Transportation Working Group
Terms of Reference

 1. Goals and Objectives – Strategic Focus

Established in 1991, the Transportation Working Group works towards trade liberalization and facilitation in the transport sector, economic and technical assistance, and capacity building.  Important goals for the Working Group are to develop systems that ensure safe, secure, efficient and sustainable movement of people and goods throughout the region; and to assist with capacity building in developing economies to contribute to efficient, safe, secure and sustainable transport in the APEC region.

The TPT-WG works to achieve effective transport systems that take account of economic efficiency, safety, environmental, technological change and security issues and support the continued growth of trade and commerce in the APEC region.

 2. Priorities, Project Outputs and Deliverables


The TPT-WG’s priorities and project outputs respond to directives from APEC Transportation Ministers, APEC Economic Leaders and the outcomes of APEC Transportation Working Group (TPT-WG) meetings. Priorities include:

  • examining ways in which liberalization of transport can promote regional economic integration;
  • responding to new and emerging transport challenges;
  • assisting the implementation of standards that improve interoperability of systems;
  • identifying opportunities to collaborate in uptake of technological developments and other innovations;
  • increasing the priority placed on transport safety, security, efficiency and sustainability, with assisting the development of a comprehensive strategy for individual APEC economies; and
  • implementation of projects.


The focus of the TPT-WG is on issues where it can make a unique contribution, rather than replicating work already undertaken by other international fora.

Outputs and Deliverables

The TPT-WG’s work priorities are implemented through a range of activities. The Working Group’s main outputs and deliverables are:

  • APEC-funded projects in such key transport needs as transport safety, security, efficiency and sustainability, and supply chain technologies;
  • special events, including seminars and conferences to address directives from APEC Transportation Ministers and Economic Leaders;
  • capacity building through the exchange of information; and
  • support for meetings of APEC Transportation Ministers and ensuring that relevant transportation issues are communicated to APEC Ministers and Leaders and APEC Senior Officials’ Meetings, as required.
  • The TPTWG’s priorities, projects, outputs, and deliverables will be undertaken through its annual workplan.


3. Structure of TPT-WG

The TPT-WG comprises Modal Expert Groups on intermodal/intelligent transport systems, land, aviation and maritime transport, and normally meets twice a year.  

The TPT-WG Management Group consists of the Lead Shepherd, Deputy Lead Shepherd, Modal Experts Group Chairs and the APEC Secretariat Program Director. In addition, all member economies have responsibility for the leadership of TPT-WG projects and for hosting TPT-WG and Transportation Ministerial meetings.

4. Governance

Accountability for the TPT-WG’s activity is to Transportation Ministers.  The Lead Shepherd is responsible for reporting to Ministers on the outcomes from the delivery of the TPT-WG’s work programme.  This is additional to providing progress reports to the SCE and Senior Officials.

The quorum for TPT-WG meetings constitutes attendees from 14 economies.  Should the TPT-WG fail to meet quorum for two consecutive meetings, it shall be referred to Senior Officials for a decision on whether it should continue to exist.

Two TPT-WG meetings may be held each year, with the exception of years that coincide with the three-yearly APEC Transportation Ministers’ Meeting.  In those years, one TPT-WG meeting will be held.

One TPT-WG meeting a year may be held in conjunction with either SOM1 or SOM3, subject to consultation with the APEC Host Economy.  This would assist cross-fora collaboration, and make travel arrangements easier for some economies.  As this could place a significant burden on the APEC Host Economy, depending on the number of TPT-WG delegates who attend, it will not be an expectation that they will do so.

If not in conjunction with either SOM1 or SOM3, TPT-WG meetings will be held, as now, within economies that offer to host. 

The spacing between TPT-WG meetings is preferred be kept as close to six months as possible.

The Lead Shepherd, Modal Expert Group Chairs and other presenters should circulate final agendas and papers at least three weeks prior to a TPT-WG meeting.  All documents should be submitted in advance to the Project Director in order to ensure compliance with APEC procedures.

Where possible, the TPT-WG should use communication technologies to maximise participation by economies and by outside experts/speakers.  Communication technologies may be used to interact with other Working Groups, when they are meeting at the same time.  Communication technologies, while an enabler of wider attendance in TPT-WG discussions, should not substitute for the inter-person contact afforded by TPT-WG meetings.

The Lead Shepherd is elected by the consensus of TPT-WG members for a period of 2 years with possible extension for another 2-year term.  Representatives from a single Member Economy should not, in principle, serve as Lead Shepherd more than two consecutive 2-year terms.  The Lead Shepherd’s role is to ensure the efficient management of the Group and to assist the Working Group in achieving objectives set by APEC Economic Leaders, APEC Ministers, Transportation Ministers and Senior Officials.

