90th General Assembly of UIC

90th General Assembly of UIC, the worldwide organisation of railways, was held on 10 July in Istanbul

(Istanbul, 10 July 2017)

The Executive Board and 90th General Assembly of UIC, the worldwide railway organisation, were held on 10 July in Istanbul, at the invitation of Turkish State Railways TCDD. The meetings were chaired by UIC Chairman Mr Renato MAZZONCINI, CEO and General Director of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS) together with Mr Isa APAYDIN, President of the Board and Director General of TCDD, UIC Vice-Chairman and in presence of Mr Jean-Pierre LOUBINOUX, UIC Director General. Mr Alireza ZOLFGHARIZADEH, Programme Officer (Transport) from the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) gave a guest keynote speech. Several organisations also attended the UIC General Assembly, such as CCTT, CIT, CER, USIC.

UIC Chairman Mr Renato Mazzoncini in his report reviewed the activities of the railway organisation since the last General Assembly in December in Saint Petersburg and reminded the meeting of the orientations and main challenges for the months to come.

He stressed that; “We have to encourage more investments and policies that give our sector the chance to be the backbone of the sustainable transport of the future. To make a step forward on 23 May 2017 we signed a letter to all the Ministers of Transports to reiterate the purpose, the values and the philosophy of the International Union of Railways (UIC).

In Europe, huge investment is taking place, and more than 600 billion Euro are still needed, under the TEN-T program to deliver the Trans - European Transport Network and its 9 corridors. More than 1 trillion dollars are put on the table with the Chinese initiative ‘One Belt One Road’ to connect China and the world. India, where I was in February, has also set up an impressive plan of rail investments. UIC is the right platform to support the action needed.

He summarised the main challenges for UIC as follows:

  • Freight corridors and Silk Road Study

UIC Members were presented with the results of a study carried out on behalf of UIC by Roland Berger on the development of Eurasian corridors and their interconnection with European Rail Freight Corridors. More specifically the study presents an overview on the traffic volumes, market players, infrastructure and performance of the rail routes, forecasting their development and potential until 2027, it assesses the key success factors, best practice and impeding factors for the initiatives and makes recommendations for stakeholders of the transport chain.

  • Climate Conference COP23 and the Footprint Study

For the 2017 round of UN Climate change negotiations, UIC will use its status as an organisation accredited by the UN and work with locally based members in addition to a coalition of like-minded organisations. The main objective of these action is to raise awareness and deliver key messages concerning sustainable transport and climate change at the upcoming COP 23 (Bonn, Germany 6-17 November).

Concerning the Footprint Study, it was reiterated that several “railway footprint studies” have been commissioned in the past, notably by ÖBB and by CER. Their common purpose is to illustrate the contribution of railways to society. The UIC study aims to fill two gaps by providing two particular insights. The first insight is an objective representation of the economic balance of rail, in view of a possible, lasting, bias-free comparison of transport modes. The second insight is the geographic analysis of the relationship between the rail transport system and its geographic and human environment. The UIC General Assembly approves the extension of the study be-yond mid-2018 as part of the global budget.

  • The TALENT project

The development of the UIC eLearning platform is a key component of the TALENT project, the initiative aiming to prepare a new generation of railway talents working on domestic and international challenges.

The results of a survey the UIC conducted at the beginning of the year together with other studies demonstrated that the multidisciplinary nature of the transport industry requires competencies from multiple bodies of knowledge, matching with the multidisciplinary character of mobility systems. This calls for a new generation of training courses (more flexible and not focusing on fundamental disciplines only).

The TALENT project is currently exploring the potential of on line learning (e-learning) as a means to attract and develop talents in the rail sector. The Talent team is currently designing a learning environment with the goal to provide learning opportunities that are flexible, self-paced, collaborative, evolutive and recognized. The first pilot courses (topics ranked as very important in the UIC survey) will be dedicated to Railway Asset Management, Global satellite navigation, GRTMS and will ad-dress different railway professions. Rail Uni Net (Railway University Network) as one of main partners of this activity will be re-organised to meet the new requirements and become a working body of the Expertise Development Platform.

  • Digital developments

Renato MAZZONCINi also highlighted the importance of the digital issue for railways. He said: "Digitalisation is the most disruptive issue that we have to deal with.” He thanked the whole UIC team for organising the 1st UIC Digital Transformation Tour in Silicon Valley in May this year with around 20 representatives from UIC Members and welcomed the launch of the 2nd UIC digital Awards. He also invited Members to join the further digital conference to be held in Rome on 18-19 September to exchange experiences on cyber-security and asset digitalisation.

  • Standardisation

In terms of standardisation, he stressed that efforts have still to be made "to reinforce our assets and all the work done over the last several years in this field".

The General Assembly approved the report of the UIC Standardisation Platform. As its core activity, this Platform coordinates UIC's standardisation strategy and develop the professional standards to increase the value of the organisation's assets.

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