The 2021 Market Place Seminar, organised jointly by FIATA and UIC with the support of CLECAT, focused this year on the enablers of multimodality in the Year of Rail. Digitalisation and corridor development were addressed during three interactive sessions, together with concrete examples from the rail freight sector around the world, including Europe, India and South Africa.
FIATA President Basil Pietersen gave the opening remarks and highlighted the need for cooperation and communication between stakeholders, a crucial task for both FIATA and UIC, solidified through the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding by both organisations before the summer.
UIC Director General François Davenne said, “Customers expect flexible, agile, cost-effective and also sustainable transport solutions to transport their goods on these global corridors. The multimodal railways will play a key role in mitigating climate change as the backbone of a decarbonised and sustainable mobility system. But to get there and to do even better, more multimodality will be needed.”
The first session was dedicated to multimodality as a solution to current supply chain challenges and provided an opportunity for the speakers to provide their input on useful tools to support multimodality as a solution for sustainable regional, national and international supply chains.
Maria Koidu of DG MOVE, European Commission, outlined problems relating to interoperability, including data: many different problems need to be solved to make operations smoother. There is a need to work on sector barriers and try to identify solutions. Multimodality will be possible if we can ensure efficient and sufficient infrastructure, including cross-border cooperation, and if we remove sectoral barriers.
FIATA Senior Vice President Ivan Petrov presented the FIATA Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading (FBL), the only truly multimodal negotiable trade document, and discussed the importance of interoperability and other standards across the supply chain. He also provided an overview of the FIATA Digital Strategy launched in June 2020 and the eFBL project, which aims to offer confidence and security through digitalisation. Eric Lambert, UIC Chairman of the Combined Transport Special Group, closed this first session, giving a presentation on rail at the heart of sustainable supply chains, taking into account climate issues and the sustainability of combined transport.
The second session focused on a key enabler: digitalisation of the logistics industry.
Ms Sandra Géhénot, UIC Freight Director, Mario Apostolov, UNECE Regional Advisor, Freek De Witte, DHL Public Affairs Manager and Frank Andreesen, Covestro Vice President of Safety and Advocacy, were invited to share their views of digitalisation as a key enabler for multimodality.
The speakers highlighted the importance of cooperation, teamwork and sharing of data to increase efficiency, stressing that good performance management starts with transparency. They also mentioned digitalisation as a means of enhancing the customer experience.
The final session focused on another enabler: the corridor concept as a facilitator of multimodailty in the rail freight sector.
Enlightening presentations were given by:
- Sandra Géhénot, UIC Freight Director: The corridors approach and the UIC ECCO project
- Alexander Mironow, TransContainer Europe Managing Director: Transcontainer: leading container operators in the ICS countries
- Shankar Shinde, Chairman Elect, Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India: Connectivity in the middle corridor
- Warwick Lord, Cato Ridge Dry Port CEO: The challenges experienced by the African continent
- Dr Gerhard Troche, EU Rail Freight Corridor ‘Amber’ Managing Director: RFC Amber and the development of the rail freight corridors to cross borders
Ivan Petrov and Philip Van den Bosch, UIC Senior Freight Strategy Advisor, concluded the seminar by giving a brief summary, covering topics such as digitalisation, multimodality, corridors, logistics and sustainability, and recognised the excellent cooperation between both organisations.
The presentations will be available on the dedicated website: marketplaceseminar.org