Friday 20 May 2022

9th UIC Refugee Task Force meeting held on 20 May 2022

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The 9th UIC Refugee Task force meeting was attended remotely on 20 May 2022 by around 45 participants from across Europe, with representatives from UIC member railways and partner organisations.

Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Director, Coordinator Middle-East and Latin American Regions, Coordinator UIC Refugee and Covid-19 Task Forces, together with Vanessa Pérez Miranda, UIC Senior Passenger Advisor, welcomed the participants.

Anton Pylypchuk and Anna Gorchak, representing Ukrainian Railways (UZ), shared the latest news regarding the situation in Ukraine, notably on the limited border access and how to address the issue of increasing cross-border freight capacity. Anna extended her personal thanks to the UIC Refugee Task Force for its support and meetings during this difficult time.

Gábor Nagy, DG Move Ukraine Coordinator for Land Transport, delivered a presentation on the European Commission Action Plan for EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes. The presentation focused on actions to support Ukraine’s agricultural exports, with the aim of identifying all the bottlenecks and scaling up capacities to transport agricultural production.
Among the measures and initiatives currently being addressed by the Commission, Gábor Nagy mentioned increasing freight rolling stock, vessels and lorries, increasing the capacity of transport networks and transhipment terminals, accelerating customs operations, using extra storage capacity on EU territory and, in the longer term, increasing infrastructure capacity and establishing new connections.

Sandra Géhénot, UIC Freight Director, explained how important it is to lead coordinated action from the freight side and to set up a matchmaking platform to facilitate exchanges between logistics chain actors to help address issues linked to modal shift and freight corridors. She said it was important to coordinate the action globally and feed into the overall system as fluidly as possible. The Task Force meeting was therefore a good opportunity to form a link between the Commission and the freight sector to start discussions on how to address these issues in more detail.

Philip Van den bosch gave an update on the freight side, notably with regard to the UIC Freight Department survey, with the aim of looking at corridor development and what has been happening on the corridors over the last month. One of the main observations is that the Northern corridor from China to Europe came to a complete stop when the crisis started in Ukraine. Volumes were reported to be relatively stable although the outlook is forecast to be negative in the near future with large impacts on freight corridors. In the short term he agreed that there is a need to organise global coordination or a matchmaking platform to overarch individual efforts, adding that a follow-up meeting should be organised between the key players in the coming days so that the key elements can be relayed back to the freight community which can then provide its services to the Commission as needed.

A round table discussion then followed to discuss the current situation per impacted country and company. Updates were given, among others, from Germany, Norway, Spain and the Netherlands.
Agnieszka Sobkiewicz, representing PKP (Polish Railways), gave an update on the number of refugees that have come to Poland by train, as well as the number of trains that have been dispatched.
Blaz Pongracic, representing CER, gave an update on the actions of European railways on transporting and issuing tickets for refugees.
Anton Pylypchuk, representing Ukrainian Railways (UZ), gave an update on the situation in Ukraine, notably regarding the 90-day curfew, how UZ has transported people in evacuation trains, the number of people who have returned to Ukraine since the start of May, the damage done to railway infrastructure, as well as the Ukrainian campaign for migrants to prevent people trafficking during the war.

Marc Guigon concluded by thanking the participants for attending the meeting and reminded members that as long as there is a need for members around the table to discuss these issues, the UIC Refugee Task Force will continue to arrange regular meetings.

Members are encouraged to share their thoughts, either by writing to the internal UIC Refugee Task Force team or by posting in the UIC Extranet dedicated workspace.

A Task Force LinkedIn group is open to members. Feel free to join the group and share your thoughts:

A dedicated webpage of the Refugee Task Force is available on the UIC website:

The next Task Force Refugee web-conference is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 31 May 2022.

For any further questions or proposals for contributions to these Task Force meetings, please email:

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