Market Place Seminar successfully held in Vienna

The International Union of Railways (UIC) and the International Freight Forwarders’ Association (FIATA) successfully opened the 5th edition of the Market Place Seminar entitled “Intercontinental corridors – New opportunities for Rail Freight?”, with the support of Rail Cargo Group, IBS and Zentralverband Spedition und Logistik, on 18 April in Vienna.

Mr Elmar Wieland, formerly Chairman of the Board of Schenker & Co AG, Vienna, and Moderator of Market Place Seminar 2013 welcomed around 100 participants from over 20 countries including railway undertakings, freight forwarders and customers.

The first day of the seminar was opened by Dr Ivan Petrov of the FIATA-UIC Contact Group and Co-Chairman FIATA; Mr Miklos Kopp, UIC Freight Director; Mr Harald Bollmann, Honorary President of the Zentralverband Spedition & Logistik; and Dr Georg Kasperkovitz, Member of the Board, Rail Cargo Austria AG, Member of Rail Cargo Group.

During the inaugural session, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, delivered a video message underlining that “UIC was very keen to extend the scope of the Market Place Seminars from a largely European dimension to a more global perspective. Currently, as the new UIC Chairman, Mr Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways, addressed members of the UIC General Assembly last December to give the strategic orientations for our association for the years to come. He particularly focused on the objective “Developing intercontinental transport corridors” as one of the main strategic areas for UIC’s action. As for other strategic areas, UIC’s action will require members’ involvement, integration and innovation.”

During the First Session on “South-East Corridors”, Dr Ivan Petrov, General Manager of Trans Express, focused on South East European Logistics by ferry links to CIS countries, in particular passing through the city of Varna in Bulgaria, which is the major link between Europe and Russia with ferry lines across the Black Sea and a direct route to Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and Turkey. From a legal perspective, it becomes more complicated to continue to eastern countries because of the various railway bills and political issues. This represented a major example of co-modality – the tendency to optimise and combine the use of different modes of transport in order to propose co-modal solutions that meet customer needs, including door-to-door deliveries.

Mr Ulrich Sontheim then took the floor to present the Intermodal Sector of DB Schenker, which focuses on operators, and whose core activity is purely trans-shipment. He gave the example of Turkey: most intermodal volumes towards Turkey run via Trieste with short sea/ferry connections, with a second route running through Ljubljana’s hub. Thanks to the new Marmara Tunnel project and new development projects, direct service and integrated products will be achieved.

During the second session of the day, “New business perspectives in Europe – Asian traffic”, Mr Gennady Bessonov, CCTT Secretary General, introduced the CCTT which aims to attract transit and foreign trade to the Transsiberian route. The forecast of cargo transport volumes via the TSR is expected to grow from 638.2 thsd TEU to 941.6 thsd TEU by 2020.

Then Mr Imre Kovács, CEO of Rail Cargo Hungaria Zrt., highlighted the opportunity that exists in Russia and China for developing transmodality, and expressed the need for strong partnerships with Russian Railways.

Mr Ralf-Charley Schultze, Multimodal Logistics Director at Gefco, one of the creators of the Market Place Seminar six years ago, reminded participants that the aim was to bring the stakeholders together to find the best possible solutions. There is huge and growing need for multimodal products and partners in the eastern area. There are lots of challenges as we know that most cargo from China to Russia is transported by sea freight – even cargo from western parts of China to central & eastern parts of Russia, where you would expect transport costs and transit times by rail to be lower.

On Friday 19 April, the Market Place Seminar went on to address the following subjects:

Future development of railway policy in Europe: with the CLECAT point of view and European Forwarders’ position towards current EU rail transport market policy, addressed by Mrs Nicolette van der Jagt, Director General of CLECAT. The need for political support to attract rail freight services by Mr Paul Steijns, Chairman of Railway Transport Council (RTC) of European Shippers’ Council (ESC). The question of railway liberalisation: a successful story? explained by Dr István Fullér, CEO BILK Kombiterminál Co. Ltd., Member of Rail Cargo Group.

Finally the issue of intermodal and distribution solutions with the case of the Turkey-Ukraine Bridge for the Baltic Region was addressed by Mr Ivan Liptuga, Vice-President of PLASKE JSC; latest developments of the Danube waterways and possible future investments by Mr Botond Szalma, Managing Director of Plimsoll Ltd.; Mr Sassan Rabet, CEO of Xrail talked about the transparent quality network and Mr László Mosóczi, Chairman of Hungrail concluded the seminar with the Eastbound rail freight potential through Hungary via Záhony.
Participants also had the opportunity to visit the Tri Modal Terminal in Vienna’s Freudenau Terminal.

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