On 29 September, UIC held a press conference at its headquarters to present the findings of the study carried out by Roland Berger consulting group for the UIC Freight Forum on Eurasian rail corridors.
The presentation was attended by various railway media journalists, representatives of UIC and member railways as well as a number of international organisations committed to facilitating operations along these intercontinental corridors.
The aim consisted in describing the current situation and evolution trends on each of the Eurasian route linking China / the Far East to European rail freight corridors, over the Trans-Siberian routes or the ‘New Rail Silk Roads’.
The press conference was moderated by Sandra Géhénot, UIC Freight Director, who welcomed the guests and participants – notably Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, who gave a welcome address, and Mr Andreas Schwilling, Partner at Roland Berger’s Transportation Competence Centre in Munich, who presented the findings of the study.
In his introductory speech, Mr Loubinoux emphasised, among other points:
“As the worldwide railway organisation, UIC has always been particularly committed to supporting the successful implementation of international rail freight services linking Asia to Europe, with a focus on technical interoperability and standardisation, harmonisation of processes and simplification of cross border operations.
Already in 2011, the ICOMOD study was commissioned to evaluate the potential of these services. Now, six years on, the development of intercontinental rail freight corridors is increasingly becoming a reality. Every week sees its share of announcements of new initiatives and logistics services linking Asia to Europe.
Rail Freight Corridor development is also part of the Action Plans of our UIC Regions – Europe of course, but in particular the Asian-Pacific and the Middle-East Regions.
The Corridor study has also clearly identified gaps to be tackled by the various actors of the chain. As an International Organisation whose aim is to support its members, UIC has had to make corridor development one of its priorities.”
The study, presented by Andreas Schwilling on behalf of Roland Berger, assesses the viability and the actions needed to promote existing and South-Eurasian routes and their connection to rail freight corridors.
During the presentation, Mr Schwilling mentioned, among others, Eurasian rail freight’s big growth potential, new routes being developed for rail cargo, what can be done to improve the quality of the different rail corridors, forecasts, areas where improvements can be made in terms of operational efficiency and recommendations for operators and railways. In his conclusions he mentioned:
“If the stakeholders in Europe & Asia are able to work on the levers, they will then be able to run trains over a much longer distance than American operators and achieve a much-improved cost position than today. This will make rail transport much more attractive than sea freight.”
The findings of the study were followed by a series of presentations by the following guest speakers:
Mr François Davenne, Secretary General of the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF)
Mr Abbas Nazari, Director General International Affairs, Iranian Railways (RAI), Director of the UIC’s Middle-East Office in Tehran
Mr Rafi Papo, Responsible for Turkey and Head of Partner Management, Rail Cargo operator – representing the Chairman of the UIC Freight Forum, Mr Clemens Först
Mr Karl Gheysen, Director Europe of KTZ Express, Kazakhstan Railways
Each presentation was followed by a dedicated question and answer opportunity.
The press conference was concluded by Mr Loubinoux, who summarised the key messages of each presentation and reminded the audience that the results of the study would form the backbone of the work of a dedicated stakeholder group, which is to meet in Paris on 22 November, and is to be attended by all the stakeholders of the transport chain.
To consult the study please follow this link: