Monograph Series on Transport Facilitation of International Railway Transport in Asia and the Pacific (First Edition)

Monograph Series on Transport Facilitation of International Railway Transport in Asia and the Pacific (First Edition)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Being environment friendly, railway transport is gaining importance in the Asia-Pacific region due to growing concerns of the adverse impact on environment of road transport on one hand and increasing concerns about energy security on the other. The importance of sustainable transport was reaffirmed in the Rio+20 document “The Future we want”. Couple this with, the entry into force of intergovernmental agreement on Trans-Asian Railway Network, has provided impetus for the development of railway transport as a competitive mode of transport in the region.

However, development of international railway transport faces enormous challenges. Apart from the infrastructural constraints, the cross-border railway transport remains difficult in the region due to existence of non-physical barriers particularly at the border crossings. Typical non-physical barriers include regulatory issues that relate to control measures by various agencies, such as Customs that need to be simplified, standardized and harmonized. Further legal and contractual basis among various stakeholders in railway transport have different underlying legal regimes that need to be unified or at least harmonized.

Technical and operational issues involving standards and specifications for the rolling stock, signalling systems, data exchange, repair, maintenance and use of railway infrastructure and dealing with break of gauge also need to be addressed to promote efficient cross-border railway transport operations. There will be need to simplify, standardize and further harmonize technical and operational requirements among member countries.

Accordingly, this Monograph Series on regional railway facilitation undertaken under the project “Enhancing the operationalization of the Trans- Asian Railway- Costing, marketing and facilitation of railway services” financed by the Government of Russian Federation: Provides operational status of railway lines in the region; Documents: Existing organizations working to develop railway transport globally and regionally and legal instruments to facilitate railway transport including international agreements and conventions; and elaborate on the key challenges and possible solutions to further facilitate international railway transport in the region.