On 28 and 29 September 2011, the 20th Plenary Meeting of the CCTT took place in Odessa, bringing together over 200 high-level delegates from 23 countries: railways, forwarders, associations, ports, etc. The meeting, chaired by Mr Yakunin, heard business reports from all actors of the transport chain who support the development of a rail solution between Asia and Europe. The focus was placed on the main aspects of the functioning of the Transsiberian Corridor, the measures aimed at improving the effectiveness of container transportation between Europe and Asia and on the need for harmonisation as a whole, whether it be in cargo documentation or technology.
Sandra Géhénot and Anton Akulov from UIC attended this conference where they presented the main results of the ICOMOD study. This study was carried out at the initiative of UIC and assessed, from a market perspective, the viability of a rail link between Europe and Asia. Initial results show that:
- There is a huge market potential for rail transport between Asia and Europe which can be as high as around one million TEU in the long-term, part of which can already be carried out today
- Rail can be positioned as a time-sensitive/time-competitive transport product. Time advantages trigger monetary savings. Rail is particularly beneficial for high-value goods from/to hinterland origins/destinations
- Currently there is a choice of four different route options, all of which are undergoing further modernisation and upgrading, and might also be complemented with further route and terminal variants.
The presentation was welcomed and its concrete facts highlighted.
Mr Yakunin closed the two-day discussion, thanking all participants for their strong commitment in developing rail solutions between Europe and Asia. He commented that the work of railways can only expand in a context where market demand for environmental and secure solutions is growing and that rail is the natural link towards greater integration.
The CCTT Plenary Meeting ended with an official signing ceremony of a protocol which acknowledges recent achievements and specifies the basis of the work for the period ahead.
The next Plenary Meeting will take place in Helsinki in 2012.