The 24th Meeting of the Regional Assembly for Middle-East Railways (RAME) was held on 10 December 2019 in Paris. The UIC RAME meetings are organised biannually in relation to the UIC General Assembly meetings with the presence of the top management of the member railways to discuss and decide on the activities of the region, reviewing and approving the previous programmes, presenting the report of the CEOs and Directors General of RAME, keeping up to date with regard to UIC HQ reports and activities, and being involved in them.
The 24th RAME meeting was opened by Mr François Davenne, Director-General of UIC. He extended his gratitude to the esteemed participants, especially to the RAME Chairman, Mr Ali Ihsan Uygun (TCDD), and Vice Chairman Mr Saeed Rasouli (RAI), and to Mr Abbas Nazari, Director of the UIC Middle-East Region Office (based in Tehran) for the preparation of the meeting. He emphasised the dynamism of the region and the need to develop more common concrete projects within UIC. In particular, he thanked RAI for organising the CEO meeting during the nextstation conference, which had provided an opportunity to discuss ways of boosting freight traffic not only in the RAME region, but also in neighboring countries in the APRA region.
In addition to Mr Davenne, Mr Uygun thanked UIC for their efforts in organising this important regional meeting. He explained that railway investments were growing in the region and that we should be confident in the coming projects, especially with the cooperation of the UIC Regional Coordination and the regional office in Tehran. Following this, Mr Rasouli, explained how cooperation with UIC is crucial for increasing the power of our railways and facing the regional challenges, but also to develop action plans and working groups within the region.
Ms Rahbari, Foreign Relations Expert within the UIC regional office in Iran, presented the report “Innovative Ideas on Rail Training” and how to develop training activities in the region. This presentation described the importance of training as well as how to develop technical skills and also leadership skills within a company, as well as delivering training in the era of digitisation and creating an innovation lab for a training centre.
Mr Wisniewski, UIC Coordinator for the Middle-East, presented an update of the Action Plan for 2020-2021 for approval. He encouraged Members to organise events on the promotion of safety at level crossings, seminars on freight and freight wagon technology, and also rail harmonisation, standardisation and interoperability. He insisted that it was also important to respond to the training needs of Members using the Mertce” (TCDD training facilities) in relation to UIC activities in this field. The climate change crisis was also not to be forgotten and Mr Wisniewski encouraged Members to join the Low Carbon Rail Transport Challenge and to contribute to the 2019 UIC Pledge.
Mr Marc Guigon, UIC Director of Passenger Department, joined the meeting to present the passenger activities and to thank Members for the successful event that was Next Station in November in Iran. He emphasised the importance of investments to develop performing railway stations, including by reinforcing private and public partnerships (PPP). Two main areas of work for the passenger department also include digitisation and sustainable development.
Sandra Gehenot, UIC Director of Freight Department, reported during the meeting on international freight corridors and freight wagon technology. She insisted on the need to develop more insightful regional work to encourage interoperability and to create a digital roadmap for freight in the Middle-East.
Mr Bera, UIC Finance Director, presented the report on the RAME budget and financial issues. He appealed to the RAME Members to ensure that their fee payments were made on time. UIC, RAME Members and the regional office also discussed Members having difficulties in attending the RAME meetings and how to support them in the best way possible.
To conclude the meeting, all Members represented were invited to report on their respective projects and achievements giving an overview of their activities.
The next 25th RAME meeting is scheduled to be held in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2020 – to be confirmed.