Press releases

UIP Symposium 2018 ‒ Turning Digitalisation into Performance

In the framework of its 68th General Assembly UIP held a symposium on TURNING DIGITALISATION INTO PERFORMANCE on 24th of May at Palais Ferstel in Vienna. The Symposium brought together more than 100 high level representatives of wagon keepers, railway undertakings, shippers, policy makers and national associations from all over Europe. It offered the opportunity to openly discuss and exchange views with the European Commission, Shift2Rail and national authorities about strategic aspects of digitalisation and the necessity to identify common priorities for rail freight to embrace digitalisation and become more competitive.
“Bringing the rail freight sector with its very diverse but mutually interdependent actors into the digital age is both the challenge and gigantic opportunity of our times” stated Dr. Heiko Fischer, UIP President and continued “the spirit of Vienna will translate into more joint projects and initiatives moving rail freight forward.”
In times of fierce competition within the national and international freight transport market, it is of essence for the rail freight sector to increase its cost-efficiency, flexibility and reliability. In this context, digitalisation was seen not only as an enabler towards these objectives but also as a necessity to make rail easier, develop multimodality, new services and meet customers’ demands. Introducing new realities and completely redesigning the processes are the key elements all rail freight actors will have to address together.


Ljubljana Declaration on MFF Transport Campaign


More EU budget for Transport from UIP Rail on Vimeo. Transport coalition hands over declaration calling for more EU budget for transport to European Commissioner Oettinger on 27 April 2018 during TEN-T days in Ljubljana

UIP and more than 40 European associations representing transport, infrastructure managers, operators, contractors, local and regional authorities, logistics service providers, shippers, users and equipment suppliers in the maritime, inland waterways, railways, road, cycling, aviation and intermodal sectors, as well as supporting industries and companies, endorse the declaration requesting more EU budget for transport, and:
Acknowledge that the real EU added value of investing in the TEN-T network can only be fully realised once it has been completed, starting with the core network by 2030. The transport sector is committed to continue modernising and digitalising transport, improving safety and efficiency, enhancing interoperability and multimodality, and reducing transport CO2 emissions, for the benefit of Europe’s citizens and economy. In order to be successful, we call upon European policy makers to increase the EU budget for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) under the next MFF to facilitate the completion of the core network, requiring 500 billion euro between 2021 and 2030. 

Believe that the Connecting Europe Facility offers the best guarantee to deliver high EU added value in the transport sector 
under the next MFF, and provides an opportunity to finance the actual deployment of sustainable transport projects. A strong CEF with responsible grant management is essential for completing the TEN-T network and greening transport, which will benefit all Europeans. An insufficient budget for transport will put the completion of the TEN-T core network at risk. More EU budget for transport is the best investment plan for Europe.

Joint Rail Sector Declaration on Digitalisation of Railways

UIP and 5 other Railways organisations call on the European Commission to uphold digitalisation as one of its key priorities and to ensure that the political importance of the topic is reflected in the funding commitments in the next MFF.

Digitalisation is ever more present in all aspects of life, and offers enormous opportunities and challenges. The rail sector, as the backbone of transport in Europe, is not new to the digital age, and is today intensifying its use of digital technologies in order to match the pace and scope of digitalisation in the wider transport chain and to adapt to customer expectations on safety, security, punctuality, capacity, transparency, and information availability. Intense and constructive cooperation of the rail sector with the European Commission is key to accelerate this process.

The shared objective of all rail stakeholders is to offer highly efficient and attractive transport options to their customers, and digitalisation is a key tool to achieve this in a fast-moving technology environment. To foster the rail sector’s attractiveness and competitiveness, we are continuously adapting to the changing needs of end-users, for whom commuting mobile apps and real-time information has become part of everyday life.

The sector therefore welcomes numerous initiatives on open data and expects that any new legislative initiative on data policy will take into consideration the already existing sectorial legislation. This will allow to better promote transport data opening while taking into account specificities of railways for the benefit of customers.

