Thursday 13 November 2014
UIC Middle-East / International Transport Law

Conference on COTIF successfully organised by OTIF, ECO and UIC Middle East in Tehran

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A conference on the COTIF international convention was held on 11-12 November in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, at the invitation of OTIF (Organisation for International Carriage by Rail), ECO (Economic Cooperation Organisation, with 10 Member States) and the UIC Middle East Region (UIC RAME). The programme of this conference was to present the role of various international organisations (OTIF, ECO, UIC) in the harmonisation of international transport law as well as the harmonisation of technical and operational conditions for railway operations, with a special focus on railway developments in the region, in particular for international corridors.

The main focus for the Tehran conference was the application of the COTIF international convention in the Middle East and more specifically:

  • the introduction to OTIF and its convention (presentation made by Mr François Davenne, OTIF Secretary General)
  • application of CIV, CIM and CUV Uniform Rules (presentation given by Mr Carlos del Olmo, Head of Legal Section in the OTIF Secretariat)
  • COTIF Technical regulation (APTU and ATMF), (presentation given by Mr Bas Leermakers, Head of the Technology Section in the OTIF Secretariat)
  • carriage of dangerous goods (presentation given by Mr Jochen Conrad, Head of RID Section in the OTIF Secretariat)
  • application of COTIF in the Middle East and ECO States (presentation given by Mr Abbas Nazari, Director General of International Affairs, RAI, and Director of UIC Regional Office for the Middle East).

The conference aimed to create an opportunity for exchange of information and best practices to improve rail freight activities in the Middle East, in particular for long distance freight corridors.

The conference was opened by Dr. Mohsen Pour Seyed Aghaei, Vice Minister for Roads and Urban Development, President of the Railways of the I.R. of Iran (RAI), Mr François Davenne, Secretary General of OTIF, Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of UIC, and a representative of ECO.

After warmly thanking OTIF, ECO, RAI and the UIC Middle East Tehran Office for the excellent preparation of this important conference, UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux highlighted UIC’s involvement in its tradition mission of harmonising technical and operational conditions for the development of international traffic by rail.
He focused his presentation on the synergies currently developed between the rail sector and the leading international organisations, in the activities aiming to develop International Railway Standards, and activities coordinated with a number of organisations to harmonise conditions for international freight transport (in particular cooperation with UNECE, OTIF, ..).

He said: “As you can see, UIC is anticipating the creation of rail transport services on long distances, linking continents and crossing an increasing number of borders and offering shippers and final customers a coherent level of reliability and quality all over the transport route”. He added: “as far as we are concerned, as a professional railway organisation, we are willing to contribute with all the potential of the rail sector to promote the creation of genuine seamless transport links and open a new era for a competitive rail transportation system on the intercontinental routes of the future”.

To conclude this fruitful conference, a Common Declaration was adopted in Tehran on 12 November 2014 between OTIF/UIC/ECO.

Among the points expressed, participants at the conference:

  • Emphasised the continued cooperation of ECO, OTIF and UIC and its significance to facilitate an promote the accession of the ECO Member States that are not parties to COTIF to this important instrument and recommended that capacity building programme may be organised for those ECO Member States who have already acceded to COTIF for full implementation and joining the Appendices of the Convention.
  • Recommended ECO and OTIF to continue their constructive cooperation to promote, improve and facilitate, in all respects, international traffic by rail, in line with the MoU signed between ECO & OTIF in 2009.
  • Recommended ECO and UIC to continue interacting in addressing various issues concerning international transport facilitation and removal of physical and non-physical barriers along ECO routes, in line with the MoU between the two organisations.
  • Expressed with satisfaction the completion of the Turkmenistan segment of the railway project between Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran (KTI) which will be inaugurated on 3 December 2014, and invited UIC, ECO, international organisations and all relevant stakeholders to facilitate and promote the establishment of the regular freight services along this route.
  • Stressed the importance of ECO rail transport corridors and infrastructure projects along these corridor envisaged in the ECO Railway Development Plan, invited the international organisations and all relevant stakeholders to actively participate in the partnership forum which is to be jointly organised by the ECO Secretariat and ECO Trade and Development Bank.

The complete Declaration is available here:

All the presentations are available here:

For further information please contact Paul Véron, Director, UIC Coordination for the Middle East:

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Dr. Mohsen Pour Seyed Aghaei, Vice Minister for Roads and Urban Development, President of the Railways of the I.R. of Iran (RAI
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of UIC
François Davenne, OTIF Secretary General