UIC Global Rail Freight Conference to be held in Genoa

In roughly three months the 6th edition of the Global Rail Freight Conference (GRFC), organised by the worldwide railway organisation UIC, takes place. The bi-annual event is held in Genoa this time, in partnership with Italian railway company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS) and under the patronage of Regione Liguria. From 26-28 June, a worldwide audience will gather to discuss ‘Modal Integration at the Service of Global Distribution’, the theme of this years’ edition.

“With this general title for the conference, we wanted to stress, again, that rail is or has to be part of the logistic offer, especially in a globalised world. Other modes of transport of course also have their pertinence but for an efficient and sustainable transport system, multimodality is key and rail is the backbone of that system”, Sandra Gehenot, Freight Director at UIC said.

Global event

“Trade in goods is increasingly globalised. Cargo flows between Asia, Europe and the Middle East in particular have grown tremendously over the past years and now Africa is now attracting investments to develop rail freight corridors as well. Many countries are investing in the development of efficient transport solutions. Significant efforts are made by governments and regional organisations to develop sustainable solutions. This is at the heart of UIC’s work”, she explained.

The UIC Global Rail Freight conference, as known as ‘GRFC’, is one of the leading events in the world dedicated to rail freight and logistics. It has been held in Delhi (2007), Saint-Petersburg (2010), Tangier (2012), Vienna (2014) and Rotterdam (2016). The the last edition was organised at the back of the 9th edition of the TEN-T days in the same city. “Our main aim is to provide a representative platform for the entire logistics chain. This is why we devote particular attention to welcoming speakers and delegates from around the world.”

The audience

This international conference is interesting for all those who work in logistics. Although the various editions have different focus points, the common thread to all editions is the need to further develop multimodality. In that respect, UIC endeavours to associate all transport modes, Gehenot explained. “Statistics show that attendees represent a fairly even split between railway undertakings, infrastructure providers, operators of various transport modes, manufacturers, logistics providers, shippers and policy makers.”

According to participants of previous editions, the GRFC forms “an excellent opportunity for networking, as the audience represents the entire profession and thus fosters a spirit of cooperation”. Attendees have also said that the event offered high quality information and presentations, and a unique opportunity to exchange on trends and best practices from all over the world.

The programme

The global mix is also represented in the programme, with speakers representing all key stakeholders of the transportation industry. “All sessions are made up of a mix of railway representatives, customers such as shippers and specialist operators, policy makers and parties from other modes of transport”, said Gehenot.

Already on the programme are Dr. Clemens Först, CEO Rail Cargo Group, Carlo Borghini, Executive Director of the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking, Dr. Nancy L. Vandkycke, Program Manager, of Sustainable Mobility for All at the World Bank L, Abbas Nazari representing Iranian Railways, Alexander Mischarin, First Deputy Chief Executive Officer from Russian Railways, and Brian Monakali, in charge of Capital Planning at Transnet and Denis Choumert, Chairman of the European Shippers Council, among others.


The conference opens on 26 June with a technical site visit and welcome cocktail. The conference will be held on 27 and 28 June. In addition, a trade fair will run from 26 to 28 June. “The trade fair and exhibition stands for hire will be located in the area where all networking breaks will be held, to offer maximum visibility to exhibitors. Finally, I would like to say that this year’s edition will have interesting surprises, related to innovation and digitalisation. As a matter of fact, the conference will close with a somewhat different format which we have called a ‘Freight Innovation Lab’ during which selected live demonstrations or of digital applications to rail freight will be presented.”

Are you interested to exhibit or sponsor this event? More information can be found here.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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