Between 13 and 16 October, the WCO held a virtual stakeholder workshop dedicated to rail transport. Participants from national customs authorities, the EU Commission, international associations and sector experts from all over the world engaged in discussions on a number of key topics such as risk management, process digitalisation, implementation of transit guidelines, etc.
The International Union of Railways, represented by Sandra Géhénot, Freight Director, was invited to open the third day of the conference, titled “Moving towards digitalisation”. In this context, Ms Géhénot presented the work of the Rail Freight Forward (RFF) coalition and, more specifically, the work currently coordinated by the UIC Freight team on digital platforms (https://www.railfreightforward.eu/).
She explained how the sector is seeking to implement digital platforms (DP) in order to unlock the true value of the multitude of operational data available by enabling seamless operational data exchange between all stakeholders in the rail freight sector via a digital platform ecosystem. This ecosystem “also needs to ensure it responds to the needs of smaller railway operators and encourages third parties to drive innovation utilising these data”, Ms Géhénot explained.
Answering questions from several representatives on the potential structure of such a platform, Ms Géhénot explained that the stakeholders currently involved are focusing on achieving and implementing business benefits for the sector and the customer in the spirit of the RFF, the mission of which is to proactively drive modal shift towards rail and pave the way for a sustainable society.