Published on : Monday, February 24, 2020
The 9th International Railway Summit, a unique 3-day networking event for the global railway sector concluded in Warsaw on 21 February. The summit, supported by the International Union of Railways (UIC), comprised a full timetable of powerful debate, one-to-one business meetings, technical visits, and a variety of formal and informal networking functions.
Sofitel Warsaw Victoria in the heart of the city welcomed some 140 delegates representing 86 companies and organisations from 21 countries across the globe.
‘Breaking down barriers through digital transformation’ was the theme of the summit’s conference programme. Keynote speakers included Marcin Horała, Secretary of State, Ministry of Infrastructure, Poland. Mr Horała elaborated on the Central Communication Port, the major air/rail transport hub being built outside Warsaw, and the opportunities afforded by Poland’s strategic position between Europe and Asia.
Elisabeth Werner, Director of Land Transport at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), and François Davenne, Director General of the UIC, also delivered their vision for greater connectivity through rail based on ‘frugality’ and ‘desire’.
Conference topics addressed the role digital can play in standardising operations and procedures, enabling smooth intercontinental rail freight, ensuring secure communications, the best strategies for urban multimodality, and the sustainability of rail in tackling climate change.
Acknowledging that breakthroughs can only be made through breaking down barriers between sectors, the summit welcomed contributions from expert voices beyond rail, including the World Customs Organisation, the European Investment Bank, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and Airlines for Europe.
A simultaneous programme of pre-arranged one-to-one meetings saw the first steps of many and varied potential partnerships. Some 200 one-to-one meetings took place, representing 100 hours of focussed bilateral meetings. Governments, operators, and infrastructure owners met with expert innovators and suppliers to learn more about the services they need to realise their projects.
In addition, delegates were able to visit rail facilities in the city to learn about local practice and technological advances. Delegates were given a guided tour of Alstom’s Pendolino train depot and PKP’s locomotive depot at Warszawa Olszynka Grochowska station, taking the wheel in an advanced driving simulator. Delegates were also given a privileged preview of the cutting-edge Młynów metro station, now in its final stages of construction.
A welcome reception and dinner on the opening evening of the summit and an offsite dinner at the renowned Stary Dom Restaurant gave delegates a chance to relax and forge personal relationships beyond a purely business footing.
The 10th International Railway Summit will take place in Berlin on 24-26 February 2021. Organisations interested in learning more about International Railway Summit and about how they can participate in the event can visit http://www.irits.org or contact the organisers, IRITS Events.
International Railway Summit is a meeting of senior executives representing the world’s key rail operators, rail infrastructure management companies, national and local governments, rolling stock manufacturers and a wide range of solution providers.
International Railway Summit provides a ‘matchmaking’ service between rail industry leaders (‘buyers’) and technical experts, based on buyer delegates’ project requirements and the proven expertise of large and small suppliers that we have carefully handpicked. Based on this matchmaking, buyer delegates attend one-to-one consultation sessions with suitable suppliers during the annual summit.
In addition to the one-to-one meetings, delegates also attend a conference programme given by key industry leaders and experts and network over lunches and dinners with their counterparts and industry colleagues from all over the world. International Railway Summit is hosted by IRITS Events.