XLV session of OSJD Ministers Conference (MC)
XLV session of the OSJD Ministerial Council
From 5 till 8 June 2017 the city of Sochi (Russian Federation) hosted session XLV of the OSJD Ministerial Meeting, which was attended by the ministers and authorised representatives of ministries and bodies responsible for railway transport in following OSJD member countries: Republic of Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Republic of Belarus, Republic of Bulgaria, Hungary, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Georgia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, People’s Republic of China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Latvia, Republic of Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Republic of Poland, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Republic of Uzbekistan, Czech Republic, Republic of Estonia.
The session was attended by the representatives of OSJD observer - FPC JSC, OSJD affiliated enterprises – PLASKE JSC and Association of Transport High Schools, as well as OSJD Committee. The invited guests from the following international organisations were also present: UNECE Inland Transport Committee, Eurasian Economic Commission (EaEC), Directorate General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission (DG MOVE), Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF), International Railway Transport Committee (CIT), International Union of Railways (UIC), as well as the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Korea.
The session of the OSJD Ministerial Council was chaired by the Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation Maxim Sokolov, and the functions of the Session Secretary were performed by the OSJD Committee Chairman Tadeusz Szozda.
Opening the plenary session on 7 June 2017, the Chairman of the session delivered a welcome address from Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, in which it was noted that OSJD had made a great contribution to the traffic development between Europe and Asia for its more than 60 years of activities. OSJD has done a lot to ensure that the transport infrastructure on the continent meets modern requirements, helped to establish integration ties, and increase export potential.
Dmitry Medvedev noted that in the sphere of OSJD's most attention has been always been the quality of passenger service and technical issues that directly affect interoperability and security in international railway transport. In addition, the MC session agenda included issues related to further improvement and harmonisation of the legal and regulatory framework, introduction of intelligent transport systems and innovative technologies, increasing trade turnover, and, of course, specific proposals to simplify administrative procedures when crossing the state borders.
The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation expressed his confidence that during the MC session, which only for the second time is held in Russia for the whole long history of OSJD’s existence, the participants would be able to exchange experience and agree on new, mutually beneficial projects.
In his speech Maxim Sokolov, Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation, noted that last year OSJD celebrated its 60th anniversary and over the years it has become one of the most important and influential international transport organisations, within which necessary conditions have been established for the transportation of passengers and goods in the single legal area from Europe to South-East Asia.
The legal, financial and technological issues of international railway traffic are successfully tackled by the joint efforts of the participating countries.
Meanwhile, to solve the problems facing the railway industry, there is a need to attract new members to the Organisation in order to provide all participants of the transport market with a wide range of advantages.
The Minister of Transport noted that the city of Sochi was not chosen accidentally as a venue for this OSJD high-level forum, as it is one of the economic, cultural and sport centers of the country, an important transport hub not only of the region, but of the whole country, as well. He dwelled on the progress achieved in the development of transport infrastructure in the region of Sochi during the preparation for the Winter Olympic Games in 2014.
Maxim Sokolov dwelt on the issues of strategic development of the transport industry in the Russian Federation, where, in accordance with the Transport Strategy of the Russian Federation, it is envisaged to minimise the transportation costs in the economy, implement the competitive advantages of each region, including existing and planned “points of economic growth”, create equal opportunities for the Russian citizens, regardless of their residence place, in the realization of their social and economic rights, reduce inter-regional differences in the level and quality of life of the population. All these effects can be provided by the railway transport, stressed the Minister.
Positioning of OSJD as an Euro-Asian structure and its close cooperation with the UN Regional Commissions for Europe, Asia and the Pacific (UNECE, UNESCAP) is directed to establish an effective and competitive system of Euro-Asian transport links.
