Introduction and opening speech of Mr Maminski for the UIC World Congress on High Speed Rail

Krzysztof Mamiński, President of the Management Board of PKP S.A. and chairman of the International Union of Railways (UIC) attended the March 7-10 11th World Congress on High Speed Rail, organized in Marrakesh, Morocco. Participation in the Congress was a great opportunity for bilateral meetings, exchange of views and discussions about cooperation. During the Congress, Krzysztof Mamiński met, among others, with Kim Han Young, president and CEO of Korea National Railway, Stephen Gardner, head of the American company Amtrak, Mohammed Rabie Khlie, general director of ONCF and Polish Ambassador to Morocco, discussing, among other things, investment opportunities for Polish business in Africa. Krzysztof Mamiński also chaired an additional meeting of railway chiefs on the future of high-speed railways in the world and cooperation on common standards.

Below opening speech of Mr. Mamiński:

Opening of the Congress: Mr Krzysztof MAMIŃSKI, PKP CEO & UIC Chairman

Dear Honorable Guests, dear Colleagues and Friends,
welcome to the 11th UIC World High Speed Congress - the biggest UIC event, with more than 1500 delegates coming from over the world.

The congress is organized in Africa, in beautiful city of Marrakesh, in Morocco – the country which is indeed the spearhead of the railway dynamic that can be observed throughout the continent. New transport infrastructures in Morocco testify to this vitality, desired and accompanied by the African Union in its vision 2063, for "an increasingly integrated and united continent". One of the flagship projects of this vision is indeed the development of an integrated high-speed network. It aims to connect all African capitals and commercial centres through an African high-speed rail network, thus facilitating the movement of goods, factor services and people. Increased rail connectivity also aims to reduce transport costs and ease congestion on existing and future systems. UIC fully supports this vision.

The potential of high-speed rail solutions adapted to the growth of sustainable mobility on a global scale has no limit. We are meeting here because we all believe that we need more rail and more high-speed connections around the world. The motto of the 11th HS World congress is: “High Speed Rail: The right speed for our planet?”.
The main objectives of the congress and our common task is:

  • to answer the congress moto question,
  • to take knowledge of the latest progress in all fields related to HSR,
  • to imagine together the future of high-speed mobility,

As Chairman of the UIC, I am personally very happy to be here with you today. High-speed rail is developing very dynamically: the pandemic did not prevent the expansion of high-speed railways with their total length going from 44,000km in 2020 to approximately 59,000km in 2022, an increase of over 1/3. Moreover, the number of countries making use of high-speed railways is only increasing, as additional countries are in the process of developing projects. The plans of Europe, Asian countries, Africa, North America, Middle East as well as my country, Poland, show that this is a growing trend, which is absolutely the right direction!

The challenges facing us today are global: new sustainable mobility systems, decarbonization of economy at the national, local and supranational level; a new economic situation and political challenges that requires new activities and transport solutions against climate change. It is possible to deal with them positively and effectively. Many of us develop proposals and ideas to solve them. Despite the fact that HSR may be considered remote for some countries, HSR is beginning to respond to many global challenges. By working together, we can achieve more and faster.

Railways needs to be visible and this congress is, among other actions, the concrete embodiment of the UIC’s vocation: to make the world’s railways cooperate together. To find together and united the best solutions for the mobility of tomorrow. The mobility of 2030 which is taking shape today. With the involvement of every player in the transport chain. In a world railway community united within the UIC and driven by the values of unity, solidarity and universality. In a world torn by incomprehensible territorial political ambitions and afflicted by natural disasters. At this point, I express my support for peace in Ukraine and words of support for Turkey affected by the earthquake. The new 2023-2025 work programme, which has just been published is thus the guidelines for all the actions to be carried out, so that rail can really play a central role in the decarbonisation of the transport sector on a global and regional scale.

On behalf of UIC I want to thank all sponsors of the UIC Congress, mainly to Korean National Railways, Alstom, Huawei company and all other companies important for HS development. Thank you for your support.

My special thanks go to my colleague Mr Mohammed Khlie - Director General of ONCF, Vice Chairman of UIC. Thank you for hosting and organising this congress with his team and UIC.
I also thank Mr. Davenne and the entire UIC team for this wonderful event, which is important in the UIC’s 2023 agenda.

The HS Congress has been successfully convened for ten times since its first edition in 1992, and now is renowned worldwide as the most prominent and a large-scale global event on high–speed rail addressing both HSR operation and technology issues. I am convinced that thanks to your present the 11 UIC World Congress on high speed will also be a success of all of us, too.

I hereby announce the opening of the ceremony. I wish all of you many fruitful discussions, new concepts and a very successful 11th Edition of the Congress.

Thank you very much!

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Wednesday 22 March 2023