Friday 23 February 2024

The UIC takes part in the 5th Balkans and Black Sea Forum (BBSF) in Athens

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On 14 February 2024, UIC took part in the 5th Balkans and Black Sea Forum (BBSF) in Athens, Greece, on the topic of “Trading arteries and global supply chains at stake”.

The event was organised in cooperation with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the Piraeus Port Authority. It brought together 170 high-level executives and representatives of international organisations, governments, diplomatic missions, businesses, and the media.

Philippe Lorand, UIC Coordinator of the Asia-Pacific Region, took part in one of the two panels, entitled “New order and trends in regional connectivity”, alongside Dr Young Tae Kim, Secretary General of the International Transport Forum at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Dr Ilias Lekkos, Group Chief Economist and Head of Investment Strategy at Piraeus Bank; Dr Jisheng SUN, Vice-President of the China Foreign Affairs University; Dr Renwei Huang, Executive Director-General of the Fudan Institute for Belt & Road and Global Governance; Ambassador Bolat Nurgaliyev, Chair of the Board of the Foreign Policy Research Institute under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Middle Corridor - new opportunities for Europe and Asia; and Hendrik Bosshammer, SEE Project Manager at the South East Europe Division of the OECD.

The discussions focused on the current status of connectivity and logistic hubs in the southeast Mediterranean & Black Sea regions and the Belt and Road Initiative, reviewing the prospects and synergies between the BRI and EU Global Gateway plan. This session was moderated by Ambassador (a.h.) Michael B. Christides, Co-Chair of the BBSF Executive Committee.

As part of its mission, UIC stressed that international rail connectivity and transport capacity between Europe and Asia is becoming increasingly important, which is shown by the corridors already in operation and those under development. These include the Middle Corridor (from southern Europe to central China via the Trans-Caspian routes) and the Southern Corridor (from southern Europe to central China, linking Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan). Their development requires all stakeholders to join the effort and to cooperate and coordinate, harmonise and digitise, develop operations and increase investment and public support.

UIC and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) have had a relationship since 2016, when the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The overall objective of this MoU is to develop transport connections, increase the efficiency of international rail transport, attract foreign and domestic goods to the railways, and implement innovative transport solutions to improve transport efficiency in the Black Sea region.

For further information, please contact Philippe Lorand, UIC Director of Institutional Relations and Coordinator of the Asia Pacific Region at

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