Joint meeting of representatives of the OSJD Committee and UIC on cooperation

According to the agreement between the OSJD Committee and UIC based on the Memorandum of Cooperation between OSJD and UIC for 2010 – 2015 of 23 March 2010 (Warsaw, Republic of Poland), and on the Cooperation Agreement between the Organisation for Cooperation of Railways (OSJD) and UIC of 9 November 1995 (Sofia, Republic of Bulgaria), a joint meeting of representatives of the OSJD Committee and the UIC as well as RZD was held on 8 October 2012 in Warsaw with a view to enable mutual review on the implementation of the Programme of Cooperation between OSJD and UIC for 2011– 2015, as well as to amend it.

Among the participants in this meeting were Mr Viktor Zhukov and Mr Wang Yongping, both Deputy Chairmen, OSJD Committee, Mr Miklos Kopp, UIC Freight Department Director, Ms Irina Petrunina, Coordinator of C.I.S. and OSJD UIC Department Asia and Pacific, Mr Hans-Jurgen Geissler, Expert, UIC Rail System Department, as well as Ms Ludmila Renne, Deputy Head of RZD International Relations Department, Mr Andrey Sergeev, Head of the Department of Cooperation with UIC within RZD International Relations Department.

The Secretary of the OSJD Committee Mr Kalman Somodi opened and chaired the joint meeting. He stressed the importance of this meeting with regard to the successful cooperation development between OSJD and UIC in favour of railways.

Director of UIC Freight department Mr Miklos Kopp informed the participants of the meeting on the activities of UIC, the world railway organisation, particularly in the field of international rail freight traffic development.

During the joint meeting proposals were raised by members from OSJD and UIC, as well as by working bodies from both organisations on the amendment to the Programme of Cooperation.

The participants in the meeting stressed that Programme of Cooperation between OSJD and UIC for 2011 – 2015, which includes issues of cooperation on harmonisation of operational and technical provisions in order to increase interoperability and effectiveness of rail transport, strengthen its competitiveness as well as improve railway services for customers, underlines the importance of cooperation between both organisations.

The joint meeting appreciated cooperation between OSJD and UIC on the creation and implementation of joint leaflets as well as support concerning implementation of the common CIM/SMGS consignment note.

It was noted that globalisation impacts international rail freight transport. Freight potential in China and the countries in South-East Asia is increasing while the landlocked countries of Central Asia, Caucasus and Western China are becoming prospective markets for international rail freight transport between Asia – Europe – Asia.

The participants in the joint meeting considered it necessary to hold conferences and seminars within the framework of the OSJD Commission on Freight and UIC Freight Department in order to discuss issues concerning the future development and organisation of rail freight transport between Europe and Asia with the participation of transport undertakings, consignors, forwarding companies and other organisations involved in the transport process.
As a result of information exchange concerning activities of both organisations the Parties agreed on the Programme of Cooperation between OSJD and UIC for 2011 – 2015, with amendments which are subject to endorsement by the governing bodies of both organisations.

The meeting of representatives of both organisations was held with full mutual understanding and contributed to deepening cooperation in accordance with the documents signed earlier.

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EU-Russia Rail Research Workshop (16 – 18 October 2012, Moscow)

Following a Joint Statement and a Joint Action Plan signed in April 2006 between the European Commission and RZD Russian Railways, a very productive and interesting Rail Research Workshop took place on the premises of JSC VNIIzHT in Moscow.
At the invitation of Mr Boris Lapidus, Director-General of VNIIZhT, the main research institute of Russian Railways, and Chairman of the UIC International Rail Research Board, more than 40 rail stakeholders representing researchers, the supply industry, operators, infra managers and experts dealing with standardisation met to exchange knowledge and experience and to discuss research priorities in order to support innovation for the rail system. Next to networking, the main target of the workshop was to identify areas where fruitful and mutually beneficial collaboration between Russia and the EU could be established in the field of rail research.