The Minister of Transport also dwelled on such important areas of the Russian railway transport industry development as the modernisation of the Baikal-Amur (BAM) and Transsib railway lines, expansion of railway approaches to the ports of the Azov-Black Sea basin, development of railway infrastructure in the North-West direction and the North-South corridor, the railway infrastructure of the Moscow transport hub - Moscow Central Ring (MCK), fast and high-speed railway traffic, transport connections to the regions of Russia, including the Arctic region, development of passenger railway transportation in Russia in 2016, work on a new Convention on the facilitation of border crossing procedures for passengers, luggage and load-luggage carried in international traffic by rail, progress of the International Conference on the adoption of the text of the Convention on Direct International Railway Traffic and other issues.
The Minister drew particular attention onto the railway support of the Confederations Cup 2017, noting that for the first time free trains are organised for the supporters to travel to the venue of the matches and back.
In the conclusion, Maxim Sokolov expressed his hope that OSJD will continue to play the leading role in the organisation of railway traffic in the Euro-Asian area, responding promptly to external and internal changes in the field of rail transport, and will provide necessary conditions for the development of transport systems of current and future Organisation’s members.
Noting the results of the OSJD activities over the past year, Chairman of the OSJD Committee Tadeusz Szozda drew particular attention to the significant contribution of the Russian Federation and Russian Railways into the activities of the Organisation, into the development of the international railway transport, including combined and contrailer, in the Europe – Asia service, and into the railway transport competitiveness growth.
The OSJD Ministerial Conference noted the implementation of the OSJD Work Programme and Work Plans for 2016 and approved the following documents:
- “Report on the OSJD Activities for 2016”,
- “Report of the OSJD Auditing Commission for 2016”,
- “OSJD Programme of Work for 2018 and the subsequent years” in the field of transport policy, development strategy, transport law and general section,
- OSJD Committee Budget: final – for 2017 and preliminary – for 2018.
The work results for 2016 of the OSJD Commission on Transport Policy and Development Strategy and the OSJD Commission on Transport Law were approved.
In connection with the OSJD expanding cooperation with other international governmental and non-governmental organisations and the involvement of new OSJD members, which significantly expanded the use of the English language in OSJD, the Ministerial Conference instructed the OSJD Committee to prepare and submit to the OSJD governing bodies in 2018 the proposals regarding possible ways and alleged financial costs to resolve this issue.
When considering the results of work on the transport policy and development strategy, the following decisions have been taken:
- to take note of the information “On the progress of the implementation of the Comprehensive plans for traffic improvement and development of OSJD railway transport corridors No. 1, 2 and 3 through 2020”;
- to approve the implementation of measures for further development of the railway infrastructure and to attract additional volumes of cargo for certain sections of the railway transport corridors;
- to report in 2018 to the OSJD Ministerial Council session about the “Progress in the implementation of Comprehensive plans for traffic improvement and development of OSJD railway transport corridors No. 5, 7 and 10 through 2020”;
- after signing the Memorandum on Cooperation in the Field of Technical, Operational and Commercial Development of OSJD Railway Transport Corridor No. 10 by the participating parties, the one dated 2016 will be considered ineffective;
- to hold an additional expert meeting of the OSJD Commission on Transport Policy and Development Strategy on the subject “Development and implementation of integrated measures for traffic improvement and development of OSJD railway transport corridors” in the OSJD Committee from 3 till 6 October 2017 in order to discuss the following issues:
- consideration of proposals for introducing changes and amendments to the text of a typical Memorandum on Cooperation in the field of technical, operational and commercial development of the OSJD railway transport corridor;
- implementation progress of the provisions of the Memoranda on Cooperation in the field of technical, operational and commercial development of OSJD railway transport corridors No. 1-13, including coordination bodies of the corridor;
- OSJD member countries should:
- continue working towards the implementation of the provisions of the Memoranda on Cooperation in the field of technical, operational and commercial development of OSJD railway transport corridors, including possible interaction with the European Union freight corridors and the Trans-Asian Railway network;
- promote practical implementation of the provisions of Annex 9 “Facilitation of border crossing procedures in international railway transport” to the International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods (1982);
- promote the implementation of the Declaration of the VIII-th International Inter-Agency Meeting of the OSJD Member Countries “Practice of Border Crossing by Rail” (22-23 September 2015, Republic of Poland, Gdansk);
- take note of the decision of the 79th UNECE ITC session regarding the work on the draft new Convention on Facilitation of the Crossing of Frontiers in the International Carriage of Passengers, Luggage and Load-Luggage;
- to confirm if the work of the concerned OSJD member countries on the draft new Convention on Facilitation of the Crossing of Frontiers in the International Carriage of Passengers, Luggage and Load-Luggage is expedient to be continued, which will meet new requirements and will represent an independent international treaty in full.
