Tuesday 7 July 2020

Development of the international railway market challenges and objectives for the technical regulations and dangerous goods provisions

Extract of an article by Christian Chavanel, UIC Rail System Director and Jean-Georges Heintz, Safety advisor – Expert of Dangerous Goods published in the Bulletin of International Carriage by Rail (OTIF)

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For a number of years, UIC has been contributing to the development of the regulations concerning dangerous goods by taking part in the work of the
European and international bodies in charge of transporting such goods. Among these bodies, OTIF plays a key role, as it is responsible for the “Regulation concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail”, known as RID [1].

After a brief presentation of UIC and its “added value” in this area, this article sets out UIC’s view on the following issues:

  • The regulatory and technical context of the transport of dangerous goods;
  • Requirements in terms of harmonisation and consistency between the various railway regulations and with the other land transport modes;
  • Lastly, some avenues for possible and desirable improvements.

UIC and its added value for OTIF with regard to the carriage of dangerous goods by rail

UIC has a history going back almost one hundred years in the service of railway operators in respect of international cooperation between railways.
It is a global railway organisation which now has 200 members spread over 95 countries on every continent. Each year, these members rack up 3,000 billion passenger kilometres, 10,000 billion tonne kilometres over 1 million kilometres of railway lines and employ 7 million people. UIC’s strategic objectives as a professional organisation are to promote rail transport at global level, to develop further as a technical platform serving its members, to develop joint projects on innovations and to promote sustainable, carbon-free transport together with its various partners.

With regard to Europe, the institutional organisation of rail transport has changed a great deal over the last twenty years. Since it was set up though, UIC has cooperated actively with OTIF. Its strategic objectives are such that they can support OTIF’s ambitions in terms of international rail transport in general and in the transport of dangerous goods in particular.

Another of UIC’s advantages is the cooperation and partnerships it has formed with around a hundred other governmental, intergovernmental, technical, standardisation and financial organisations, etc. Notable examples of UIC’s partnerships include those it has with a view to developing the Euro-Asian freight corridors and UIC’s work on the transport of dangerous goods within various intergovernmental bodies dedicated to the carriage of dangerous goods, particularly those attached to the European Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and OTIF. UIC also has the status of an NGO accredited to the United Nations Organisation (UN) and OTIF. [...]

For more information on this topic please consult the OTIF Bulletin on page 10 to 13:


[1The Regulation concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID), forming Appendix C to COTIF and its Annex

For further information please contact Christian Chavanel, UIC Rail System Director: chavanel@uic.org

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