video conference. The meeting was co-chaired by Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib and State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan Iwai Shigeki.

The meeting was preceded by the 19th ASEAN and Japan Senior Transport Officials Meeting (19th STOM+Japan) on November 19.

The ASEAN Transport Ministers welcomed the announcement of Japan to support the activities based on the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan 2016-2025 in the areas of air transport, land transport, maritime transport, sustainable transport and transport facilitation through projects and activities under the ASEAN-Japan Transport Partnership (AJTP) in a comprehensive and sustained manner.

The ministers noted the steady progress of 27 projects implemented based on the AJTP Work Plan for 2019-2020, under the Pakse Action Plan adopted at the 11th ATM+Japan in December 2013. The ministers adopted the ‘Final Report under ASEAN-Japan Cruise Promotion Strategy’, ‘Guidelines for Maintenance of Navigation Channels in ASEAN’ and ‘Guideline on Safety Measures with Ships’ Routeing in the ASEAN region’ as the key deliverables under the AJTP Work Plan for 2019-2020.

The ministers endorsed the AJTP Work Plan for 2020-2021 which would enhance regional connectivity. The ministers noted that the AJTP Work Plan for 2020-2021 included the three new initiatives – ‘Development of Guideline for Capacity/Performance Evaluation of Container Terminals in the ASEAN region’, ‘Development of Guideline on Maritime Safety Information Provision Service to small boats in the ASEAN region’ and ‘ASEAN-Japan Action Plan on Environment Improvement in the Transport Sector 2021-2025’.

The ministers recognised the unprecedented and severe challenges posed by the pandemic to the transport sector and reaffirmed the importance of ASEAN-Japan cooperation in overcoming the adverse impacts of the COVID-19. The ministers welcomed information sharing of the countermeasures against the COVID-19 pandemic among ASEAN member states and Japan at the 18th ASEAN-Japan STOM Leaders Conference on September 15 via video conference and acknowledged the importance of continuing working together to move forward to the new stage of transport in the post-COVID-19 world.

The ministers noted the progress in the ASEAN-Japan Consultation on Regional Air Services Agreement (AJC-RASA) and looked forward to convening its 5th meeting in due course. The ministers agreed to task the AJC-RASA to work towards the successful conclusion of a more liberal and mutually beneficial ASEAN-Japan Air Services Agreement to enhance the air transport relationship between ASEAN and Japan.

The 19th ATM+Japan Meeting will be convened in Cambodia in 2021.