In the field of transport law, decisions have been taken to:
- continue the work aimed at improving SMPS and Service Instruction (SI) to SMPS, SMGS and SI to SMGS;
- complete the development of a “Document regulating the issues related to the personnel of the entities involved in the international passenger transport”;
- to continue work on the draft amendments and modifications into the SMGS Agreement and SI to SMGS regulating the use of electronic documents for the carriage of goods in the international freight traffic;
- recommend to the Parties to the SMGS Agreement to take measures to promptly agree on amendments and modifications into Appendix 2 to SMGS “Rules for the Transportation of Dangerous Goods”, taking into account the interests of all Parties to the Agreement;
- continue the development of the provisions of technical conditions for the stowing and fastening of goods in wagons of 1520-mm gauge, as well as in containers for the carriage by railways of all SMGS participants;
- continue the work in 2017 aimed at improving Annex 6 to the CIM/SMGS Consignment Note Manual within the framework of the CIM/SMGS Transport and Legal Harmonisation Project, to further facilitate the wider introduction of the CIM/SMGS consignment note when carrying goods on the railway network;
- take note of the information regarding the introduction into effect of amendments and modifications into SMPS and SI to SMPS as of 1 May 2017 as well as amendments and modifications into SMGS as of 1 July 2017;
- include into the Rules for the Issuance and Use of OSJD Service and Single-Use Free Tickets (Leaflet O 111) the data concerning the OSJD member from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in connection with its request;
- inform about the OSJD members’ compliance with the provisions of Leaflet O 111 “Rules for the Issuance and Use of OSJD Service and Single-Use Free Tickets” at session XLVI of the OSJD Ministerial Conference.
The session took note of the information “On the results of the International Conference for the adoption of the text of the Convention on Direct International Railway Traffic”, in which it was noted that the first session of the International Conference on the Adoption of the text of the Convention was held from 14 till 18 November 2016 in Warsaw (Poland), which was attended by the delegations from 21 OSJD member countries, as well as representatives of the Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of Korea, European Union, OTIF, CIT and OSJD Committee.
The session agenda included the organisational issues and, inter alia, the issues connected with the approval of the Rules of Procedure of the International Conference on the Adoption of the Convention, election of the conference officials (chairman and his deputies), and the discussion of the main text of the draft Convention. In the course of long discussions, ending repeatedly with voting procedures, the session considered and approved the Rules of Procedure for the International Conference on the Adoption of the Convention.
Following the approved Rules, the Conference elected Mr. Sergey Aristov (State Secretary - Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation) as Chairman of the Conference, and Mr. Liu Keqiang (Deputy Head of the State Administration for Railways of the People’s Republic of China) as Deputy Chairman and Ms. Skszydlo Justyna (Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Construction of the Republic of Poland) as Deputy Chairperson of the Conference. Basing on the discussion, the session unanimously agreed with the proposal of the Chairman of the Conference to postpone the discussion of the text of the Convention for Session II.
The II-nd session of the International Conference to adopt the Convention on Direct International Railway Traffic, held in Warsaw from 27 till 31 March 2017, assembled the delegations from 22 OSJD member countries. Present at the session were also representatives from the European Union, Republic of Korea, OTIF and OSJD Committee. As a result of credentials’ verification the right for the decision-making vote was granted to 21 delegations.