The three-day programme had been thoroughly prepared by a small team consisting of the European Commission, UIC and UNIFE in close cooperation with RZD and was organised by Mr Alexander Kassay – Deputy Director-General of VNIIZhT – and his team supporting Mr Lapidus. They presented the invited guests with a programme which could not have been better prepared or executed!

The programme formed three parts: a high-level plenary session, 2 x 2 parallel sessions and two second plenary sessions focussed on technical matters and a closing discussion, followed by a technical visit to the VNIIZhT test centre in Shcherbinka.
The high-level plenary session was ably co-chaired by Mr Boris Lapidus and UIC Director-General Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux. After a warm introduction by Mr Lapidus and a word of welcome and introductory speech by Mr Valentin Gapanovich, Senior Vice-President of Russian Railways, an award ceremony took place in which a number of important RZD staff members were awarded by Mr Gapanovich for their important contributions to the “development and stability” of RZD. Following this stimulating ceremony Mr Gapanovich continued to present the Programme for Innovative Development of Russian Railways. Mr Boris Lapidus informed the participants about the aims of the infrastructure development and the new topology of the RZD network and underlined the potential of science for Russian Railways.

Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux then delivered a lively and heartfelt speech entitled “Rail: the effective backbone of the European and Europe-Asia transport system.” He congratulated Russian Railways on their 175 year jubilee and underlined the important role of railways in Russian society and economy as well as for Europe and the big potential for the global economy. He stated that the workshop offered an unprecedented opportunity to debate the future shape of the railway transport system between EU and Russia and to identify the challenges to be met in order to establish rail as the sustainable backbone of the future European and Eurasian transport system.
Mr Loubinoux went on to say that the event also fundamentally reflects the objectives and missions of UIC which is aimed at the promotion of rail transport at world level and with the aim of optimally meeting current and future challenges of mobility and sustainable development, the promotion of interoperability and creation of new world standards, the proposal of new ways to improve the technical and environmental performance of rail transport, the reduction of costs, and finally to support our members in their strategies to improve their competitiveness and business focuses. He also said that innovative research and development is a core activity of UIC and he mentioned the activities of the IRRB and its members under the stimulating leadership of Mr Lapidus. Finally he referred to UIC’s involvement in the development of the Eurasian corridor through its International Transport Corridors Group and mentioned the important ICOMOD project which UIC has carried out in relation to this corridor.
In his presentation Dennis Schut, Head of the UIC Research Unit, explained the past present and future of ERRAC, the European Rail Research Advisory Council, which will play a crucial role in future rail research cooperation between Russia, the European rail stakeholders and the European Commission. He also informed the participants about the European Framework Programme for Research and the future EC funding instrument for cooperative research Horizon 2020.

The last speaker of the plenary session was Mr Eric Fontanel, former General Manager of the European supply industry, UNIFE, who spoke on the subject of European collaborative research: a strategic challenge for the European industry.
Following the first plenary session were four parallel sessions touching upon the most relevant topics for the rail system. The first of the sessions covered most issues dealing with the improvement of traffic management such as advanced technologies in ATP/ATC systems, interoperable automatic train protection, system monitoring of track and rolling stock, new satellite solutions for train control systems and other issues, followed by a discussion, identifying possible common priorities.
The second parallel session dealt with innovative infrastructure management, dealing with issues such as innovative technologies for the development of track maintenance systems, rail infrastructure for the 21st century, new switches as a tool for the enhancement of train speed, new materials for infrastructure and the improvement of permanent way design for the reduction of LCC. The last speaker – a former cosmonaut – described Russian Railways’ medical services and research activities in that area which proved to be as extensive as it is innovative!

The third parallel session covered all aspects of the important topic of the Eurasian landbridge as a tool for the enhancement of rail competitiveness and business, such as freight corridors, Transsib in seven days, the potential of improved infrastructure standards on cross-border rail corridors, certification of rail equipment and an interesting summary of the RE-TRACK project. One of the conclusions of this session was that major technical steps forward could be made but that a lot of barriers of a non-technical nature still have to be dealt with.

