The 14th UIC Regional Assembly for Asia and Oceania took place on 2 November 2012 in Moscow, Russian Federation, at the invitation of JSC RZD, which was celebrating 175 years of operations. After a detailed review of the projects under way and undertaken by the region’s members themselves, the Assembly reaffirmed the importance of all its members being involved and having a stake in jointly planned and financed operations. To that end, all members were officially invited to participate, so that they would play a proper part in future seminars and studies, as well as in sending secondees to UIC headquarters in Paris. These last should act as intermediaries for members to express their needs to UIC’s forums and technical departments. They will also each play the role of technical advisor in their specific area of expertise and in relation to knowledge of their region.
Finally, following on from the collective and highly consensual work of the last 6 years, the 2013 action plan will consist of a more strategic 3-year plan, put together with the help and approval of all members, who produce updated axes of cooperation, which will then be labelled ‘strategic and indispensable’. This Assembly also endorsed the recommendations by the 5th Asian Network of Training Centres relating to railway training and to setting up an international training network.
It is in that context that the regional members welcomed the chairmanship of KORAIL, which will conclude at the next UIC General Assembly, and that a new regional chairman was appointed, in the shape of Satoshi Seino, East Japan Railways Co., Ltd. Two vice-chairmen will set the tone and issue guidelines concerning the issue of Euro-Asian freight, focusing on two railway corridors: Kazakhstan Railways and, for the first time, Ulaanbaatar Railways (UBTZ – Mongolia). On this occasion, the Assembly expressed its intention to open its management committee up to new members (THSRC and UBTZ). It also extended the welcome of the entire region to other new members from Australia and New Zealand, renaming the region in line with how it is internationally known: the Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly (APRA).
The Assembly concluded by informing all its members of the date of its upcoming Optimizing Rail Track Investment and Maintenance seminar, which will take place in Seoul, South Korea, on 21-22 November. This seminar will also be broadcast live for all members over the regional web-conference system (connection information for regional members available on UIC’s extranet, Asia-Pacific section).
At the same time as the 14th UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly, the 4th UIC technical workshop for directors and experts took place on 1 November. Around 80 participants, essentially specialist directors from all over the region, were able to swap the specifics of the projects they and UIC have under way: Passenger and High Speed, Sustainable Development, Safety and Security, Freight and Railway Systems. This important moment in the life of the region enabled everyone – UIC members and directors – to update all their general knowledge of progress with the projects considered key for the Asia-Pacific community without, however, going into the details. Specifically, UIC was able to suggest to all its members even greater involvement in the 4 management groups of the Passenger Forum, in the upcoming joint meetings with Europe on sustainable development, in two very specific projects on access rights for freight and in benchmarking the damage caused by wagons, and in the upcoming focus group and studies on LICB. Finally, all members concerned about safety were able to see the progress with work on setting up a database of safety events in Asia, the amount of data collected and the initial analyses that can be drawn from them, and could calmly consider how much remains to be done.
This workshop will now become an unmissable part of the region’s timetable, requested and scheduled by its own members. It will be held again during the next Regional Assembly, which will take place in Kazakhstan in May 2013.