Tuesday 8 December 2015
Railway Freight

Members of the UIC ECCO project meet Rail Freight Corridor Management Board representatives in Vienna on the eve of the EU Rail Freight Days

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On 3 December 2015, the spokespersons of the Rail Advisory Groups (RAGs) of the nine EU Rail Freight Corridors met the representatives of the Rail Freight Corridor Management Boards (RFCs). The meeting welcomed 30 participants.

These meetings initiated by the UIC ECCO project (http://www.uic.org/Corridors#Rail-Freight-Corridors-ECCO) one year ago are designed to find a pragmatic way forward and agree on an efficient cooperation to progress key issues of harmonisation needed for the development of international rail freight. Railway Undertakings (RUs) are convinced that if a close collaboration with RFCs takes place at an early enough stage, processes meeting the expectations and constraints of both parties can be developed more easily.

The focus of the meeting was put on the following issues: Corridor One Stop Shop (C-OSS), Cross Border Interoperability, Capacity Management and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for which concrete action was jointly agreed.

Regarding the urgent question of cross border interoperability, and the language aspect in particular, the need for a quick workable solution, hence to allow current proven safe and efficient practices to continue, was promoted by Mr Vircondelet, SNCF, RAG Spokesperson for RFC2, and endorsed by all.

At the request of the RFCs, UIC also presented the CEO Task Force.

It was explained that the so called “Freight CEO Task Force” is chaired by Mr Bamberger, Board Member of Rail Cargo Group, Chairman of the UIC Freight Forum and UIC-CER High Level Freight.

The aim of the Task Force is to give high level support to issues of key importance to rail freight. Besides evolving in a fiercely competitive context, the increasing burden put on rail freight operators by EU safety and interoperability legislations is seriously impacting the business. This is what triggered nine CEOs to ground the Task Force whose technical work is coordinated by UIC whilst the political activities are managed by CER.

17 issues were identified and clustered in four groups: corridor related – rail operation – interoperability – innovation.
While some of these issues are already being addressed at expert level via dedicated working groups or projects such as ECCO, they however need high level endorsement for adequate progress towards implementation.

A high priority status was given to the following topics:

  • ETCS
  • Short distance cross border interoperability
  • Construction works
  • International authorisation of rolling stock.

A first exchange on the priority topics between the CEOs and DG Move Director-General Henrik Hololei took place at a side meeting of the European Commission Rail Freight Days in Vienna.

For further information please contact Sandra Géhénot: gehenot@uic.org

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Reinhard Bamberger, Member of the Board of Rail Cargo Austria AG, Chairman of UIC Freight Forum