On 5 June “South East Europe Rail & Public Transport Development 2013” brought together the region’s railways and public transport operators and authorities in Belgrade to discuss and debate how to make the region’s networks cost-effective, efficient, and attractive to the travelling public as well as to investors. Among those who participated in the Forum were representatives from the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, the European Commission, Ministries, as well as CER, railway CEOs, and UIC Members such as Dragoljub Simonović, Director General, Serbian Railways JSC, Darko Peričić, President of the Management Board, HŽ Infrastruktura (Croatian Railways), Ivan Lešković, President of the Management Board, HŽ Cargo, Dragan Šimrak, President of the Board of Directors, Railway Transport of Montenegro (ZPCG), and Athanasios Ziliaskopoulos, President & CEO, Trainose.
UIC participated in this event through a video message of Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, who said:
Rail has a pivotal role in delivering a competitive and environmentally-friendly transport system, furthering economic growth, enhancing personal mobility and supporting social cohesions. Rail must be responsive to users’ needs, delivering reliable, affordable and attractive services at the core of a seamless and safe mobility network. The sector must continue to apply its innovative skills to limit avoidable costs and to identify where innovation is needed. Massive modal shift will depend on attracting users. Attractive services require adequate funding but that can in some ways be self-fulfilling by providing high quality services that will stimulate the popular support that can help underpin public investment. A strong European railway system is the key to sustainable mobility in a low-carbon society. It is essential to economic growth and social cohesions. UIC at a very early stage was committed to supporting intensive regional cooperation within the South East European Railways, the SERG Group. Most of these railways were present at this conference. They are fully involved in all international cooperation bodies of UIC and are aware of the diversity of benefits and services that they can expect from UIC now and in the near future. By working together we can make much more of the potential capacity of our rail network to provide modern services to customers and efficient trade links in Europe, with rail at the very heart.”
His video message is available here:
- Flash Video - 81.5 MbSee the document
Dragoljub Simonović, Director General, Serbian Railways JSC, who hosted the conference said:
When it comes to railways, it is time for change. A new page needs to be turned, especially by the Balkan railway. This territory potentially represents the most vital part of the European railway system, from the economic and geographic aspects, the shortest connection between the Northern, Western and Central Europe and its Southern part with Asia and the Middle-East. The most significant European and global corridors cross this territory. After the economic crisis, the Balkan region expects a significant economic development and increase in transport demand and, therefore, preparations are necessary. Significant economic growth and trade, i.e. increase in transport, is expected primarily in Asia, the Far and Middle-East and, on that level, the Balkan railways can satisfy huge demand. In order to realise that, it is necessary to overcome many years’ backlog in investment in development projects, infrastructure and rolling stock, new technologies, know-how, organisation and new business philosophy. This process is currently ongoing. We all need to cooperate in order to make this a reality because there is work to be done by all of us, and because the Balkan railways, as well as the railways in the whole world, are built and are being built not to create, but to remove obstacles for the transportation of people and goods, in order to contribute to the economic development, which we need now more than ever.”