The fourth and last session dealt with the economical and environmental aspects of rail transport and touched upon energy strategies, innovative freight wagon concepts, ecology of the future, variable gauge rolling stock, the MERLIN project and iso-thermal rolling stock meeting international ecological standards.

The second day of the most interesting workshop was closed by means of a final plenary session dealing with information on the praxis and procedures of the harmonisations of standards for high-speed, freight and mixed freight & passenger traffic, a comparison between the European and Russian approach seen through Russian eyes as well as an interesting overview of European and international railway standardisation and standardisation in relation to innovation. This part of the programme was followed by the reporting of the session chairs on the achievements and conclusions.

The third and final day of this most rewarding EC-Russia workshop was spent visiting some of many research laboratories of VNIIZhT at their Shcherbinka test facilities. The participants could among other things witness the testing of a piece of rail, submitted to the damage of a 1000 kg weight attacking the rail from 10 metres high, the testing of the air-brakes assembled in a complete system mirroring the brake system of a full length train as well as the measuring of the outline of over-dimensioned rolling stock using laser equipment. The technical visits as well as the whole programme ended with a guided tour of the important RZD Kurskaya railway station conducted by its general director.

At the time of writing this article, the session chairs were finalising the draft conclusions and recommendations for common research priorities, which through ERRAC may feed in to the future annual work programmes of EC’s Horizon 2020 Framework programme for research and funding in which rail research is expected to play an important role, supporting and enabling rail to become the sustainable backbone of the future transport system, at least as far as the Eurasian landbridge is concerned!

For further information please contact: Alexander Kassay, RZD VNIIZhT Deputy and Dennis Schut, UIC Research Manager:

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UIC Human Factors Working Group has published two documents

On the occasion of the Safety Platform plenary which took place on 11 October in London, the UIC Human Factors Working Group published two documents: one about “Organisational and human aspects of safety at border crossings", and the other about the “Analysis of human, organisational and social dimensions of an incident.”
These two publications are the achievement of several months – if not years – of hard work stemming from the interaction between UIC members and the Human Factors Working Group. These documents reflect the teamwork based on the sharing of best practice and the exchange of know-how between the members, and constitute a real success!

The first document provides best practice and recommendations for railway undertakings and infrastructure managers (organisation of work, staff training, assistance tools…) in order to improve their control over the effects of crossings borders on staff members’ behaviour.

Presented as 10 practical sheets, the second document reviews all we need to know when we want to analyse an accident or an incident.

Some examples of sheets:

  • Purposes of seeking to establish causes
  • Process of in-depth analysis of rail incidents
  • Objectives of in-depth analysis of rail incidents
  • Methods and tools
  • Analysis team
  • Training

For further information about these documents, please contact the UIC Senior Advisor for Human Factors Virginie Papillault:

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News from UIC members

Russia: Russian Railways Logistics offers freight transport from Asia-Pacific countries and Saudi Arabia

In 2012 the total amount of over 600 TEU containers loaded with equipment and PVC was delivered by Russian Railways Logistics from the Asia-Pacific countries and Saudi Arabia.
JSC Russian Railways Logistics offers freight transport services from Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Malaysia, China, and South Korea through Dostyk, the border crossing point in Kazakhstan.
This option offers a full range of services including container provision at the port of departure, sea freight to Qingdao and Lianyungang ports, port forwarding, freight forwarding in Chinese Railways containers, customs clearance, providing hauling stock and reloading into broad-gauge railway carriage, and freight forwarding in CIS countries.
The service is available for both single and multiple freight transportation options.

About Russian Railways Logistics

JSC Russian Railways Logistics was founded in 2010 for the purpose of developing a logistics business within Russian Railways Holding. In cooperation with Russian Railways subsidiaries and leading global transport companies, RZD logistics offers high-quality delivery solutions for its customers all over the world.
In 2011 RZD Logistics organised more than 1.5 million tonnes of cargo delivery. The net profit of the company amounted to RUB 97.2 million in 2011.
Russian Railways Logistics offers rail, road and sea freight, intermodal transport, storage and terminal handling, customs and insurance services, and supply chain management.

