The 29th UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly (APRA), organised for the first time online due to the Covid-19 crisis, successfully took place on 29 June 2020. Chaired by Mr François Davenne, Director General of UIC, due to these special circumstances, welcomed by Mr LI Wenxin, Vice President of CR, representing Mr LU Dongfu Chairman of UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly and Mr KOTYREV Batyr, Chief Engineer of KTZ, representing Mr Sauat MYNBAYEV, UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly Vice-Chairman, the meeting focused on the impact of Covid-19 and on the next steps of work.
More than 100 participants from China (CR, CARS, NRA, BJTU, Tongji University, SWJTU), Kazakhstan (KTZ), Japan (JR-East, RTRI), India (IR), Korea (KORAIL, KRNA), Russia (RZD, VNIIZhT, NIIAS, FPC, RUT), Mongolia (UBTZ), Vietnam (VNR), Thailand (SRT), Philippines (PNR), Indonesia (KAI, MASKA), Azerbaijan (ADY), Malaysia (KTMB), Armenia (SCR) etc. attended the 29th APRA. The UIC APRA partners also joined the web conference: ADB, CCTT, EEC, Monash University, OSJD, UNCRD, World Bank. The Asia-Pacific region of 46 members was also pleased to welcome five new members from Thailand (Department of Rail Transport of Thailand), China (China Railway Design Corporation and China Railway Economic and Planning Research Institute) and India (National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd and National Capital Region Transport Corporation).
Mr François Davenne first wished to extend a big thank you to all APRA members and its Chairman for their commitment and everything accomplished since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis. He also underlined that due to the circumstances, UIC had to organise most of its events by web-conference and had to develop new tools to make a better use of videoconferencing. He announced the creation of the new Extranet which would give a full mapping of working groups and would improve the cooperation, and also the new standardisation workspace. He also informed the members on the UIC Research Strategy linked to Shift2Rail project and IRRB organisation and he expressed his conviction that the interaction between those different forums would allow railways to be the mode of transport of the future. Mr Davenne pointed out that during this crisis, all members could experience that their networks had performed their duty and succeeded to carry food, medical supply, etc., had transported citizens, and they had demonstrated their capacity to structure society. So, what they had to demonstrate now was to be able to innovate within a multimodal framework. Mr Davenne said that through these innovations and research bodies within UIC it would be possible to improve international and interregional cooperation and even if the process was not easy, he was convinced that everyone was committed to making the railways the mode of transport of the future.
Mr Vincent Vu, Director of Institutional Relations announced the official call for candidates to the UIC Executive Board, to the UIC Asia-Pacific Management Committee (APMC) and for the Chairman and Vice-Chairmen of the UIC Asia-Pacific region for 2021-2022.
Since the last APRA, three studies have been finalised and will be distributed to the members during the 30th APRA in October 2020:
- Drones for railway infrastructure monitoring undertaken by NIIAS
- Unified Information Space for Digital Transport Corridors undertaken by KTZ
- Application of big data on wheel rail force identification undertaken by CARS
Despite the crisis, the seven selected 2020 projects will be undertaken in 2020 or in 2021:
- Research on the Railway Development Policy in Asia-Pacific Region to Better Fulfil Railways’ Role as the Backbone in Integrated Transport, a start in 2020 for the update of Vision 2050 will be undertaken by CARS on behalf of CR,
- IRaTCA Training Session on Railway Passenger Services based on IT will be undertaken by KORAIL from 5 to 9 April 2021 in Seoul (Korea),
- Research on the Status Quo of Key System Technical Standards for High Speed Trains will be undertaken by CARS,
- Big Data-Based Timetable Management will be undertaken by NIIAS,
- Study on the Best Practices of Railway Digitalisation and Intelligent Railway Technology System Framework will be undertaken by CARS on behalf of CR,
- Predicting the maintenance of railway infrastructure with digital technology will be undertaken by KTZ,
- Measures for the effective development of multimodal transport in the Asia-Pacific Region aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the railway transport – INTERTRAN III will be undertaken by RZD from 14 to 15 October 2020 in Vladivostok (Russia).
For 2021, 40 proposals of projects have been made in different sectors (strategy & institutional relations, freight, digital, high-speed, business improvement, infrastructure & rolling stock, environmental sustainability, urban development, etc.) and the APRA members have been invited to opt-in to the proposed projects for which the final selection will be done during the 30th APRA in October 2020.
Mr Vincent Vu, UIC Director of Institutional Relations, closed the 29th UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly, thanking all the members for their presence and cooperation and invited them to attend the next UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly which should be held in Nur Sultan (Kazakhstan) on 27 October 2020.