The seminar on Advancement and Internationalisation of Rail Logistics, organised by KRRI (Korea Railroad Research Institute) and sponsored by KORAIL, (Korea Railroad), both members of UIC, took place from 14 – 15 October 2015 in Seoul.
MOLIT, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, hosted the meeting and the Vice Minister of Transport together with the President of KRRI Mr Kim Ki-Hwan opened the session attended by 200 participants.
Before the debate and discussions four speakers presented their report:
- Bernard Schmitt (UIC) presented the trends and the challenges for rail freight in the EU. He stressed the importance of interoperability, corridors, to overcome the four track gauge systems, the 17 signalling systems and five electrification systems that exist in the EU
He underlined that the problem child, the segment single wagon load business, may be solved through innovative production systems, for example XRail which increases reliability and punctuality.
- The second speaker, Professor Li Hongchang from Beijing Jiaotong University, presented a four-dimensional analysis of railway logistics development in China. He detailed three intercontinental railway bridges and even proposed a blueprint of a railway link between Weihai (China) and Incheon (Korea)
- Mr Nakamura Masafumi, managing director of the JR Freight research centre, gave an overview of government support for freight by rail in Japan. He presented the new partnerships between shippers and logistic companies to ensure modal shift to rail. He explained the partnership conference involving JR Freight, and retailers, five logistics companies targeting the decrease of CO² emissions
- The last speaker, Director General of KRRI Mr Kwon Yong-Jang, developed the potential strategies to improve the competitiveness of rail logistics in Korea. To improve the current modal split to nearly 5%, he presented some innovative actions to improve the competitiveness and to develop R&D (e.g. detachable containers)
For each speaker certain problems in rail freight infrastructure lead to a lack of facilities and a vicious cycle with the fix costs remaining however the traffic declines.
On the second day the speakers visited the KRRI facilities near Seoul. KRRI intends to develop creative and innovative ideas there to develop railway technology. With a budget of 135 million US dollars in 2014 they:
- Conduct research into fundamental rail technology, safety policies and logistics
- Develop advanced rail systems of high speed (with wireless power transfer system), urban rail transit (mini tram, near surface transit system), light train, Cargo train eXpress (CTX)
- Contribute to extend the national railway network and continental rail connections
- Manage some standardisation, assessment, and certification of rail systems