Cooperation with UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
Recognising the importance of the UNECE efforts to develop Euro-Asian transport links, improve the efficiency of rail transport, facilitate border crossings in international carriage by rail, develop combined and intermodal carriage, handling of hazardous goods, OSJD has actively collaborated and participated in the work of the following UNECE Working Parties:
- on Rail Transport (SC.2);
- on Customs Questions affecting Transport (WP.30);
- on Intermodal Transport and Logistics (WP.24);
- on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (WP.15).
The OSJD Committee Chairman attended the 73rd session of the Inland Transport Committee (ITC UNECE), during which he informed the participants about the efforts made by OSJD to improve international carriage by rail, as well as about the work carried out by OSJD in collaboration with UNECE.
Productive areas of cooperation included the activities to bring the OSJD corridors in line with the requirements of the European Agreement on main international Railway Lines (AGC), as well as coordinated efforts to facilitate border crossings in international carriage by rail, within the scope of which a large-scale purposeful work was carried out to convene, under the UN auspices, the International Conference on Facilitation of Railway Border Crossing, and to develop Annex 9 ‘Facilitation of borders crossing procedures for international rail freight’ to the 1982 International Convention on the Harmonisation of Frontier Controls of Goods (as of November 30, 2011, Annex 9 entered into force).
For the same purpose, in 2007 the UN adopted for signature the new Convention on International Customs Transit Procedures for the Carriage of Goods by Rail under Cover of SMGS Consignment Notes. The issue of signing this Convention by the OSJD member countries still remains open and requires a respective resolution to be adopted by them.
In 2010, UNECE initiated the launch of ‘Towards Unified Railway Law’ activities. An informal expert group established under a resolution by the 63rd session of the UNECE Working Party on Rail Transport (SC2) drafted a position paper on the unification of railway law and forwarded it to all countries for consideration. Then, in November 2010, this document was reviewed and approved at the 64th Working Party (SC2) session. In February 2011, the 73rd ITC UNECE session approved this position paper and decided to establish a formal ‘Towards Unified Railway Law’ working group of experts.
In 2011, this group held two sessions at which an attempt was made to draft a policy document reflecting the will of countries to create a unified railway law.
In order to coordinate the work carried out by OSJD to harmonise and update the Rules for Transportation of Dangerous Goods (Annex 2 to SMGS) with the RID rules, an OSJD representative managing the work in this area attended in 2011 all sessions of the ITC UNECE Working Party on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (WP.15).
Cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
In the reporting period, cooperation with the UNESCAP continued on the following two joint projects:
- Project 1 ‘Planning and organisation of demonstration runs of container block trains along the Trans-Asian Railway Northern Corridor’;
- Project 2 ‘Operationalisation of Euro-Asian rail routes with particular reference to landlocked countries in Asia and Caucasus’ (Phase III).
In respect of Project 1, the KZH and MTZ representatives provided the information on the preparatory work for scheduling and subsequent passage of container block trains as they become ready.
It was noted that, in 2011, the railways involved – the Project 1 participants – did not perform any demonstration runs of container block trains.
In respect of Project 2, KZH, a leading duty holder, and experts of the railways concerned (RAI, KRG, TRK, UTI) in cooperation with Turkish Railways suggested that possibility be considered of organising a demonstration run of container trains along the Istanbul (Turkey) – Tehran – Tashkent – Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Bandar Abbas (Iran) – Almaty (Kazakhstan) routes. The KRG representatives suggested that a possibility of establishing a branch to the Kyrgyz railways be considered for these routes.
Cooperation with the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF)
Cooperation with OTIF dates back to 2002, when the joint ‘Common Standpoint’ document was signed by OSJD and OTIF.
This cooperation is based on the Parties’ participation in the development and improvement of two legal systems in the area of international carriage of passengers and goods across the Euro-Asian space.
For example, in 2011, representatives of OTIF participated in efforts to improve the SMPS, to improve railway services and develop the OSJD rail transport corridors, to work out measures aimed at facilitating border crossing in carriage across the Euro-Asian space, in the activities associated with the Rules for Transportation of Dangerous Goods.
OSJD attended meetings of the OTIF Commissions to facilitate rail services.
Cooperation with the European Railway Agency (ERAUnder the General Section of the OSJD working bodies’ 2011 Activity Plan, and within the framework of the OSJD Commission for Transport Policy and Development Strategy, four meetings of the OSJD/ERA Liaison Group were held to analyse interaction between the 1520/1524mm and 1435 mm gauge EU and non-EU railway systems.
In particular, such joint efforts had the following objectives at this stage:
- review of technical requirements as to the continued technical and operational compatibility between the 1520 mm and 1435 mm gauge railway systems at the border between the CIS and the EU;
- comparing these requirements with the key parameters of the 1435 mm railway system;
- drafting the materials (technical information) that might serve as a basis for including the key parameters of the 1520 mm railway system into the EU TSI;
- defining measures to preserve and improve the existing technical and operational compatibility at the border between the CIS and the EU;
The OSJD/ERA Liaison Group has finalised the following:
- Document 1 ‘Subsystem: infrastructure, rail track and track facilities’;
- Document 2 ‘Power supply’;
- Document 6 ‘Locomotives and railway vehicle rolling stock’.
The completed Documents 1, 2, and 6 are available at the OSJD website.
Work continued in the reporting period on Document 3 ‘Signals, interlocking, and communications’ and Document 5 ‘Coaches’.
Document 3 ‘Signals, interlocking, and communications’ is almost completed. This document will be finally approved at the first meeting to be held in 2012.
On October 19-20, 2011, a kick-off meeting was held of subgroups 1520 of the ERA working groups in respect of the ‘Infrastructure’, ‘Power supply’, and ‘Locomotives and railway vehicle rolling stock’ subsystems. These subgroups will start integrating the 1520 mm gauge system into the respective EU TSI on the basis of documents developed by the OSJD/ERA Liaison Group.
The Liaison Group has stressed that consistency of the Group composition had a positive impact on the Group’s operation and mission accomplishment.
Cooperation with the International Union of Railways (UIC)
By written agreement, the Conference of the OSJD General Directors on September 15, 2011, approved the Memorandum and the OSJD-UIC Cooperation Programme for 2011–2015.
These documents were approved by the UIC General Assembly on June 7, 2011
The Programme provides for cooperation in 13 areas and in various forms, from exchange of information and documentation to joint development. The key idea behind such collaboration is a global approach to the development of the Euro-Asian transport system with regard to the interests of railways, harmonisation of the rail transport operational and technical requirements. Representatives of the railway industry are also involved in this process in order to enhance interoperability and improve efficiency of rail transport.
In 2011, joint work was carried out on the unified system of cargo descrMPTion and coding in international carriage by rail, on technical requirements as to rolling stock, on clearances, on ticket reservation and sale systems, and on other issues.
The ‘Coding and IT’ UIC/OSJD Joint Group continued its successful activities.
At UIC’s suggestion, the Conference set up the joint OSJD/UIC group on the ‘Automatic Gauge Changeover Systems (AGCS)’ topic; at its first meeting held in November 2011, the group approved its activity plan and programme, as well as its regulations.
International Union of Railways (UIC)
Intergovernmental Organization for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF)