On 11 June the UIC Freight Department organised a full day dedicated to a vital issue involving all supply chain partners: Safe Loading.
After a strong and clear introduction given by the Freight Director Mr Hans Gunther Kersten the floor was given to Mr Jean-Francois Meunier, Chairman of the Safety System Management Group (SSMG) who led the whole workshop an unquestionable talent.
The workshop was organised into three different sessions:
The first session, entitled “State of the Art”, was aimed at highlighting the strong involvement and to present all the activities that UIC is steering on this fundamental topic within different platforms and departments.
Jean-François Meunier opened the session, presenting the railways as one of the safest modes of transport and the improvement of safety over the last 60 years. Nevertheless, he showed some examples of what can happen if safe loading is not put in place. He emphasised, within the existing regulatory frame, the importance of an integrated supply chain that must respect the highest level of safety in all its components as the risk is just around the corner. He expressed his concerns about the status of UIC loading rules and their translation into CEN Norms, and suggested finding a way to use them directly and officially through provisions in EU Regulations or ERA guidance.
Next, Francois Crelo, Chairman of the UIC Loading Rules Special Group, presented all the essential activities that UIC and its members are in charge of in the common interest of the railway community and all the supply chain. As shown in official communications published by different NSAs, UIC loading rules are often mentioned as the rules that must be applied. Mr Crelo showed some of these communications, underlining the importance of identifying the UIC safe loading rules as the official rules for the rail sector.
The first session was concluded by Eric Evtimov, Deputy Secretary General to the CIT (International Rail Transport Committee), who presented the current situation in the stakeholder liability of transport chains in Europe and in the rest of the world strongly supporting the application of UIC safe loading rules in a community that is growing massively day by day.
The second session on “How to promote safe loading best practices “, aimed to share and compare different experiences from different points of view in the supply chain in order to increase safety and quality level in the transport sector.
Mr. Josef Poecher from Rail Cargo Group opened the session sharing the experience and the vision of a big company that discusses its results every day, with the aim of continuous improvement.
The presentation of Laurent Bobille, Technical Office responsible within Rail Cargo Carrier Italy, showed how even a small Railway Undertaking considers safety and quality as its first priority. The products and customer satisfaction will then follow.
The third and last presentation of the session was delivered by Radim Procházka from ČD Logistics. The main message from this freight forwarder representative was the need to identify UIC loading rules as the official rules, as they are the basis for forwarders to address safe loading.
The third and final session on “Loading rules awareness worldwide” opened the discussion to other continents and to other transport modes.
Mr John Lutz, UIC Senior Advisor in a first stage, and Mr Adrian Ponton from PTV, later presented the situation in the USA and Australia sharing best practices and innovative ways of managing the processes linked to safe loading in the transport chain. Both agreed on the importance of unifying the supply chain in terms of world regions and transport modes.
In a second stage Mr Michael Yarwood from TT Club and Bill Brassington from ETS Consulting presented the points of views of other transport modes and supply chain players such as road transporters, maritime companies, insurance firms and intermodal operators. Both promoted a new global code of practice for packing cargo transport units (CTU Code), and openly asked for the support of UIC experts to develop the railway competences needed to reach high standards in their project.
At the end of this intense day, Jean-Francois Meunier concluded the workshop, summarising the information shared and the lessons learned.
- UIC loading rules are an essential component for a safe supply chain environment and operations
- It is important to promote their implementation and application by the stakeholders, including learning and advices to customers
- UIC loading rules have to become “railway loading rules” opened more widely to partners, UIC has to take the lead as a unique platform providing a benchmark, broad experience and sharing best practices
- Railway loading rules have to be officially applied and considered themselves as recommendations by EU regulations in the future, not via a copy/pasted CEN Norm
- Another global code of practices is being developed in the supply chain world and UIC has the chance to participate and play a main role in its definition in a global team to work, promote, and maintain the current high level of safety in rail transport
- UIC has to continue organising this kind of workshop