UIC was able to take part in the 4th Summer Seminar of the Avenir-Transports association in Uzès, France, from 24 to 26 August 2009. The association was founded in 1995 by Dominique Bussereau, the current French Secretary of State for Transport, and groups numerous members of Parliament from across the political spectrum and all the major players and top experts of the transport sector in France. Its aim is to provide a platform for exchanges of ideas and dialogue in view of encouraging proactive policies for transport at domestic and European level.
On this occasion, the speech by Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of UIC, focused on the opening up to competition of rail transport and deregulation. The atmosphere was relaxed which did not prevent the discussion from covering a wide range of topics – the evolution of relationships between infrastructure managers and train operating companies in Europe and around the world, and its impact on the opening up to competition – which were addressed exhaustively and constructively.
The impact of market liberalisation in terms of technologies and the need for interoperability were also emphasised. The participants and other speakers who included notable French politicians as well as transport company executives and some members of UIC such as SNCF, DB and Veolia Transport, all greatly appreciated the international perspective provided by Jean-Pierre Loubinoux within a series of speeches otherwise very centred on Europe. Indeed significant differences exist between the situations and experiences in France and Great Britain, but the same can be said for North America or Japan. Participants were thus provided with references which brought to light the key success factors and conditions in each of these situations.
This event was also an excellent opportunity for learning from European authorities as well as for meeting with all the operators, politicians, academics and manufacturers attending the seminar, in order to promote our organisation and its action.