In our world, where rail is the most sustainable way to transport goods, there are still a lot of challenges to actually move the majority of goods along Europe’s vast railway network. Capacity, safety, digitalization and innovation, such as the Digital Automatic Coupling System, are key areas that require collaboration of many players on the national, European and international level. At GATX Rail Europe, we understand the importance of active participation in railway and economic associations. Our participation in these organizations form a critical part of our commitment to the industry and to our clients. Let’s take a closer look at the organizations we’re part of to understand how our involvement benefits our clients and the railway industry.
Keeping Railcars Moving with UIP, UIRR, IBS, GCU, and EDDP/DAC4EU
These organizations guarantee standardized and efficient railcar operations across Europe and promote intermodal transport. GATX Rail Europe’s membership guarantees that its customers receive consistent and reliable information regarding rail transportation across Europe.
UIP advocates for greater recognition of wagon keepers’ role in the rail and logistics supply chain while promoting fair competition and long-term investment in rail freight wagons. Additionally, UIP fosters efficient information exchange and regulatory stability to support wagon interoperability and safety within a 25-35-year asset lifespan.
UIRR actively promotes Combined Transport, primarily towards European decision-makers, and facilitates the enhancement of the sector while also supporting the daily functioning of this ecologically and economically sustainable mode of long(er) distance freight transport.
International Rail Freight Business Association (IBS) advocates for the renewal of rail freight transport in Europe. The main objectives are to improve the performance of rail transport and to standardize and simplify the business and legal bases for the European rail freight transport.
GCU – A special mention goes to The General Contract of Use for Wagons (GCU), which is not an international or national organization but rather a multilateral agreement rooted in the international convention COTIF 1999 and Annex CUV. GCU delineates the reciprocal rights and responsibilities of Wagon Keepers and Railway Undertakings in the utilization of rail freight wagons for transportation across Europe and beyond.
EDDP/DAC4EU – The European consortium DAC4EU is putting the use of the digital automatic coupling in rail freight traffic to the test to bring efficient, competitive, and transparent rail freight transport in Europe. Six companies from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland were awarded a contract by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) to conduct a research project entitled ‘DAC Demonstrator for Rail Freight Traffic’ in June 2020. GATX Rail Europe is one of those and is actively involved in the European DAC Delivery Programme (EDDP).
Our CEO, Johann Feindert represents GATX Rail Europe and our clients interests in all of the organizations.: “They are essential to make sure that safety standards are kept at a high level while allowing for a competitive, innovative rail freight sector across Europe,” he says. I am honored to bring my expertise as a wagon keeper to these organizations and to push for advancements where I see they would benefit our sector.”
Safety and Standardization on National Level: Associations of Wagonkeepers
While UIP is the international umbrella organization of national wagon keepers organizations, GATX Rail Europe is also an active member in several national wagon keeper associations such as the VPI in Germany and Austria, the Dutch NVPG, the Polish SWP, and the French AFWP. These associations standardize railcar maintenance and safety practices. This benefits GATX Rail Europe’s customers by promoting the safety and reliability of the leased railcars. Our colleagues proactively enhance maintenance processes and help these associations set high standards with innovative practices. Our local experts participate in working groups of each of the associations, contributing to new standards in safety and maintenance.
Promoting Rail Transport in National Chambers of Commerce & Transport
GATX Rail Europe is also a member of many national groups within National Chambers of Commerce and Transport to foster economic cooperation and trade relationships, creating opportunities for customers to expand rail freight transport across Europe. We’re participating in groups organized to promote the modal shift towards rail and use these platforms for insights into the rail freight market and to network with the rail transport and logistics sector.
National Networking Platforms for Rail & Intermodal Transport
Speaking about networking to better service our customers: We are also participating in established and emerging exchange forums such as DVF, a multi-modal industry association for passenger and cargo transport in Europe; VNL, Austria’s business platform for logistics and supply chain management; Railvis/Railmarket, a digital market platform for the railway industry; the Suisse Association of the transporting businesses (VAP), the Italian ASSOFER, and the Hungarian MVMSZ, advocating for Rail and Intermodal Transport in Italy resp. Hungary. An important NGO in this context is Germany’s Pro Rail Alliance (Allianz pro Schiene). It unites 22 nonprofit organizations and more than 180 railway sector companies, which collaboratively aim at the promotion and improvement of rail traffic in Germany.
To explore the full scope of our association partnerships, please check out our comprehensive list of Associations. These collaborations, ranging from safety and standardization to economic cooperation and innovation, are integral to our mission of advancing the rail freight sector in Europe and ensuring top-quality services for our customers.