Digital traffic management systems, digital energy management solutions, ever-increasing infotainment offer, e-ticketing, digital tracking and tracing applications, Big Data applications, and the use of Internet of Things, and common interfaces are just a few examples of how the rail sector is deploying the latest technologies for telematic applications for passenger and freight services in the interest of the customers and contributing to the Digital Single Market.

These efforts by the rail sector should be underpinned by a strong political and financial support from the European Commission. In the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), dedicated CEF funding should be made available to foster automation and digitalisation of the rail sector. The combination of Automated Train Protection (ATP), Automated Train Operations (ATO) and Maintenance, and Automated Train Supervision (ATS) will increase capacity, performance (punctuality and speed), interoperability, safety and last, but not least, productivity. ERTMS is recognized by the Sector as a success condition for these improvements and efficiency gain, its deployment will require additional resources in order to accelerate its rapid roll-out (especially in the framework of the revised European ERTMS Deployment Plan adopted in January 2017) and unlock the economies of scale and efficiency gains that it will bring to the rail system. Making digital railways a priority will also spread positive effects with regard to facilitating maintenance (including predictive maintenance, instrumentation of assets, processes and personnel with powerful Information and Communication Technology) and reducing cost over life cycle. In this regard, a ring-fenced budget for railway subsystems, in particular existing infrastructure and vehicles (rolling stock) should be considered.

Shift2Rail, the joint undertaking seeking focused research and innovation (R&I) and marketdriven solutions by accelerating the integration of new and advanced technologies into innovative rail product solutions, is delivering new digital technologies contributing to the evolution of rail transport among others. This is made possible due to a joint effort of a large number stakeholders of the European rail sector. To tackle the ongoing mega-trends (e.g. urbanisation, growing interest for environmental issues, ageing population) and place railways as the backbone of future digital sustainable mobility in cities and outside, it is of great importance to increase the European funding instruments for rail research, development, innovation, and deployment, following Shift2Rail, by including a “Shift2Rail 2.0”, with digitalisation at its heart, in the 9th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and promoting cross-industries collaboration to handle common key issues (e.g. cyber security) and improve transfer of knowledge between sectors.

We, the Signatories of this Joint Declaration, are calling on the European Commission to uphold digitalisation as one of its key priorities and to ensure that the political importance of the topic is reflected in the funding commitments in the next MFF. We reaffirm our commitment to provide products and services that use the digital technologies for the benefit of people.


More Articles ...

  1. Multimodal Organisations Statement on EU Financing
  2. Multimodal Alliance Statement on Digitalisation
  3. UIP believes that a stronger commitment is needed for voluntary cooperation among wagon Keepers, RUs and Infrastructure Managers
  4. UIP elects its board and discusses key topics on new realities which rail freight is facing
  5. Joint Statement on the priority topics for 2017
  6. Joint Statement on the launch of the Industry Alliance for Multimodal Connectivity and Logistics
  7. Joint Statement on EU financing on Transport for the review of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework
  8. Railway Sector Declaration on Boosting International Rail Freight
  9. UIP debates a bright future for rail freight with Italian representatives from the freight sector, Minister Graziano Delrio and MEP David Sassoli
  10. Joint Statement on EU financing on Transport
  11. Joint Statement on the Fourth Railway Package Technical Pillar
  12. UIP remains committed to the rail research & innovation agenda developed under FOSTER RAIL
  13. Joint Statement on wagonload traffic
  14. UIP welcomes Dr. Fischer as new President
  15. Joint Statement on the risks of shifting CEF money to EFSI
  16. Rail Freight industry associations ask for legislation governing transport by more than one mode
  17. UIP debates Increasing Efficiency in Rail Freight
  18. Joint Statement on Weights and Dimensions directive
  19. 4th Railway Package’s Technical Pillar: a top priority for the railway sector
  20. Comparative study on road and rail safety in freight transport: Safety levels for rail freight are substantially higher