Within the framework of UIC’s African regional activities UIC and SNCF experts organised a Railway Crisis Management Seminar in Libreville, Gabon on 14 – 16 May 2019.
The event was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Transport of Gabon, in partnership with SETRAG (Trans-Gabon Railway operating company) and ARTF (Gabonese Railway Transport Regulatory Authority).
The project of this seminar was put in place during the International Railway Safety & Security Conference on Risks and challenges that took place in Djibouti from 28 – 29 March 2018 and adopted as part of the 2019 programme during ARA 2018.
250 participants were present at the opening ceremony which included presentations by the Minister of Transport and Logistics of Gabon – Mr Justin Ndoundangoye, the Mayor of Owendo, Mr Thierry Béra – UIC CFO & African Region Coordinator, Mr Mohamed Belarbi, ONCF, representative of the President of the UIC Africa region, SETRAG and ARTF representatives.
A three-day seminar brought together 65 technical experts from Gabon and a number of other African countries.
The speakers included representatives from SNCF, UIC Safety and Security Units, SETRAG, ARTF, representatives of CamRail, ONCF and other African railways.
Presentations included state authorities and structures, the organisation of Crisis Management in Gabon, the report on the simulation exercise that was held in January 2019, as well as a table-top four-group role-playing exercise and presentation on crisis management in other African countries and in Europe.
The conclusions of the seminar pointed out three important issues in crisis management:
- How to define a crisis? At what moment does a disruption become a crisis?
- This should be a decision made by someone, based on principles such the impact on people, reputation or running of a company.
- Need to have an ad hoc crisis unit, rapidly mobilised by a call system.
- The issues of the resolution of the crisis are the priority towards humans, the image and the economic aspect (return to railway production).
Actions proposed at the seminar to be discussed during ARA 2019:
- To put in place a structure in the form of Africa Safety/Security structure integrating crisis management.
This structure will meet once a year to exchange and share experiences and best practices.
- Include a management crisis module into the Security training held each year in Rabat.
- Study the possibility to put in place an IRS on crisis management with a specific appendix for Africa.