Information published on 28 March 2017 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 541.

UIC participated at IRFC 2017 Conference in Prague

UIC participated on 22-24 March in Prague at the International Rail Forum & Conference - IRFC 2017 – organised by Oltis Group under the Patronage of the European Union Agency for Railways ERA, the Czech Ministry of Transport and the Czech Parliament, UIC, OSJD, CER, UNIFE and Shift2Rail.

UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux took part on 21 March at the high-level panel dedicated to the theme “Railway in the Crossroads of Times – Visions and Challenges” and grouping the leaders of European institutions as well as the associations from the rail sector.

In his presentation he described the perspectives for railways to be in this 21st century a major actor of mobility. “Railways in facilitating the crossing of borders between nations, strongly contributes to creating interoperability between countries and their populations, including over long and very long distances”.
He added: “in this century, stakeholders all over the world, are recognizing that mobility by rail is in fact the backbone of an effective, integrated, multimodal transport system, thanks to its advantages in terms of capacity, safety, reliability and environmental-friendliness.”

Describing the main trends for the future, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux stressed that due to the continuous urbanization at global level (66 % of the world population will be urban by 2050), railways will have to cope with this growing demand for intra and extra urban mobility and therefore to optimize the management of all the interfaces with intercity services as well as with all other transport systems. Another global main trend is the growing demand for freight (increase by a factor 3 by 2050 according to OECD forecasts, with a focus on North Pacific instead of North Atlantic) and passenger transport (that will double between 2015 and 2050).

In order to play this role of a backbone of an effective transport system, railways have, according to UIC Director General, to face 5 main challenges in the present period and near future:
-  Developing a genuine multi-modal mobility system in optimizing all interfaces
-  Being successful in the development of transcontinental and intercontinental corridors for freight in close cooperation with all international partner organizations involved such as UN, OTIF, ECO, OSJD, TRACECA, UIC,
-  Taking all advantage from the technological and especially the digital revolution,
-  Increasing the advantage in terms of sustainability and environmental-friendliness
-  Being active in railway research as the key to innovation, through ambitious research programs such as Shift2Rail.

He also stressed the crucial importance of the transmission of knowledge and beat practices to the younger generations who will manage railways of tomorrow.

During the IRFC 2017 conference on 22-23 March , three sessions were moderated by Simon Fletcher, Director, Coordinator for Europe at UIC Headquarters.

UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux addressed the topic “UIC: We are Digital”, Marc Antoni, Director of the UIC Rail System Department, handled “Challenges of Cyber Security on Critical Railway System”, and Francis Bedel, Chief Digital Officer at UIC, addressed the issue “Digital Revolution: the New Challenge of the Railway Industry”.