Like the Lead Shepherd, the Deputy Lead Shepherd is elected by the consensus of members for a period of 2 years with possible extension for another 2-year term.  The role of the Deputy Lead Shepherd is to assist in the efficient management of the TPT-WG with special responsibility for project management.

Chairs of the Modal Experts Group (and Sub-groups where these are agreed) are elected by the consensus of members of their particular Modal Groups (and Sub-groups where as required). The role of Modal Group Chairs is to manage their Modal Experts Group in response to the objectives set by APEC Economic Leaders, APEC Ministers, Transportation Ministers and Senior Officials.  Modal Groups (and Sub-groups where these are agreed) are responsible for creating and updating their own Terms of Reference.

The APEC Secretariat, represented by the Program Director for the TPT-WG, operates as the support mechanism of the TPT-WG process.  The role of the Program Director is to assist in the management of the TPT-WG relating to overarching APEC requirements, processes and activities for the Group. 

The TPT-WG work plan is updated annually to reflect outcomes from TPT-WG meetings and will be further amended after each APEC Transportation Ministerial Meeting to review achievements and set new priorities towards the Bogor Goals on free trade and investment in the APEC Region.  This work plan is reported to the APEC Senior Officials’ Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation.

Heads of Delegation Meetings

Heads of Delegation meetings should be held prior to the opening and closing plenary sessions.  Their primary purpose is to allow discussion of any items that require a confidential environment not afforded by the plenary sessions and Modal Expert Group meetings. 

Plenary sessions

An opening and closing plenary session should be held at each TPT-WG meeting.  The plenary sessions are open to all TPT-WG delegates and are the main decision-making fora for the TPT-WG.

Sub-groups and side meetings

Sub-groups of the Modal Expert Groups should meet on an as required basis.  The approved Sub-groups are identified in the organization chart attached to these Terms of Reference.  A Sub-group should meet only where its proposed area of work cannot be incorporated in the agenda of its relevant Modal Expert Group due to the length of discussion or technical complexity or specialized knowledge involved.  Sub-group meetings must be agreed on in advance by Heads of Delegation, ideally at the previous TPT-WG meeting.  The final decision on the meeting of a Sub-group should rest with the host economy of the TPT-WG meeting concerned.

The use of side meetings should be limited.  In the first instance, the proposed topic for a side meeting should be included on the agenda of the most relevant Modal Expert Group, a joint meeting of Modal Expert Groups, or considered in the Opening Plenary session.  Side meetings may be used to progress cross-modal initiatives.  They should not be used as fora to consider new work items.  The topic of any side meeting should relate to workstreams previously endorsed by Ministers.  Side meeting should be subject to approval by Heads of Delegation and require the approval of the host economy. 

Technical tours

It has been previous practice for the host economy of TPT-WG to offer technical tours for delegates.  Because technical tours add to the cost of TPT-WG meetings, the decision to provide technical tours is discretionary with no expectation upon the host economy.

5. Collaboration with other APEC Fora, the private sector, international financial institutions and other international organizations

The TPT-WG works in collaboration with other APEC fora and other organizations on a range of transport-related matters.  Specialist organizations and academic institutions are invited to participate with ‘guest status’ in some meetings of TPT-WG Modal Experts Groups:

  • where appropriate, other APEC fora including Working Groups on Tourism, Anti-Corruption and Transparency, Human Resources Development, Counter Terrorism, Emergency Preparedness, and Energy, Automotive Dialogue and the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures on issues of common interest relating to transport:
  • including extending invitations for representatives to attend TPT-WG meetings to share information;
  • the International Working Group on Land Transport Security;
  • the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), and International Standards Organization (ISO); and
  • specialist organizations and academic institutions, including the International Motorcycle Manufacturers Association, International Multimodal Transport Association and International Association of Maritime Universities.


Cross-fora collaboration can be achieved through holding TPT-WG meetings at the same time, and in the same location, as other Working Groups alongside a SOM meeting.  Alternatively, when other Working Groups are considering matters of interest to the TPT-WG, a relevant transport official from the economy hosting the meeting should attend as a TPT-WG representative and report back to the TPT-WG, when requested by the Lead Shepherd.  The official may also represent the TPT-WG’s views to the other Working Group.  In either event, the official should have a clear mandate to represent the TPT-WG.  Other Working Groups should be invited to send representatives to TPT-WG meetings when matters of common interest are under consideration.

Modal Expert Groups, economies and project coordinators should make appropriate links to other fora at the project level.

6. Term of the TPT-WG

The TPT-WG has a term of four years starting from 2018.  At the expiration of this, and any subsequent term, the mandate of the TPT-WG, and its Terms of Reference, should be reviewed by the TPT-WG and the Steering Committee on ECOTECH, and a recommendation on renewal put to Senior Officials for approval.