Monday 13 December 2021

Role as a SPoC - Paulo de Freitas

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The benefits of standardisation in any industry are well known. For the railway industry in particular, taking into account challenges such as interoperability and competitiveness, its importance is all the greater.

Standardisation has been one of UIC’s core objectives ever since its foundation in 1922. Today, given the important role that railways are expected to perform in this era of green transport, technical harmonisation of the railway system is a must in order to foster interoperability and eliminate barriers.

Paulo de Freitas, UIC Senior Freight Advisor, said: “As a professional with some 30 years of experience in the rail industry, and having worked from several different perspectives worldwide (railway operator, railway consultancy and railway systems supplier), I can attest to the usability and importance of UIC standards. Therefore, when I joined UIC, I felt honoured and challenged to be tasked with the role of Freight Department Single Point of Contact (SPoC), responsible for coordinating standardisation activities within the Freight Department.

In my role as SPoC, I am required to interact with all Freight Advisors in charge of International Railway Solutions (IRSs), and am in constant liaison with the Standardisation Unit. As a SPoC, I am part of a team involving other SPoCs: UIC Technical Publications (ETF), UIC’s language service (L&T), the Standardisation Management Group, etc.

One very interesting aspect of being a SPoC is the overview gained of the IRSs within my department and their respective working groups, as well as IRSs being updated and leaflets to be withdrawn (and the reasons for such actions). This overview is useful not only in order to better understand the full set of standards available and how they contribute to technical harmonisation, but also in order to provide insights regarding IRSs for my specific working groups.

Speaking of insights, new views and suggestions: it was a pleasant surprise to discover that there is a collaborative culture of teamwork within the Standardisation Unit. Being able to make suggestions is just as important as asking questions”.

He added: “In my role as a SPoC, the learning curve has been steep. But with the support of my Director, colleagues from the Freight Department and the entire UIC Standardisation team, day-to-day difficulties are overcome and the work has proven to be a pleasant journey into the world of railway standards”.

For further information, please contact Paulo de Freitas, UIC Senior Freight Advisor, at

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