On 25 February Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director-General, participated in the conference “Business Dialogue – Cargo 10: Challenges and Perspectives of the United Rail” held in Belgrade, Serbia, with around 230 participants from 15 European countries, including Ministers, European institutions (European Commission) and railway associations (UIC, CER etc.), heads of railway companies from South-East Europe, transport operators, banks and service providers in the rail sector.
The conference was officially opened by the Serbian Minister for Infrastructure, Mr Milutin Mrkonjic, and presentations were given by representatives of the EU, railways from the regions, railway associations as well as infrastructure and cargo industries. All speakers put a strong focus on the importance of the Balkan region developing long-distance corridors, in particular, according to the Minister, on Corridor X (linking Ljubljana to Istanbul via Zagreb and Belgrade) and Corridor IV.
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux participated in a panel discussion dedicated to rail operators which addressed the trends and areas of progress in the rail freight market
Rail freight, he said, has a huge potential for meeting growing mobility needs in the freight sector. As a key player in helping to overcome the challenges of sustainability, rail freight could contribute to economic and social recovery and could well be the answer to a growing international economy.
Mr Loubinoux mentioned several potential areas of progress, highlighting the need for productivity and efficiency. Interoperability, harmonisation of the railways’ legal framework, cooperation and partnership, and developing the capacity and productivity of rail haulage were identified as areas where progress could be made.
Finally Mr Loubinoux mentioned UIC’s role in rail freight, notably as the platform for the Freight Forum and various freight working groups, its contribution to the development of the Xrail Project and to the organisation of the global rail freight conference. He added “UIC is at the service of its members to help them grow their business and to help the rail sector develop for the benefit of society”.