During his visit to Havana, Cuba, from 9 to 15 July, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux met Cuban Minister of Transport Jorge Luis Sierra Cruz and rail chief Ricardo E. Aguiar Castro.
The trip included a visit to the Ministry’s Research Institute and meetings with
the Chief Executive and Board of the Union de Ferrocarriles de Cuba, the Cuban railways. Mr Loubinoux was given an overview of upcoming rail passenger and freight projects in Cuba, which highlighted the need both to upgrade the inland network and to develop the hinterland around the container port of Mariel, located 40 km west of Havana. Concerning the latter, the plan is to create an international hub for the Caribbean within the A.L.B.A. (Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America) socio-economic area, with the potential for opening links to Europe.
For its part, UFC expressed its firm interest in becoming an associate member of UIC, which would grant it access to UIC’s training programmes and technical recommendations. UFC is due to take its decision in September or October when defining its budget for 2010. The arrangements for joining UIC have been conveyed in writing to UFC via the Ministry, and UIC would welcome the opportunity to examine UFC’s request for membership in a context of detente and political renewal of the railways in Latin America.