For further information please visit

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“Moving towards Sustainable Mobility: European Rail Sector Strategy 2030 and beyond” just published

“Moving towards Sustainable Mobility: European Rail Sector Strategy 2030 and beyond” was jointly agreed and endorsed by members of UIC and CER in December 2010 to provide a unified approach to environmental and sustainability topics in the European rail sector. It outlines how the rail sector should be performing in environmental terms in 2030 and 2050, and provides a framework that allows companies in the rail sector to make suitable long-term plans.

The strategy is built on four key environmental topics: climate protection, energy efficiency, exhaust emissions, and noise emissions. It sets out specific objectives for the rail sector to meet by 2030, and as uncertainties make predictions for the longer timeframe of 2050 more difficult, more general “visions” for 2050. This summary document outlines the objectives and vision statements.

The publication can be viewed at:

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3rd Global Rail Freight Conference organised by UIC and ONCF successfully held in Tangier, Morocco

ONCF and UIC Directors-General draw main conclusions and sign the “Declaration of Tangier”

The third edition of the UIC Global Rail Freight Conference (GRFC), jointly organised by UIC and the Moroccan Railways (ONCF), under the High Patronage of The King of Morocco Mohammed VI, on 17-19 October in Tangier, was a great success. Tangier, located at the crossroads of cultures but also aware of its attractive geostrategic position, gave 250 delegates from over 30 countries the opportunity to discuss “Railway transport – what role does it play in the development of global logistics?”

The Global Rail Freight Conference (GRFC) is a key milestone in UIC’s calendar of freight events. The conference, which takes place every other year, is a key opportunity for addressing all strategic issues of freight development, focusing on management, products and international corridors. It aims to develop and promote exchanges and partnerships between all major stakeholders involved such as top executives and decision makers, rail and logistics professionals, customers, influential politicians and regulators, and institutions from across the globe.
Over two days, delegates and participants, including all stakeholders, not just from the railways but all those involved in the global logistics system such as logistics operators, maritime transport, ports, intermodal operators, the supply industry, forwarders, and commercial intermediaries – not forgetting all the authorities such as customs and international institutions which address transport issues, discussed key themes such as international freight corridors, intermodality between maritime and rail transport, technological innovations for logistics and Morocco: a bridge between Europe and Africa?, etc. Optimising the supply chain through the introduction of new technologies was also a topic addressed in depth.

Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie, Director-General of ONCF and Chairman of the UIC African Region, particularly stressed that "the integration of rail freight traffic in the global logistics system has become a priority for companies operating in this area, especially given the changes and new economic order which is characterised by more competition, more performance and more innovation, particularly in terms of action and quality of services.”

The word “integration” was one of the key words that led discussions among participants. In this regard, all participants agreed that it was essential to give a greater role to the railways, including freight, integrating in the supply chain, if possible very early on in the logistics chain, with the need to bring together all stakeholders to serve and benefit the final customer, based on service excellence, technical and human flexibility, and at the best cost.

The closing ceremony on 19 October was co-chaired by Mohamed Rabie Khlie and Jean-Pierre Loubinoux.

Among the findings that have appeared most important to address, we can mention:

  • Growth in transport demand
  • Low share of rail in inter-continental segment: “there are many inherent expectations…and there is hope if we remove the barriers” said Mr Khlie.
  • Positive expectations of logistics stakeholders for rail freight to have an enhanced role
  • Demonstration of “success stories” of supply chains integrating rail “We trade on very specific cases in such conferences” sais Mr Loubinoux
  • Need for better consideration of customer requirements: consistency, reliability, flexibility.
  • “It is not only necessary to develop technical solutions but also commercial ones. For freight in general, the perception is still to change among clients seeking the most appropriate solution" said Mr Khlie.
  • Ultimately, rail freight: a strong link or a weak link in supply chains?

