The 32nd UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly (APRA) took place online on 26 October 2021 in conjunction with the 19th UIC Asia-Pacific Management Committee and the Conference on Digital. Chaired by Mr François Davenne, UIC Director General in the absence of Mr Lu Dongfu, UIC Asia-Pacific Chairman and Chairman of CR, the meeting focused on the activities and budget for 2022.
Around 100 participants from China (CR, CARS, NRA, Tongji University, TRA, SWJTU, CRECC, CRRC SRI, CRRC ZIC), Kazakhstan (KTZ), India (IR), Japan (JR-East, RTRI), Korea (KORAIL, KRRI), Russia (RZD, FPC, NIIAS, RUT, RZDStroy, VNIIZhT), Mongolia (UBTZ), Australia (Sydney Trains, ACRI, DoT Victoria, PTA, TfNSW), Vietnam (VNR), Thailand (SRT), Philippines (DOTr, PNR), Indonesia (KAI, MASKA), Azerbaijan (ADY), Malaysia (KTMB, RAC) and Armenia (SCR) attended the Regional Assembly, along with UIC APRA partners CCTT, OSJD and UNESCAP.
On behalf of Mr Lu Dongfu, Mr Li Wenxin, Vice-President of CR, welcomed all of the participants. He noted that with the support of UIC headquarters and the shared efforts of fellow members, the Asia-Pacific region had made positive progress in the following areas:
- Development of transport corridors and interoperability,
- Research projects,
- Initiative to build up the communication platforms for interoperability, standardisation and digitalisation.
Mr Li Wenxin said: “In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, UIC has been actively studying ways to provide a more flexible and reliable service and to better compete against and work with other modes of transport.”
For the period ahead, the APRA Chairman proposed implementing initiatives and action plans in accordance with UIC’s work recommendations:
- to ensure normal operation across borders during the pandemic,
- to promote cooperation in key fields and interregional projects (UIC standardisation, interoperability, sustainable development, digitalisation and FRMCS),
- to fully demonstrate the low-carbon and environmental protection advantages of the railways,
- to further optimise project selection and management,
- to identify solutions for high-quality development in the post-Covid era.
To conclude, Mr Li Wenxin thanked all of the APRA members for their active participation.
Mr Yerzhan Araltay, Chief Manager, Department of Interaction with International Organisations at KTZ, representing Mr Sauranbaev Nurlan Yermekovich, Chairman of KTZ and Regional Assembly Vice-Chairman, also expressed his thanks to the APRA members for their presence and support. He also mentioned the successful workshop on standardisation held online on 14 October 2021. He stressed that in spite of the unstable global situation in relation to the pandemic, UIC APRA members continued to interact actively within the framework of the various UIC platforms, forums and seminars organised by UIC headquarters, as well as its members and partners.
Mr Davenne thanked all of the APRA members and its chairman and vice-chairman for their commitment and all that had been accomplished during the year. He highlighted UIC’s added value and stressed that UIC is currently creating a strong convergence between regions. UIC is heavily involved in topics relating to Vision 2030, the ‘new normal’, and the future of mobility. The main question is how to promote rail more effectively in the years to come. Railway and public transport are a significant part of the solution for decarbonation if we can succeed in creating a significant modal shift by doubling the modal share of rail and public transport.
Mr Davenne said: “We have to show a very strong commitment on behalf of the sector to succeed, and we are sure that we can be carbon neutral before 2030.”
Mr Vincent Vu, Director of Institutional Relations at UIC, presented the status of projects for 2020-2021 and announced that three further studies had been finalised since the previous APRA and would be distributed to the members in November 2021:
- Research on the status quo of key system technical standards for high-speed trains undertaken by CARS,
- Study on best practices in railway digitalisation and intelligent railway technology system framework undertaken by CR,
- Research on railway development policy in the Asia-Pacific region for better fulfilment of the railways’ role as the backbone of integrated transport, started in 2020 for an updated VISION 2050, undertaken by CR.
He also mentioned that some events and projects had been postponed or delayed due to Covid-19:
- IRaTCA 2020 training session on IT-based railway passenger services hosted by KORAIL from 5 to 9 April 2021 in Seoul (Korea): postponed to 10-14 October 2022,
- IRaTCA 2021 training session on the railways’ role and national supports against Covid-19 will be held in Seoul from 11 to 15 April 2022, hosted by KORAIL,
- Measures for the effective development of multimodal transport in the Asia-Pacific region aimed at increasing the competitiveness of railway transport – INTERTRAN III hosted by RZD from 14 to 15 October 2020 in Vladivostok (Russia): postponed to September/October 2022. However, a workshop was held online on 29 September to present key next steps.
All 2021 projects will be finalised at the end of the year or in 2022 and will be published for the next APRA in May 2022.
Ms Irina Petrunina, PMO and representative of CIS countries, announced that 34 projects had been proposed in different sectors (strategy and institutional relations, freight, digital, high speed, training, infrastructure, environmental sustainability, safety, passenger and urban development, etc.) for 2022. The APRA members have been invited to opt in to the proposed projects, of which seven have been selected for 2022:
- IRaTCA training session on how to increase the volume of rail transport, to be hosted by KORAIL in 2023,
- Digitalisation of multimodal corridors in Asia-Pacific, proposed by RUT,
- ‘APRA 2050. Research priorities’ – annex to APRA VISION 2050, proposed by VNIIZHT,
- Research and analysis of hydrogen technologies in order to analyse possibilities for use on the railways, proposed by KTZ,
- Analysis of governmental measures taken to support international rail passenger transport, development of recommendations on enhancement of economic efficiency and improvement of passenger carriers’ sustainability, proposed by FPC and VNIIZHT,
- Railway transport model, proposed by NIIAS,
- Risk control technologies for structures in the vicinity of existing railway tracks, proposed by Tongji University.
Mr Davenne advised that in order to generate more common projects and attract external and public funding in accordance with the priorities set at the 98th General Assembly, and to step up cooperation, new activities and interregional initiatives with other regions, members were asked to report on regional strategic priorities and the vision for APRA on a regular basis. For this APRA, he gave the floor to:
- Ms Lucie Anderton, UIC Head of Sustainability, who presented the Vision of Rail 2030,
- Mr Alexey Averin, Advisor to the CEO at RZD, who presented the strategic priorities for railway transport development in the Russian Federation,
- Mr Toru Miyauchi, General Manager, International Affairs at RTRI, who presented cooperation between UIC APRA and RTRI.
Mr Davenne announced the forthcoming events, and mentioned in particular the Conference on Digital to be co-hosted with Sydney Trains on 27-28 October, inviting all the members to take part online. He also invited the APRA members to the UIC Symposium on the Future of Railways to be held on 30 November and 1 December.
Mr François Davenne closed the 32nd UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly by thanking all the members for their presence and cooperation and invited them to attend the next UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly which will be held, if the situation permits, in Mongolia on 19 May 2022, kindly hosted by UBTZ. It will be held alongside the 20th Asia-Pacific Management Committee, as well as a workshop.