The 6th meeting of the UIC Regional Assembly Middle-East (RAME) took place on 7th December at UIC Headquarters in Paris, prior to the Executive Board and General Assembly on 8th December. The Regional Assembly, which is open to all UIC Member railways from the Middle-East Region, was chaired by Mr. Süleyman Karaman, President and Director General of Turkish Railways (TCDD).
Mr. Abdol-Ali Saheb Mohammadi, recently appointed Vice-Minister for Road and Transportation of the Islamic Republic of Iran and new President of RAI, was attending for the first time. He was unanimously appointed new Vice-Chairman of the UIC Regional Assembly Middle-East as the successor to Dr. Ziari, his predecessor at the head of Iranian railways.
The Paris RAME meeting was also attended by UIC Chairman Mr. Yoshio Ishida and Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux. Regular Members from the Middle-East Region included Presidents and CEOs – or their representatives – from Iran (RAI and NirooRail Transport), Jordan (ARC), Syria (CFS), Saudi Arabia (SRO) and Turkey (TCDD).
Updated Action Plan for the Middle-East region in 2010
Member railways approved the revised version of the Internal Regulation of the UIC Regional Assembly Middle-East. Reporting was subsequently carried out on the setting-up of the UIC Middle-East Regional Office led by Mr. Mahmoud Keymanesh in Tehran. The next step will be the preparation of a detailed Business Plan / Activities Plan for the UIC Tehran Regional Office – in cooperation with Chair Railway TCDD and UIC HQ – to be submitted to RAME Members in early 2010.
Paul Véron, UIC Director of Communications and Coordinator for the Middle-East, presented and commented on the updated RAME Action Plan for 2010. The main activities in 2010 will focus on:
- Promoting the vision of a future-oriented railway system for the Middle-East Region, based on existing projects and plans for domestic or international railway links
- Gaining support from governments and international organisations, attracting potential partners to the railway business in the Middle-East Region (international and regional banks, private investors, business partners, etc.)
- Developing cooperation between Middle-East railways on a series of technical issues with a high priority for the region, with the support of UIC HQ and technical bodies
- Promoting exchange between members on best practices, setting-up educational and training programmes, etc.
In this context several international events are scheduled to take place in the region in 2010 and will provide unique opportunities to discuss planning, economic and financial issues as well as railway, technical and operational ones.
- UIC “Security 2010” world security congress jointly organised with TCDD, to be held in Istanbul (21-23 April 2010)
- UIC / TCDD High-level workshop “Towards an interconnected, competitive Rail Transport System – Projects and Perspectives for Railways in the Middle-East Region”, presentations by Ministers / Presidents / CEOs from the Middle-East Countries / Railways, in the presence of international organisations, financial institutions, etc. (second half of 2010)
- UIC RAME / RAI “Railway Safety Seminar” scheduled to be held in Tehran in connection with the International Railway Academy (IAR) in the first quarter of 2010, follow-up of UIC / RAI Safety Workshop in Tehran in January 2008
- UIC RAME / ARC Workshop on an “Infrastructure Maintenance System – Asset Management Workshop for Middle-East Railways” combined with a follow-up workshop on “Railway Construction, Operation and Maintenance in Desert Conditions” in early summer 2010 at the invitation of Eng. Hussein Krishan, Director General of Jordan Railways, Aqaba Railway Corporation (ARC)
- 1st International Conference on “Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Products Transportation by Rail”, a proposal submitted by NirooRail Transport company in Iran for late 2010
- “International Railway Investors Forum” in another Middle-East country for 2011
It should also be mentioned that the CEO of Syrian Railways Mr. Georges Mokabari expressed the wish of CFS to host one of the UIC Middle-East activities in Syria in the coming year.
Presentation of technical projects and activities by the UIC Departments
The afternoon session of the RAME Paris meeting provided a unique opportunity to present to CEOs and delegations from the Middle-East a large scope of the technical projects and activities conducted in UIC’s technical Departments.
Presentations were made by:
- Ignacio Barron de Angoiti, UIC Passenger / High Speed Director
- Gustav Manding, Senior Freight Advisor (activities on international corridors, Rail Freight Portal)
- Henning Schwarz, UIC Coordinator Sustainable Development
- Franco Schiavi, UIC Senior Advisor, Railway System / Infrastructure-Track
- George Barbu, UIC Senior Advisor, Signalling and Telecommunications
- Theo Gradinariu, UIC Senior Advisor Railway System Department
- Mrs. Marie-Hélène Bonneau, Senior Advisor UIC Security Division
The information session proved to be successful. All presentations were received with strong interest from the Middle-East participants and were followed by intensive question and answer sessions. This confirmed the existing interest to henceforth hold every other regular RAME meeting at UIC Headquarters in Paris to facilitate similar types of exchange between UIC project managers and technical experts on one hand, and delegations from the Middle-East railways on the other. The session also served to strengthen future contacts between UIC experts and those who manage certain individual railways.