The International Union of Railways (UIC)

In our last lesson, while we were talking about containers, pallets and their optimum size, came to my mind the freight train transport because of its importance in our globalised system.

Therefore, I would like to introduce the International Union of Railways, which was created on 20 October 1922, with the aim of standardising industry practices.

Its mission is “to promote rail transport at world level and meet the challenges of mobility and sustainable development.” The objectives that UIC are following are the next:

  • Facilitate the sharing of best practices among members (benchmarking)
  • Support members in their efforts to develop new business and new areas of activities
  • Propose new ways to improve technical and environmental performance
  • Promote interoperability, create new world standards for railways (including common standards with other transport modes)
  • Develop centres of competence (High Speed, Safety, Security, e-Business, …)

Another interesting part is the Rail Freight Corridors (RFCs), which are following to meet these three main challenges:

  • strengthening co-operation between Infrastructure Managers on key aspects such as allocation of paths, deployment of interoperable systems and infrastructure development;
  • finding the right balance between freight and passenger traffic along the RFCs, giving adequate capacity for freight in line with market needs and ensuring that common punctuality targets for freight trains are met;
  • promoting intermodality between rail and other transport modes by integrating terminals into the corridor management process.

In the next picture, we can see the map of the RFCs’ connections in the year 2016.


In conclusion, in this globalised world, it is very important to create a global and standard system in order to meet the global demand for the freight train operations and increase the efficiency more and more.

Ps: I leave you this video where explains The International Freight Corridors, as a potential solution to the growth demand for the future and as an alternative to the sea transport.



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