European rail freight CEOs met in Paris on 22 May for their annual High-Level Meeting. The meeting addressed two key issues: the challenges of rail freight in the 21st century and wagon related topics.
In the presence of Olivier Onidi, Director of European Mobility Network at the European Commission, Freight CEOs explained the stringent economic and political context in which they have to grow rail’s market share and illustrated the reality they face with infrastructure bottlenecks, coordination of infrastructure works, path and capacity planning and allocation, ERTMS implementation, noise, cross border interoperability etc.
While these issues are being addressed at expert level via dedicated UIC initiatives and promoted by CER at political level through reminders of a need for a level playing field between modes, rail freight CEOs reaffirmed their commitment to support progress on these issues at the highest level level by establishing a CEO task force so as to ensure the necessary measures receive adequate endorsement for their implementation.
The High-Level Freight Meeting also offered a first-time opportunity for European rail freight CEOs to have a high-level exchange of views with wagon keeper CEOs (members of UIP) on two key topics: liability for damages caused by wagons and on the exchange of safety-related information in the context of digitalisation of transport. On the liability regime, rail freight CEOs were pleased to announce to UIP representatives the consensus they reached and on the basis of which joint work could be progressed.
Lastly, all European rail freight CEOs thanked Ferdinand Schmidt, Managing Director of ÖBB – Technical Services GmbH, following his decision to leave the chairmanship of the UIC Freight Forum and of the CER-UIC High-Level Freight Meeting after 10 years of extremely appreciated dedication. CEOs welcomed Reinhardt Bamberger, Member of the Board of ÖBB – Rail Cargo Group, as his successor.
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