In addition to the information published on 19 March in the 337th edition of UIC eNews about the IRFC conference, the participants of the 4th International Conference on Freight Rail Traffic from Asia to Europe and of the Eurasian Rail Forum, who met in Prague from 12 – 15 March 2013 after addressing the state of railway freight and passenger transport in the Eurasian region, noted the positive results of the endeavours directed at increased competitiveness and efficiency of rail transport, development of rail transport corridors and outlined the next steps in this direction.
The participants emphasised the importance of the work to harmonise rail law, relating to the project on developing and implementing the unified CIM/SMGS consignment note. They noted the efficiency of the creation of main container traffic. Information on the Joint Declaration on the Promotion of the Euro-Asian Rail Transport and Activities towards Unified Railway Law, signed by the Ministers of Transport on February 26 2013 at UNECE headquarters in Geneva was received with strong support. The initiative of the EU to switch from road to rail transport was welcomed. At the same time, it was noted that there is a need for more efficient use of rail transport and state support of its operation.
Taking into consideration previous discussions, the participants turned their attention to the conclusions of an independent research, carried out among others by CER (Community of European Railways and Infrastructure Managers), showing the need for each country to choose a form of operation of rail infrastructure and carriage activities independently, based on the economic viability, the balance of interests of state and business actors and other criteria.
Bearing the aforementioned in mind the participants of the Forum:
- Express their support for the initiative, started by UNECE, to create a unified railway law;
- Approve the initiatives of the European Union on the switch from road to rail transport;
- Support initiatives for the development of Eurasian rail traffic corridors;
- Support a levelling of the playing field in order to ensure competitiveness of rail transport in relation to other alternative means of transport;
- Turn attention to the need of facilitation of border crossings;
- Ask to facilitate the implementation of the new Annex 9 to the 1982 International Convention on the harmonisation of Frontier Controls of Goods;
- Urge the promotion of the development of railways in all possible ways and to invest in projects related thereto.
The Appeal was unanimously adopted by participants from 31 countries:
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Belarus, Czech Republic, People’s Republic of China, France, Georgia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Kingdom of Morocco, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom and representatives of the OSJD, CIT, UIC, CCTT, CER and UNIFE. . .
The Appeal was sent to the Governments of Europe and Asia and to international organisations and railway associations.