As part of the series of events organised in Manila between UIC and the ADB from 20 – 24 May, the 27th edition of the UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly (APRA) was held on 23 May.
The event was chaired by Mr Lu Dongfu, General Manager, China Railway Corporation (CR) and was attended by 79 participants from China, Kazakhstan, Japan, Korea, Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Russia, Thailand, Philippines, Afghanistan.
Mr Lu Dongfu opened the meeting saying: “The 27th UIC APRA is the first APRA held since I assumed the position as the chairman. Here, on behalf of China Railways and in my own name, I would like to express my gratitude to the colleagues of UIC APRA for their trust and support. I would also like to thank the hosts of this conference, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Philippine National Railways (PNR), for their support and thoughtful arrangement, and extend my most sincere greetings to all the peers and colleagues attending this conference.
The Asia-Pacific Region is the largest part of the global economy, and the UIC Asia-Pacific Region is also one of UIC’s most dynamic. Now we have members from 18 Asia-Pacific countries and regions, and the total mileage of the rail network in these countries and regions has reached 360,000km, constituting the most influential and important part of UIC. Today, we get together to discuss the work tasks and development prospects of UIC APRA, and we will make decisions on our next steps. I hope that all of our colleagues will adhere to the development concept of “opening, sharing and connectivity” and take this conference as an opportunity for in-depth dialogue and exchange to promote the implementation of various initiatives, action plans and projects of UIC APRA, achieving integrated and common development.”
He was followed by Mr Bauyrzhan Urynbassarov, Managing Director for Infrastructure, Director of KTZ branch “Direction of the backbone network” who represented the Vice-Chairman, Mr Sauat Mynbayev, Chairman of Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ), who said: “Recognising the importance of UIC activities in the Asia-Pacific region, I am strongly convinced of a further need to strengthen cooperation and step up efforts to jointly pursue the objective of developing rail transport. […]
Taking this opportunity, on behalf of Mr Sauat Mynbayev, Vice-Chairman of UIC APRA - Chairman of the Board of KTZ, let me announce the KTZ proposal to host the 30th anniversary meeting of UIC APRA in the Republic of Kazakhstan at the end of 2020.”
Then, Mr James Leather, Chief of Transport Sector Group of ADB highlighted that ADB has assisted governance in the rail sub-sector and is responding to climate needs. ADB also invests in knowledge development and in sharing ideas on best practice.
Mr Junn B. Magno, General Manager, Philippine National Railways (PNR) gave his speech: “Last year, when the PNR Representative attended in Bangkok, Thailand we were considered as a provisional member and due for admission and ratification of our nomination. It is thus momentous for PNR that our first full pledged attendance in APRA is done in our own country.
Since that day, we have continuously communicated with UIC and as much as possible use the standards of UIC such as in naming of fleet and car body markings and identification. We have also been a strong advocate of using the standards in the UIC leaflets in the design of our new projects North South Commuter Railways (NSCR) and its extensions even amidst the standards being insisted by ODA (Official Development Assistance) partners.
As PNR undertakes most of the rail projects in the Philippines, it is of paramount importance that the best industry practice is integrated to our system and how do we intend to do that? By exposing ourselves to other rail jurisdictions ‘tested and proven practices, principles, design and technology. We have to look up to the standards and industry best practices if we have to emerge as a strong rail administrator and regulator in very near future […].”
Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General said: ” We have the opportunity to do this 27th APRA in the HQ of the ADB, one of the goals I wanted to achieve many years ago when we signed the Memorandum of Understanding with this organisation.
We know that this organisation is more and more interested in the railway mode as a vector of mobility for goods and people, bringing social and economic development to the region. I am even more happy as this achievement will be the last Regional Assembly that I will attend. I want to highlight all the honour that we have received in the framework of the new governance, after the Russian Railways with now the Chinese railways as the chairman and KTZ, a long time supporting vice-chairman.
The presence of Mr Lu Dongfu is a testimony of the interest that CR brings to the multilateral discussions and the international railway cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and to the importance of the work of UIC in general […]”
Mr François Davenne, UIC Deputy Director General, gave a welcoming speech by video: “I am always impressed by the vision and the quality of the many railway projects that are flourishing here. We have quite a lot of exciting projects together such as the 12th World Congress for Railway Research in Tokyo this year and the next UIC High-Speed Congress in Beijing to be held in 2020. I wait expectantly to meet you there, and to contribute to the innovative conclusions we will reach together.
I am convinced that UIC is the forum where you will be able to push forward your ideas, and I am deeply committed to this goal.”
The Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly was asked to take note of the nomination of Mr Sauat Mynbayev, now KTZ (Kazakhstan Railways) Chairman, as Vice-Chairman for the forthcoming period of two years, starting on 1 January 2019 until 31 December 2020.
The Assembly was also asked to note the nomination of Mr Son, Byeong Seok, President and CEO of Korail, as the representative of Korail at the UIC Ex Board and UIC Asia-Pacific Management Committee until December 2020.
Projects & Activity of APRA
The Regional Representatives Function Report was presented by Mr. Tom Sargant, representative of the UIC Oceania area, Mr. Milko Papazoff, representative of UIC South East Asia and by Mrs. Irina Petrunina, representative of UIC Asia CIS.
In terms of Membership, the Assembly approved Tongji University (China) and the Minister of Transport and Main Roads of Queensland, Australia as Affiliate members. The final decision will be given at the UIC General Assembly on June 2019.
The UIC Asia-Pacific region now has 44 Members.
An overview of the seven ongoing projects for 2019 was given and there are currently 32 projects for 2020 which have to be approved at the next General Assembly.
UIC signed an Action plan for Cooperation on rail transit development with the Economic Cooperation Organisation. This 2nd Action Plan signed between ECO and UIC aims at expediting from 2019 until 2024 the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 31 January 2001. It will promote the development of regional and international railway transit along the corridors of mutual recognition, which will contribute to the promotion of economic development and social progress in the ECO, the UIC Middle East and, for the first time, the UIC Asia-Pacific region as crossroads connecting Asia, the Middle-East and Europe.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
UIC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Monash University’s Institute of Railway Technology (IRT) on 22 May 2019 in order to consolidate the interaction and cooperation between the two organisations.
Monash University’s Institute of Railway Technology is part of this Australian university and one of the main technology service providers to heavy haul railway operations and leading mass transit railway systems.
This Memorandum is an introduction to future membership of UIC on the part of the Monash Institute of Railway Technology.
Participants also took note of the future meetings scheduled in the framework of the UIC Asia Pacific Region:
- 28th APRA, 28 October 2019, Tokyo, Japan
- UIC WCRR, 29 October – 1 November 2019, by RTRI, Tokyo, Japan https://wcrr2019.org/
- UIC Digital Conference, 14 – 15 May 2020, Perth, Australia
- 29th APRA, 13 May 2020, Perth, Australia
- CORE 2020, 11 – 13 May 2020, Perth, Australia