General context of the business activity

The main objectives of UIC freight department are:

  • Increase revenues of UIC members by improving the competitiveness of international products and services;
  • Reduce UIC member costs by harmonising international business, operational and information processes;
  • Develop freight corridors and reinforce confidence of customers in rail;

Reference to how the business is organised

  • Freight Forum and its study groups (Operation, Quality, IT, Wagon users, Combined Traffic) working on many permanent issues and projects.
  • The Global Team of experts has been reorganised to develop intercontinental corridors and increase rail traffic between continents.
  • Market-oriented issues are discussed between the railways and freight forwarders in the UIC-FIATA Permanent Contact Group.


  • Reinforcing UIC’s position as the major facilitator and neutral manager of multilateral cooperation in non-competitive areas among UIC members;
  • Organising knowledge transfer among members and from other industries with benchmarking, workshops, conferences;
  • Establishing permanent links with strategic partners in the supply chain (intermodal operators, freight forwarders).

Despite the continuous economic uncertainty, rail’s situation is getting better in some areas, clocking up market shares of 40% and more (that is the case in china, india, australia, south africa and the united states). in usa and russia the all amount of transported goods is above pre-crisis levels. further growth in rail freight will however depend on the ability of companies to continue to invest in infrastructure and to increase their efficiency and to provide optimum responses to their customers’ requirements: through the quality, simplicity and transparency of their services, pricing (in particular in international traffic), information systems harnessing the potential of electronic commerce and development of partnerships between operators and customers for special transport operations.

Key challenges facing this business

Interoperability and cooperation:
intramodal in terms of technology / administration / law / operations
but also intermodal connectivity
Productivity: train length and weight, capacity utilization
Integration with customers and information transparency

Achievements to be highlighted

  • Global Rail Freight Conference
  • Benchmarking heavy and long trains


  • Market Intelligence 2012, report on Combined Transport