Operational and technical innovations for the South-Eastern European Rail Freight Corridor successfully implemented

The CREAM project has reached the home stretch with today’s Conference at the Royal Academy in Brussels

On behalf of the CREAM consortium, the UIC succeeded in inviting and registering 120 participants (among them the European Commission, national transport ministries and vital players of the European logistics sector) with the conference offering the opportunity of an exclusive one-day insight into this European rail freight research project, summarising the results and achievements on rail freight logistics on the corridor from Western Europe across South-East Europe to Greece and Turkey.

For four years, the work led by the German consultancies HaCon and KombiConsult has involved developing and implementing concepts ranging from innovative telematic solutions to new rail services. The partners delivered a comprehensive catalogue of technical and operational recommendations to a broad audience from all over Europe.

The CREAM project, with the involvement of Central and South-Eastern infrastructure managers, railway undertakings, carriers and shippers, has led to remarkable service and quality improvements. Although the rail freight sector had been challenged by the economic situation, increased transport volumes were achieved, resulting in a modal shift of 950 million tonne-kilometres in 2010. Altogether in the last four years, 2.2 billion tonne-kilometres, corresponding to 115,000 truckloads, have been shifted to rail services. Based on the specifications of the Marco Polo Programme, the respective CO2 savings are 145,000 tonnes and the external benefits come to around 44 million Euro.

Today the project partners have formally signed a Management Commitment, in which they agree to follow and maintain a common quality management system to fix and ease internal and external processes, and clearly define interfaces.

One remarkable outcome is cutting the total travel time on the corridor e.g. on the Bosporus Europe Express line connecting Ljubljana and Istanbul in 40 – 50 hours, with the train becoming faster than the truck. The CREAM project paved the way for further developments to the rail network to South-East Europe. New connections are now in operation such as Antwerp to Sopron in Hungary as well as extensions of the existing corridor to Greece and a seamless multimodal service linking Turkish ports via ferry and rail shuttle to Germany.

New train concepts were put on track allowing freight trains to compete with road. In order to transport copper anodes between Bulgaria and the biggest copper manufacturer in Europe based in Belgium, rolling stock was changed and new loading schemes were developed. Simple but innovative changes turned out to be a success story.

The CREAM partners have been taking a holistic approach to freight transport services on the important South-Eastern corridor. All aspects of the railway business were taken into account. Border crossing procedures were analysed, the weak points identified and bottlenecks removed. Traction schemes involving multi-system locomotives were introduced. Other rolling stock innovations such as a semi-trailer (FLOATRAILER) developed to transport plate glass on rails and roads, and an easy system (ISU) to also load non-craneable semitrailers on conventional pocket wagons are to be highlighted. With operational measures and due to the implemented “STRING-OF-PEARLS” concept, with terminals being managed like pearls on a string, freight trains have achieved a punctuality rate of 90 %. This has been supported by innovative IT solutions for real-time tracking and tracing (Train Monitor System, NavMaster GPS-Devices).

This systematic and collaborative approach to meet the challenges has enabled the CREAM partners to ensure the freight sector on this corridor remains competitive and stays successful.

For more information please contact Enno Wiebe: wiebe@uic.org

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UIC participated in the OSCE-supported meeting of Euro-Asian Transport Links Expert Group (Tashkent, 1st November)

The Euro-Asian Transport Links Expert Group was held in Tashkent on 1st November aiming to improve the co-ordination of transport development across the Eurasian region. The meeting was opened by Mr Shavkat Tulyaganov, Deputy Minister for Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade in Uzbekistan.

More than 50 participants from 10 countries and representatives of international organizations took part in this Euro-Asian Transport Links Expert Group meeting organized by Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investment and Trade and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to advance dialogue on transport facilitation and security in the region. The OSCE and the UNECE have long co-operated in this field and plan to publish a joint Handbook of best practices at border crossings. The two organizations also will co-organize an Inter-Regional Workshop on Developing Euro-Asian Transport Links on 7-8 December in Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan.

Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director-General, who participated in this meeting, presented UIC as the association of all the Railway Undertakings around the world, essentially acting as a technical platform and promoting the development of rail transport through three kinds of activities:

  • Managing study projects in the fields of freight, passenger, systems integration, interoperability, etc;
  • Developing global issues in terms of security, safety, sustainability, standardisation and freight corridors;
  • Working with financial or official institutions such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Investment Bank, as well as the United Nations – where UIC has had observer status since 1945 – and more particularly UNECE and OSCE.

As part of studies already carried out on facilitating links between Europe and Asia through the North-South Corridors and the Silk Road, UIC also works on matters such as capacity development, gauge interchange issues, logistical hubs and port hinterland traffic. Mr Loubinoux added: “I will follow with great interest answers to growing needs of the international mobility of goods and people. The 21st century will see the improvement of rail transport as a spur to regional economic and social progress and a boost to inter-regional gains”.

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A Memorandum of Understanding signed between UIC and the Open Travel Alliance (OTA)

Initially at the request of AMTRAK (American Railways), the UIC Technical group established contacts with OTA (Open Travel Alliance).

OTA is a U.S. based not-for-profit trade association, founded in 1999 by travel companies, with a primary focus on the creation of standard XML messages to facilitate communication between the disparate systems in the global travel industry. It has member companies representing the airlines, hotels, distribution service providers and travels industries, etc.

Those contacts have recently led to a Memorandum of Understanding being signed between UIC and OTA.

The MoU defines the reciprocal right to take part in each other’s working groups.
Concretely, UIC is now participating in a 10-month collaborative project together with, among others, the Chinese Railways and AMTRAK, which will define a set of generic electronic messages (XML schemas) that are closely aligned with common rail industry business functionality, especially for reservation and booking processes.

UIC’s interest in this cooperation is to have its own XML messages become a worldwide standard, given that the current OTA’s catalogue is well developed for other transport modes, but not for rail.

For more information please contact Fabrice Setta: setta@uic.org

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Next meetings scheduled

  • 15 November 2018 Safety Platform Plenary meeting UIC HQ PARIS
  • 15-16 November 2018 Global Debate on Mobility Challenges for the Future Society Warsaw, Poland
  • 15 November 2018 UIC Asia-Pacific Freight Corridors Workshop on Interoperability & Standards Bangkok, Thailand
  • 16 November 2018 UIC Asia-Pacific Future Projects Seminar Bangkok, Thailand
  • 16 November 2018 16th Asia-Pacific Management Committee Bangkok, Thailand
  • 16 November 2018 26th UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly Bangkok, Thailand
  • 22-23 November 2018 RSF Steering Board Paris, UIC HQ
  • 22 November 2018 Statistics Plenary Meeting UIC-Paris
  • 5 December 2018 Africa Regional Assembly UIC HA Paris
  • 6 December 2018 4th UIC Digital Conference UIC HQ, Paris
  • 6 December 2018 European Management committee Paris
  • 6 December 2018 27th European Regional Assembly Paris
  • 7 December 2018 Executive Board Paris
  • 7 December 2018 93rd General Assembly Paris
  • 4-5 April 2019 Talent and Expertise Development Platform Vienna, Austria
  • 17-19 April 2019 Asset Management Global Conference UIC HQ, Paris
  • 8-9 May 2019 Freight Forum Vienna
  • 16-18 May 2019 TopRail Forum Naples
  • 9-11 October 2019 5th World Congress on Rail Training Rabat, Morocco

UIC e-News Legal Editor: Marie Plaud-Lombard
Coordination: Helen Slaney
Editorial team: UIC e-News Team, Paris 4 November 2010

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