05 Apr 2019

UNIFE highlights key industry issues at SIFER 2019

From 26 to 28 March, UNIFE participated in the 11th International Exhibition of Railway Technology SIFER 2019, in Lille, giving us the opportunity to meet several members, potential new members and other rail sector stakeholders.

Philippe Citroën participated in the Opening Ceremony and highlighted the challenges that face our industry in terms of market access and competition. “Although the world rail market should grow at an annual 2.7% through 2023, our industry is challenged by market access barriers and unfair competition on price. This calls for a true EU industrial policy,” he underlined.

UNIFE also organised a round-table on Research and Innovation (R&I), focusing on the role of R&I in helping to maintain the leadership of the European rail supply industry in the face of fierce competition from overseas. This was also an opportunity to discuss the ways in which the European institutions and national authorities  can support the European rail supply industry. UNIFE Director General emphasised the importance of R&I for UNIFE members and underlined the key role of Shift2Rail in contributing to both the transformation of rail transport and the competitiveness of the European rail supply industry. He also referred to the on-going work of the European Commission Expert Group on the competitiveness of the European rail supply industry set-up early 2018.

Carlo Borghini (Executive Director, Shift2Rail), presented the main achievements of the Shift2Rail programme, and highlighted the good cooperation between rail stakeholders within the framework of the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking. Julien Tognola from the French Ministry of Economy and Finance spoke about the role of innovation in France’s industrial policy and underlined the importance of the rail supply industry for the French economy.

Jean-Pierre Audoux (Director General of FIF – the French Railway Industries Association) presented FIF’s vision on the challenges facing the French rail industry, referring notably to digitalisation and the issue of skills shortages. Yves Perréal (Thales Transport, member of ERRAC and Chairman of the UNIFE Digitalisation Platform) introduced the ERRAC 2050 Vision and the draft UNIFE Vision Paper on Digital Trends, identifying the key challenges that the rail sector must overcome in order to become the backbone of the mobility of the future.

Finally, Marion Berbineau (Director of Transport Research at IFSTTAR – the French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks) presented the challenges facing rail transport from the perspective of a Research and Technology institute, and also underlined the benefits generated by Shift2Rail.

For further information on this topic, please contact Agathe Marie.

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