On 19 January, the UIC African Region, together with the Centre for Transportation Studies for the Western Mediterranean (CETMO), organised a video conference on the promotion of rail corridors in the Western Mediterranean within the framework of GTMO (Group of Transport Ministers for the Western Mediterranean) 5+5, bringing together the ten countries in the region (Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia), as well as ERA and UNECE representatives.
UIC was represented by Thierry Béra, CFO and African Region Coordinator, and Joost Overdijkink, UIC Senior Freight Advisor, who gave a presentation on corridors as vectors of cooperation, presenting the corridors in general, RCF cooperation, an overview of the network and the harmonised infrastructure and explaining the challenges and benefits of corridors.
Discussion focused on coordination and cooperation between multimodal corridors in the Western Mediterranean, opportunities and needs, insights and lines of work of international organisations.
Some of the members of GTMO 5+5 gave presentations on the issues relating to the corridors, as well as the shared vision for intermodal, secure and sustainable transport. ONCF, which holds the presidency of the UIC African Region, spoke at length about the role of the railways in meeting these needs and described what is needed to develop rail in the Western Mediterranean so that the railway can play the role it deserves in economic development.
A UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) representative reassured the participants that UNECE remains resilient in spite of the pandemic. He outlined work on the Convention on Unified Railway Law, as well as intermodal and railway work on innovation and smart solutions, and how to better introduce them in the sector to increase the market share of rail. He also described the extensive work being carried out in relation to rail security, with a dedicated group of experts on the permanent identification of railway rolling stock within the Luxembourg Convention.