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, on behalf of all the participants in the conference is convinced that rail freight is a strong link with many advantages:

  • Proven value over long distance
  • Strong ability to transport large volumes
  • Benefits of sustainable development

But rail freight can also be a weak link if:

  • The benefit is limited to single rail traction
  • There is lack of synchronisation between information flows and real transport flows
  • There are gaps in modal and non-modal interoperability

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux added that “rather than setting freight apart from other modes of transport, the solution is to integrate it into others.”

To strengthen the role of rail in the global supply chain, participants agreed on the fact that several levers would help achieve this such as:

  • Intermodal integration and interoperability worldwide
  • Training
  • Flexibility, changes in operating rules, removing rigidities (regulations, etc. ..)
  • Technological innovations of today and tomorrow

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux mentioned several times the need to move towards global interoperability.
“This word carries all the actions managed by UIC for the last 90 years. We have entered into an intermodal complementarity phase of the 21st century. In 2013, the first link will be opened by Turkish Railways between Asia and Europe (Marmara Project). All these are no longer dreams, we progress in this reality that is being realised” he said.

To conclude this conference Jean-Pierre Loubinoux and Mohamed Rabie Khlie signed a final Declaration grouping together all the expectations and needs of the freight stakeholders:


Participants in the third edition of the Global Rail Freight Conference (GRFC) on rail freight and logistics held in Tangier, who seek to reinvigorate and rejuvenate 21st century rail transport, and following the developments that characterised the sector since the session in Delhi in 2007 and Saint Petersburg in 2010,

Have ascertained:

  • Growth in transport demand despite the crisis affecting most markets with medium-term trends, which are positive for global freight transport
  • Rail’s small market share in inter-continental trade
  • The positive expectations of logistics stakeholders for rail to have an enhanced role
  • The record of success stories where rail has been integrated into logistics chains
  • The need to take customer requirements more fully into account in terms of consistency, reliability and flexibility

Are persuaded that:

  • Rail freight plays a strong link in logistics chains through its value over long distances, its capacity to deal with large transport volumes and its undeniable advantages in terms of sustainable development
  • Efforts are still needed to overcome the obstacles related to the limited provision for rail traction, the lack of coordination between information flows and real transport flows, and the low levels of modal and extra-modal interoperability

Call for:

  • Rail’s role in the global logistics chain to be strengthened, by working towards developing integration and intermodal interoperability worldwide, training and flexibility, changes in operating rules and removing rigidities, as well as investing in technological innovations to acquire a more reliable and viable railway logistics system, whose key components are quality, safety, security and cost reduction
  • The development of major inter-regional and inter-continental corridors to achieve a better balance in transport modes
  • Interoperability to be strengthened through three key dimensions: technical compatibility between the various national and regional railway systems, procedures to be simplified and partnership complementarity between the various stakeholders in the logistics chain to be integrated in customer services
  • Information-sharing, research and technological innovation to be strengthened, and training in a wide range of railway professions and logistics to be given to young generations of international railway staff

Tangier, 19 October 2012

Signed by

  • Mohamed Rabie Khlie
    Director-General of ONCF,
    Chairman of the UIC African Region
  • Jean-Pierre Loubinoux,
    Director-General of UIC

To conclude, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux warmly thanked Austrian Railways which will host the 4th edition of the UIC Global Rail Freight Conference in Vienna in 2014, and more particularly Mr Christian Kern, CEO of ÖBB and Mr Ferdinand Schmidt, Director-General of ÖBB Produktion and Chairman of the UIC Freight Forum.

A special thanks to the delegates, speakers, sponsors and cooperating associations, and in particular ONCF, Supratours and UIC teams, for the success of this conference.

For further information please visit:

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UIC e-News Legal Editor: Marie Plaud-Lombard
Coordination: Helen Slaney
Editorial team: UIC e-News Team, Paris 23 October 2012

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