KORAIL Hosts the Most Authoritative Eurasian Railway Conference on April 8-12 in Seoul under the theme of “Toward the Future of Peace and Prosperity”
34th OSJD General Directors Conference to gather about 300 participants from 27 countries including Russia and China
□ Representatives of rail organizations from countries that operate Eurasian continental railways are scheduled to convene at Lotte Hotel, Sogong-dong (Seoul) on April 8-12 (starting on Monday) on the occasion of the 34th Conference of General Directors of OSJD* Railways, hosted by KORAIL.
* The Organisation for Co-operation between Railways, known by its Russian acronym OSJD, is an international body established in June 1956 for railway operation between Europe and Asia. The entity consists of 29 member states including the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and other countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia as well as railway operators. The OSJD governs the Agreement on International Passengers and Goods Traffic by Rail (SMPS and SMGS) and establishes principles on international transport standards related to the Trans Eurasian Railway including the Trans Siberian Railway (TSR) and the Trans China Railway (TCR).
□ The OSJD General Directors Conference, held every year, is known as the ‘UN General Assembly of Continental Railways’ that deals with major issues related to the Trans Eurasian Railway. The upcoming conference is the first international event the ROK holds as an official member of the OSJD since its accession to the body in June 2018.
□ KORAIL expects to have about 300 participants from home and abroad, including government officials, businesses, institutions, and experts in the railroad area from 27 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, such as Russia, China, Mongolia, Poland, Kazakhstan, etc.
□ Under the theme of “Toward the Future of Peace and Prosperity”, participants are going to be briefed on the activities of five Working Bodies in 2018, which are Commissions on Transport Policy and Development Strategy (I), Transport Law (II), Freight Traffic (III), Passenger Traffic (IV), and Infrastructure and Rolling Stock (V) and discuss future plans for the OSJD operation and work, seeking further development of continental railways and multilateral cooperation.
ㅇ During the Conference, participants will be discussing current issues and exploring ways to enhance cooperation in international rail operation and customs clearance procedures among member states. Besides, Korean cultural experience programs as well as exhibition booths to support the penetration of Eurasian rail and logistics markets by domestic companies will be also available.
□ The ROK had made strenuous efforts to join the OSJD as an official member to tighten connectivity with OSJD member states via Eurasian continental railways.
ㅇ In support of the country’s bid, KORAIL joining the OSJD as an affiliated enterprise in March 2014 hosted a roundtable meeting for general directors along with the Freight Traffic Commission meeting in May 2015 in Seoul. It also made a successful bid for hosting the 34th OSJD General Directors Conference, which was approved at the 29th Conference held in Pyongyang back in April 2014.
ㅇ However, the country’s attempts to obtain the OSJD membership were derailed on multiple occasions due to the association’s requirement that an applicant nation needs to gain unanimous approval from all existing member states.
ㅇ In June 2018, the ROK finally joined the OSJD at the Ministerial Conference held in Kyrgyzstan with unanimous consent from all members, against the backdrop of inter-Korean summits and thawing ties between DPRK and the US, calling for exchanges and economic cooperation between the two Koreas.
□ KORAIL is now eligible for participating in the 280,000km-long Trans Eurasian Railway and the ROK is able to get involved in major agreements governed by the OSJD for the use of Eurasian railways, e.g. SMPS and SMGS.
□ Mr. Son Byeong-suk, CEO of KORAIL, recognized the significance of the 34th OSJD General Directors Conference as the first major global event the ROK holds since its accession to the OSJD. The CEO also expressed strong commitment to making the conference a venue to showcase technological prowess and potential of Korean railways and present its vision towards connected Trans Eurasian Railway Network.