On Thursday 7 April, around 60 people from Switzerland, the EU and US attended the “Future for Railway Finance” meeting at UIC Headquarters.
After welcome speeches from UIC Director-General Jean Pierre Loubinoux and Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Paul Dühr, two sessions took place. Speakers from railway companies, leasing and rolling stock companies, national authorities, and the finance and banking sector stressed the challenges faced and the opportunities.
It is estimated that railways currently invest approx. € 48 billion per year in rolling stock. Private-sector funders of railway equipment require security that credit provided through loans or leases will be repaid and that their property rights will be respected so that assets can be repossessed by the creditor on non-payment or insolvency of the debtor.
UNIDROIT Secretary-General Mr José Angelo Estrella Faria and OTIF Secretary-General Mr François Davenne reiterated the improvements brought about by the adoption of the Luxembourg Protocol to the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment. A new worldwide legal framework has been created to recognise and regulate the security interests of lenders, lessors, and vendors. The protocol applies to all rolling stock (from high speed trains to trams), and will create an international system of registration and priorities for secured parties with the Registry which is accessible 24/7 online, allowing them to register their interests and facilitating the task of prospective creditors checking any rival claims to the equipment being financed. It will also lower barriers to entry into the industry for private-sector operators, make existing operators more efficient and competitive, and reduce dependency on state funding.
The conference was moderated by Mr Howard Rosen, Chairman of the Rail Working Group. He is heavily involved in raising awareness of the Luxembourg Rail Protocol and works to promote its adoption in order to encourage greater and more cost-effective private-sector financing of capital investment in railway rolling stock.
For the text of the protocol as well as helpful articles, briefing papers and presentations, please see www.railworkinggroup.org