UNIFE MEMBERS ELECT LUTZ BERTLING, PRESIDENT OF BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION AS UNIFE CHAIRMAN
LONDON—UNIFE, the European Rail Industry Association, gathered its members, business leaders from European rail supply manufacturing companies, together in London today on the occasion of the Association’s 23rd General Assembly Meeting. London was selected because the UK is a key market for UNIFE members, as well as being a rail-friendly country that is promoting a modal shift to rail transport. In addition to attending to the Association’s business, UNIFE members and guests listened to roundtables and presentations that featured speakers from the UK Government, Network Rail (UK Infrastructure Manager), the European Commission, the European Railway Agency, and the Hellenic Presidency of the EU Council, in addition to senior leaders from UNIFE member companies.
This General Assembly marks the end of the Chairmanship term of Henri Poupart-Lafarge, President of Alstom Transport, and after a unanimous vote during the UNIFE Statutory Meeting, Lutz Bertling, President and COO of Bombardier Transportation was elected as the new Chairman of UNIFE. Mr Poupart-Lafarge will continue to represent Alstom Transport on the UNIFE Presiding Board.
Outgoing UNIFE Chairman, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, commented, “I am happy to see that SHIFT²RAIL has finally gained a large consensus: the European institutions, national governments and rail stakeholders (with both infrastructure managers and operators) have realised that the rail sector and the European society can only benefit from such a large scale joint effort. Our industry needs to continue to push for the adoption of the Technical Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package to allow for centralised authorisation process for the entire EU under the European Railway Agency; as such legislation will result in major efficiencies to the rail system and cost-savings to industry and Member States.”
After thanking the membership for his election as UNIFE Chairman, Lutz Bertling, remarked, “I am pleased to take over the Chairmanship of UNIFE at such an exciting, but challenging time for the European rail industry. Decisions and investments made at the European level have a massive impact on our industry. For example, the SHIFT²RAIL Joint Undertaking that is about to begin operations will have a game-changing impact on the transportation sector, along with the massive investment and deployment efforts the EU has made in the interoperable signaling system ERTMS. We will, of course, continue to be very present in Brussels on the political issues facing our industry.”
Clare Moriarty, Director General of the Rail Group at the UK Department for Transport, gave the keynote address and spoke about the competition coming from other modes of transport, commenting: “Rail needs to respond to these challenges. You need to improve the service offered to passengers and freight. You need to make the railway easier to use. You need to cut costs and reduce carbon. And that’s why I strongly support the SHIFT²RAIL rail research and innovation initiative.”
UNIFE members decided that the next General Assembly will take place on 18 June, 2015 in Bucharest, Romania.