The fourth meeting of the UIC Asian Region’s Asian Network of Rail Training Centres, held in Ulan Bator, Mongolia on 21 and 22 September, was a great success.
Almost 30 people attended the meeting, which for the first time since 2008 took place outside the network’s founding members, Korea and Vietnam. This was also the first time UIC had organised an event of this scale in a Central Asian country, and the first time that Mongolia and the Mongolian Railway Authority, led by Mr Batbold Tugsuu and a member of UIC since 2007, had hosted such a seminar.
Under the leadership of Mr J. Bat-Erdene, Mongolian State Secretary for Roads, Transport, Construction and Urban Development (MRTCUD), all the Mongolian railway players were present, including Ulan Bator Railways (UBTZ), which have recently applied for UIC membership. This was another opportunity for Vincent Vu, Director of Institutional Relations and Coordinator for UIC Asia, to welcome these potential new members and to once more confirm UIC’s desire to open its various working groups to members across the world.
Mongolia’s central geographical location, together with its current developments and the increase in national/local and state/part-private/private Mongolian railway players, give the country a distinct and significant part to play at the heart of Sino-Russian traffic routes, and by extension along the east-west corridors. Currently undergoing a process of reorganisation and investment to build an efficient railway system to match those of more developed countries, the Mongolian railway attendees confirmed their desire to be present in the UIC working groups, where their participation will always be welcome.
Under the chairmanship of Mr Yong Chon Hyon, Director of IRaTCA/KORAIL, and Mrs Quynh Nhu Han, Director of International Cooperation at Vietnam Railways, each member then presented its achievements and needs in terms of railway training, notably as part of cooperation and international benchmarking work. These training needs support the investments and projects outlined thoroughly by each country with details and figures. Whether they be small networks such as Vietnam or Cambodia, or larger ones such as India or Korea, it is important to place their developments and ensuing training in a regional context in order to ensure maximum interoperability and standardisation of the techniques employed. Thus Bhutan – a small country which has no rail infrastructure but considerable development plans – was invited this year to present its projects in collaboration with its Indian neighbours.
In addition, cooperation between the European network of rail training centres and that of Asian members is set to be strengthened under the aegis of the UIC Expertise Development Unit, led by Nathalie Amirault, who also attended the event. Other initiatives and projects for 2012 were presented and outlined, such as the training sessions organised by UIC and those specifically requested by members, training sessions targeted at senior managers and even the future establishment of a network of promising young managers chosen from among UIC’s members.
Finally, the international financial institutions – often mentioned but not present – will be invited to future training events organised under the impetus of the region.
The participants thus left the event having already agreed to attend the next training sessions organised by UIC Asia and KORAIL as part of IRaTCA in November with UNESCAP, and looking forward to the fifth meeting of this network in 2012, which is set to be held in another new location, under the patronage of Indian Railways.