Forum 1520: Joint efforts and cross-border cooperation are crucial for the development of the Eurasian transport corridor

At the first day of the international forum experts from various countries discussed challenges and solutions to meet the growing demand for freight transport across the East-West route

Vienna, 21st February 2018 – Today, on February 21st, the international railway forum "Strategic Partnership 1520: Central Europe" started in Vienna. Next to the Russian Minister of Transport, Maxim Sokolov, and Austrian Deputy Minister for Transport, Dr. Gerhard Gütlich, the CEOs of national railway and logistic companies and other high-ranking experts from the infrastructure sector discussed solutions for the growing demand for freight transport as well as possibilities to increase the efficiency of the existing rail transport across the East-West route.

The main event of the forum was the plenary discussion “Eurasian Corridor and New Silk Road. Moving Towards Each Other”, during which issues of cross-border cooperation for the enhancement of the Eurasian railway corridor and the development of new transport solutions were discussed. One of the main findings of the discussion was that the creation of an integrated Eurasian transport corridor is of utmost importance considering the growing economies in Asia and that the realization of the New Silk Road will bring about mutual benefits for all parties concerned. “Trade activities between East and West support the achievement of the EU's objective of promoting the economic development and trade of its participating countries. Our goal is that the various European transport corridors ensure the efficient transit of goods and are seamlessly interconnected. To achieve this goal, the coordination with our partners outside the EU needs to be strengthened more actively”, underlined Keir Fitch, Director of Railway Safety and Interoperability at the European Commission.

Furthermore, several strategic meetings dealt with logistics issues in Eurasia, the financing of infrastructure, approaches and technologies for rail construction and the compatibility of 1520 and 1435 track systems as well as concrete projects like the extension of the broad-gauge line in the region of Vienna-Bratislava and the construction of the Eurasian High Speed Railway. The participants agreed that cross-border cooperation and joint efforts are crucial for the success of large-scale projects of such magnitude and complexity. As Oleg Toni, deputy general director of the Russian Railways RŽD, put it: “The Eurasian land-bridge project will benefit the joint technical solutions and the economies of the stakeholder countries. Based on our existing cooperation we can complement each another.”

The International Railway Forum SP1520 is organized by the company Business Dialogue in main partnership with ÖBB-Holding AG and Russian Railways (RŽD).

“Strategic Partnership 1520” is an international Business Forum established with the aim of pooling and coordinating the efforts of the players in the Eurasian transport market to create a holistic infrastructure in international transport corridors and to contribute to the development of efficient transport solutions for the carriage of passengers and freight.

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