The 4th seminar jointly organised by United Nations ESCAP and UIC, with a significant input from the Russian Federation, was successfully held from 9 – 11 December 2015 at the United Nations Headquarters in Bangkok, and attended by around 50 participants from the Asia-Pacific region.
After a motivating and harmonised introduction led by Li Yuwei, (Transport Division Director in UN ESCAP) together with Vincent Vu (UIC Director Institutional Relations) and a touching message given by Jean-Pierre Loubinoux (UIC CEO) the first day focused on the advanced “traincost” Point-to-point Railway Traffic Model developed by the transport economist Peter Hodgkingson.
During the first part of the session Mr. Hodgkingson described the framework detailing several topics such as:
- Relationship between railway costs and prices
- Preparation of railway marketing and corporate plans
- Railway capital investment appraisal
- Purpose and intended application of the “Traincost” model
- Description of model components
In a further step a practical session was organised and participants had the opportunity to test the model system and to discuss and share their ideas comments and suggestions.
The second day, moderated by Nicola Lelli (UIC Freight and Rail System Senior Advisor), focused on railway costing and was organised in the shape of four interesting sessions where several railway professionals presented. In particular:
- Pierre Chartier (Chief of Transport Infrastructure Section in the Transport Division of ESCAP) promoted the importance of building a strong railway sector by highlighting the importance of people.
- Miklos Kopp presented the report of the UIC project on track access charges for freight transport in Europe. The common interest in enlarging the same project in the other UIC regions was expressed by the participants.
- Ha, Oh-Keun, (Korea Railroad Corporation Senior researcher) explained the Efficiency Improvements for Railway Logistics Business led by Korail, and that thanks to the optimisation of existing assets, the introduction of new modern technologies and the support of the Korean Government guarantee a continuous improvement of the company results.
- Sarah Sheppard (Director of the Infrastructure Regulation Division in the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) presented the example of the Australian Rail Track Corporation explaining how ACCC is strongly involved in driving, cooperating and controlling access and pricing processes for all the Australian operators.
- Zhangshan Zhao (Senior advisor of China Academy of Railway Sciences) presented the Fare Policy and Cost of Railway Freight Transport in China. He highlighted how the Chinese government is deeply engaged in the promotion of railway transport aiming to rebalance the market share with the other modes.
- -Jakab László (UIC/FIATA Working Group Co-Chairman) presented the Rail Freight Services from the European perspective focusing on the importance of being customer oriented and of invest in human skills.
- Laurent Ferry (GEODIS THAILAND Managing Director) showed how the Geodis group is investing in the ESCAP region and shared the growing data of his company pointing out how the rail freight mode of transport is emerging.
At the end of this fruitful day of exchanges the next steps were defined:
- A global UIC project on railway costing will be developed with the aim to find out the best practices used worldwide on the topic and to define the optimal costing strategies tailor-made for each different kind of reality.
- All participants are asked to promote the following concept: railway being the safest and the most sustainable mode of transport, the transport mode of the future. Each government was invited to introduce railway-friendly measures such as environmental taxes addressed to the more polluting transport modes in order to avoid extra charges for railway users and to promote and develop it, rebalancing the market share in the respect of our planet.
The third day focused on facilitation of railway transport, with topics focused on administrative, cross-border and customs issues. Introduced by Sandeep Raj Jain, Transport Facilitation and Logistics Section, Transport Division, ESCAP, each country had the opportunity to present the current situations with railway development as well as the challenges they are facing regarding easy and smooth railway transport, both on the domestic and international hauls.
François Davenne, secretary general of OTIF, explained the legal framework in Europe which is a key for interoperability in both freight and passenger transport, with the roles of the different decision-makers. Gennady Bessonov, secretary general of CCTT, presented the strategy of development as well as the most striking figures regarding the Transsiberian intermodal routes starting in Korea, whereas the representative of the Asian Institute of Transport Development, focused on the interoperable technologies and non-technical challenges being developed in the SAARC countries. Milko Papazoff, representative of UIC Asia-Pacific in ASEAN countries, gave a comprehensive overview of the projects currently underway in those countries.
Li Yuwei and Vincent Vu concluded these three days of intensive work by advocating for the role of rail transport in the Sustainable Development Goals and the need for Asia-Pacific to collaborate more. The application of international conventions on interoperable transport should be jointly achieved with the work on technical issues, such as gauge compatibility and missing link investments, but also on human factors, business models, financing, security/safety, customs facilitation and documents and information sharing with the fast implementation of new IT technologies.