During the session, the text of the preamble and articles 1-21 of the draft Convention was considered and adopted
The delegation of the People’s Republic of China suggested that the article “Terminology” be added to the draft Convention. To this end, a working group was established, which was commissioned to develop a draft article “Terminology” till 29 September 2017.
The Conference decided to hold its III-rd in Warsaw Session from 27 November till 1 December 2017, where it is planned to consider the next articles of the text of the Convention, and also approved the preliminary date for the IV-th Session of the Conference, having defined it for 26-30 March 2018.
When considering the issue of preparation of recommendations on general approaches in the field of professional training of personnel, the Ministerial Conference has decided to:
- approve the Progress Report of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Vocational Training/Education on Railway Transport for March 2016 – March 2017;
- support the Recommendations developed by the participants to the OSJD High-Level Seminar “Challenges and New Opportunities for Staff Training in the Field of International Railway Transport in the 21st Century” (14-15 February 2017, Republic of Poland, Warsaw).
The Ministerial Conference has entrusted the AWG to:
- continue its work towards the development of common approaches and methodology in the field of OSJD-organised vocational training/education in the field of railway transport in regard to the application of OSJD documents, basing on the minimum requirements for the qualification of personnel in the railway sector;
- develop draft programmes of standard training, advanced training and staff education in regard to the application of OSJD documents;
- work out the issue on the development of proposals for the creation of OSJD system on voluntary international accreditation of educational organisations and certification of training programmes;
- continue the preparation of terminology in the field of vocational training/ education of personnel as regards the application of OSJD documents;
- continue the preparation of proposals for the OSJD Glossary jointly with the OSJD Commission on Transport Policy and Development Strategy;
- work out proposals if creation of an OSJD specialised body on education and training in the field of railway transport is expedient;
- start working on the creation of the OSJD Internet resource to popularise the issues of vocational training/education in the field of railway transport;
- prepare proposals for pilot training projects in the field of practical application of OSJD documents.
The OSJD Committee has been entrusted to:
- organise a seminar/conference on this subject on a regular basis with the invitation of all concerned organisations;
- hold talks on the OSJD platform with other interested international organisations with the purpose to work out joint training programmes of education (advanced vocational training) for the organisation of multimodal and combined transport, giving special attention to the development of Euro-Asian transport links.
The Ministerial Conference adopted a tentative provisional agenda of session XLVI of the OSJD Ministerial Conference which will include the following issues:
- Report on OSJD Activities for 2017.
- Report of the OSJD Auditing Commission for 2017.
- The results of work of the OSJD Commission on Transport Policy and Development Strategy for 2017.
- The results of work of the OSJD Commission on Transport Law for 2017.
- Progress of the International Conference on the adoption of the text of the draft Convention on Direct International Railway Traffic.
- Information from the OSJD Committee Chairman on the progress of the UNECE work “Towards Unified Railway Law in the Pan-European Region and in the Euro-Asian Transport Corridors”.
- Work progress of the AWG on vocational training/education in the field of railway transportation.
- OSJD Programme of Work for 2019 and subsequent years.
- Status of membership fees payment.
- The OSJD Committee Budget (final – for 2018, preliminary – for 2019).
- Distribution of posts in the OSJD Committee managerial board, chairmen/chairpersons and specialists in OSJD working bodies, starting from 1 July 2018.
- Appointment of the OSJD Committee managerial board.
- Draft provisional agenda, venue and date of session XLVII of the OSJD Ministerial Conference.
The participants to session XLV of the OSJD Ministerial Conference gratefully accepted the invitation of the Kyrgyz Republic and decided to hold their XLVI-th session in Kyrgyzstan from 5 till 8 June 2018.
Decisions taken during MC session XLV are aimed at further development of railway transport in all OSJD member countries, increasing its efficiency and competitiveness, as well as strengthening cooperation and mutual trust between all railway administrations for the prosperity of all states.