On 2 October Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director-General, met the executives of HŽ Holding group, led by Rene Valčić, on the eve of the conference on Rail Investment in South East Europe 2012. Present at the meeting were representatives of railway companies in the region: Dragan Savanović, General Director of the Railways of Republika Srpska, Nedžad Osmanagić, Chairman of the Board, General Director of the B-H Federal Railways with associates, the delegation of Slovenian Railways headed by Milan Jelenc, Assistant to the Director General and the delegation of Serbian Railways, headed by Predrag Janković, Executive Director for Infrastructure and Transport.
The regional rail executives informed UIC’s Director-General of the state of their companies, the problems with which they were faced when it came to investments in railway infrastructure and rolling stock. They discussed the importance of Pan-European Corridors X and Vc compared to all the railways in the region.
All the railway companies in the region are faced with low levels of infrastructure investments these last years, with old trains, locomotives and wagons, and a lack of necessary funds to speed up improvements in the railway sector. It was emphasised that joint initiatives and projects were necessary in order for these companies to position themselves on the market next to bigger and more developed railway systems. The railways were spoken of as a generator of national economies, and it was stated that the owners of the railways (the state) should understand the importance of the railways. The railways had the support of the European Union because railway transport was the most efficient, most feasible and ecologically most acceptable form of transport. Also discussed was the possibility that a joint position be implemented in the future procurement of trains, locomotives and wagons in order to achieve a better price.
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux emphasised that UIC would always be at the disposal of its members, addressing issues that were important for the railway system. Even though the economic crisis had coincided with the restructuring process of some of the railway companies in the region, coupled with severe underinvestment in the railway sector, Mr Loubinoux emphasised that the only way to go was to look to the future. If, for example, we take into consideration that Corridor X is a vital connection between Europe and Asia and that each year goods in the value of 600 billion dollars are exchanged between these two continents, of which only 1% is transported by rail, then there is a definite interest in all the countries present at the meeting to continue to invest in this important corridor and to take over a part of these transport activities – concluded the UIC’s Director-General.
(Source: HZ Holding)