In the days 23-25 March, 2011 in the Clarion Congress Hotel Prague****, Czech Republic, the 3rd International Railway Freight Conference (IRFC) on the international freight transports between Europe and Asia has taken place. The conference has been organized by the company JERID, which is a member company of OLTIS Group, and was held under the patronage of the international organizations of UIC (International Union of Railways, Paris), OSJD (Organization for Cooperation of Railways, Warsaw), and CIFA (China International Freight Forwarders Association, Beijing).
The technical programme was divided into eight sessions according to the following subjects: 1. Introductory and Politic-Economic Aspects; 2. General and Legislative Environment for the Freight Transport; 3. Connecting European and Asian Worlds: International Organisations and Corridors; 4. Key Players: National Railways; 5. Business on Rail; 6. Supporting the Business: Interoperability, Information Technologies; 7. Intermodal Transport; 8. Key Players: Railways and Forwarders.
The conference was aimed for the specialists of the railway undertakings, carriers, forwarders, and above all for the users of the railway freight transport, i.e. for the customers of the railways. The contributions within the aforementioned rich programme were presented in two days by 44 speakers from 16 European and Asian countries, and were heard by 216 participants from 25 countries of the entire world. The most distant participants involve the 12 delegates from China, who contributed significantly to the programme with their papers. All the presentations were held in English, Russian, Chinese, and Czech, with the simultaneous interpretation.
The partners of the conference involved the following organizations: Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic; CIT (International Rail Transport Committee, Bern); OTIF, UNIFE (the Association of the European Rail Industry, Brussels); IBS (Community of European Rail Forwarders, Berlin); CCTT (Coordinating Council on Transsiberian Transportation, Moscow); BIC (Bureau International of Containers and Intermodal Transport, Paris); ACRI (Association of the Czech Railway Industry, Prague); ČD (Czech Railways); and SŽDC (the Czech infrastructure manager).
During the conference sessions, the accompanying exhibition in the adjoining hall presented 17 companies and organizations. On the eve of the conference, the UIC together with the organizing company arranged the UIC GTE Meeting (“Global Team of Experts”) focused to the Euro-Asian railway transports. It was a round table of presentations, innovations, and discussions leading to the solutions of the present problems with emphasis of the prospects of the future developments and collaboration in this area.
The conference programme involved also the ceremonial signature of the “Memorandum of understanding on railway transport cooperation”. The significant document has been signed by 15 signatories from the following organizations: Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic, UIC, OSJD, CIFA, UNIFE, CIT, OTIF, CCTT, Russian Railways, Kazakhstan Railways, SNCF, ČD Cargo, PKP Cargo, OLTIS Group, and JERID.
The accompanying social programme has presented the foreign guests the best of the Czech land: the Gala evening was hosted by Miss Czech Republic 2004 Jana Doleželová, the second evening brought an opportunity to visit a famous brew-house of Prague, U Fleku, and the third day was topped by a special steam train and the following visit of the royal castle of Karlštejn.
The final speech and acknowledgements for the participants was proclaimed by the President of the IRFC Steering Committee, Petr Kroča, during the closing cocktail held in the Government Lounge of the Prague main station. The participants of the IRFC 2011 conference has appreciated above all the high information value of the presentations within the technical sessions, and the opportunities to meet the leading managers and experts of the railway freight transport from many European and Asian countries. The next IRFC conference is planned to be held again Prague, in 2013, when the organizing company JERID will celebrate 20 years of a successful operation on the market.
More information on the conference can be found at http://www.irfc.eu/