Tuesday 5 December 2017

The 13th UIC Global Railway Security Congress was held from 30 November – 1 December 2017 in Potsdam, Germany

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“Railway freight security door to door” was the core topic of this year’s UIC Global Railway Security Congress, which was hosted by Deutsche Bahn AG in Potsdam.

Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Management Board for Infrastructure of Deutsche Bahn AG, opened the 13th global Security congress. He highlighted the importance of security in a constantly changing environment and the need for cooperation with all partners at national and international level. He said that this congress is a great opportunity to discuss different approaches to enhance safety and security of rail freight and procure for our customers a fast, reliable and secure transport system.

During his speech, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, highlighted the importance of the work being done in the area of security within UIC, and thanked DB AG for its involvement in this process – and particularly Prof. Gerd Neubeck, chair of the UIC Security Platform from July 2016 to July 2018.

He said that up to now, freight transport has had minimal exposure to everyday security issues such as terrorism, but who’s to say that freight won’t fall victim to an accident or criminal act at some point in the future? The consequences of such an incident could indeed be very serious. We need to develop an active policy of freight security on the ground; one that meets the needs of stakeholders and that will be of benefit to our companies in the face of intermodal competition, rather than an imposed burden.

Furthermore, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux stressed that the development of communication and digital technologies bring huge opportunities that revolutionise the way to work within railways and to exchange information. These elements are both opportunities and risks, and we need to factor them into our discussions.

Technical sessions:

The congress was organised around four technical sessions where speakers and participants from around 25 countries came together to discuss rail security and door-to-door supply chain security, which involves all of the stakeholders in the chain of transport from the first dispatcher to the final customer, each with its own role and responsibilities. It’s a particularly important subject at a time when rail freight is reshaping its future. The development of international corridors – between Europe and Asia in particular – was one of the subjects presented during the Security Congress and offers an exceptional opportunity for freight both in terms of the economic benefits of reduced transport times compared with maritime transport, and the environmental benefits associated with it – one of the key advantages of rail transport.

Regarding the development of the freight sector, the security of people and property is top priority for the national authorities. The railway companies have a key role to play alongside the authorities in embedding security as an element of service quality, attractiveness and effectiveness. The possibilities and best practices for the collaboration between third parties were also presented and discussed within the UIC Global Railway Security Congress.

During the last session of the UIC Security Congress the participants were informed about on-going EU projects, e. g. security issues and prevention measures at intermodal terminals in Europe or e-Wag as well as the opportunities to improve the exchange of information and communication under consideration of legal and security aspects especially with the explosion of digital and the growing importance of the online world.

Conclusions & next steps:

The presentations and discussions held during the congress were very fruitful. There is a wealth of initiatives on the subject that are often invisible but contribute to the fact that rail is a safe and secure transport mode.

Sandra Géhénot, Director of UIC freight department, concluded by underlying the following aspects:

  • Safety and security are key elements of the quality of the freight logistic chain
  • Cooperation is needed between international organisations and beyond with all the actors of the chain to ensure seamless security from an interoperability and intramodality point of view
  • Digitalisation is an opportunity to improve freight security door to door

In order to extend the work already done and consolidate the information gathered during this event, Sandra Géhénot asked the UIC security division to develop with the freight department a guide of good practices for rail freight security. This guide will be presented during the next GFRC (Global Freight Rail Conference) that will be held on 27 – 29 June 2018 in Genoa, Italy.

Then Gerd Neubeck, Chair of the UIC security platform, outlined some important aspects addressed during the congress, supported the creation of a guide on freight security and announced the next security events to be held:

  • 15 December 2017 in Prague, SZDC HQ: Meeting of the working group on New Technology focussing on the use of drones for rail infrastructure security.
  • 18-22 June 2018 in Paris, UIC HQ: 4th UIC security week
  • 22-26 October 2018 in Slovenia: 14th UIC global security congress focussing on crisis management and resilience.

Marc Beaulieu from Via Rail Canada, Vice-Chair of the UIC security platform, thanked all the participants. He waz very honoured to be the next Chairman of the security platform from July 2018 for two years.

All the presentations given during the congress are available on the private UIC security workspace at:


For further information please contact Jacques Colliard, Head of UIC security division:


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01. Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Management Board for Infrastructure of Deutsche Bahn AG
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General
Sandra Géhénot, Director of the UIC Freight Department
Jerzy Wisniewski, Director of the UIC Fundamental Values Department
Gerd Neubeck, Representative of the Management Board for Infrastructure of Deutsche Bahn AG for European and international security issues and chairman of the UIC Security Platform
Marc Beaulieu, VIA Rail Canada Chief Transportation and Safety Officer and Vice Chairman of the UIC Security Platform