Driving change in transport sector

BEIJING: The transport industry has been urged to transform from commuting passengers to goods delivery to ensure sustainability in the post Covid-19 era.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said restrictions on human movement greatly impacted the transport industry which saw a 90% decrease in rides.

“The aviation sector was the worst hit with a 75% decline in flight capacity,” he said at the Second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference here yesterday.

He attended the three-day conference virtually from London, where he is on a working visit.

In London, he chaired a meeting with leaders from the International Chamber of Shipping and Baltic and International Maritime Council yesterday.

Dr Wee said that e-commerce got a boost when movement restrictions were enforced and led to the development of small parcel logistics delivery services.

This meant that p-hailing services, involving the delivery of food, drinks and parcels using motorcycles, could be an alternative source of income for those in the industry, he said.

He said Malaysia’s revenue for e-commerce increased to US$4.5bil (RM18.7bil) in 2020, from US$3.2bil (RM13.3bil) in the previous year.

“Existing logistics services have to undergo transformation in order to survive and take advantage of the expanding e-commerce business.

“And many drivers have been able to turn to p-hailing as an alternative source of income,” he said in his virtual address.

Dr Wee was invited to share Malaysia’s experience in Sustainable Transport, Poverty Eradication and Economic Recovery from Covid-19.

He pledged that Malaysia is committed to supporting and implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by utilising green technology in the transport sector for energy efficiency and reduction of carbon emissions.

The country would also increase the adoption of electric vehicles, he added.

“Covid-19 allows us to refocus on sustainability and reduce the effects of global warming in line with the National Transport Policy’s goals for a green transport eco-system,” he pointed out.

He said the 12th Malaysia Plan launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob last month had shown the country’s commitment to becoming a carbon neutral country by 2050.

“Covid-19 disrupted the economy and affected the well-being of the people especially those in the low income bracket. But we take it in stride, not only to survive, but more importantly, to strengthen our resiliency in the transport sector,” he said.

The Second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference, held in the Chinese capital from Oct 14 to 16, is aimed at achieving sustainable transport worldwide.

It is also a follow-up to the first conference in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, five years ago.

The keynote address was delivered by Chinese president Xi Jinping and the opening statement was delivered by UN secretary general António Guterres. Other speakers include Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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