Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail
The Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail-OTIF is an intergovernmental organisation that governs international rail transport. As of 2015, 50 European, African, and Near Eastern states are members of OTIF. M.François Davenne has been the Secretary general since 2012 (reelected 2015).
OTIF deploys tools to facilitate international rail traffic and works closely together to achieve this with the International Rail Transport Committee (CIT), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the European Railway Agency (ERA), the European Commission DG MOVE and the Organization for Cooperation of Railways (OSJD).
OTIF was organised on 1 May 1985 pursuant to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), which was concluded in 1980. The predecessor of OTIF was the Central Office for International Carriage by Rail (OCTI), which was organised in 1893.
COTIF was modified by a Protocol that was signed in Vilnius on 3 June 1999. Prior to the Vilnius Protocol, the principal objective of OTIF was to develop uniform systems of law which could apply to the carriage of passengers and freight in international rail traffic. These systems of law have been in existence for decades and are known as the CIV (for passengers) and CIM (for freight/goods) Uniform Rules.
As of 2015, there are 50 member states of OTIF plus the European Union: Albania, Algeria, Austria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Republic of Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom.
Jordan has been an associate member since 1 August 2010.
The headquarters and organs
The headquarters of OTIF are in Berne, Switzerland. Its organs are the General Assembly, the Administrative Committee as the financial and administrative supervisory body, the Revision Committee, the Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, the Committee of Technical Experts and the Rail Facilitation Committee. The Secretary General provides the secretariat services. The working languages of the Organisation shall be English, French and German.
- Further development of rail transport law in the following areas:
- contracts of carriage for the international carriage of passengers and goods (CIV and CIM),
- carriage of dangerous goods (RID),
- contracts of use of vehicles (CUV),
- contract on the use of railway infrastructure (CUI),
- validation of technical standards and adoption of uniform technical prescriptions for railway material (APTU),
- procedure for the technical admission of railway vehicles and other railway material used in international traffic (ATMF);
- Widening the scope of COTIF in order to make possible in the longer term through carriage by rail under a single legal regime from the Atlantic to the Pacific;
- Preparing for the entry into force of the Luxembourg Protocol (Registry for International Interests in railway rolling stock, Secretariat of the Supervisory Authority);
- The removal of obstacles to the crossing of frontiers in international rail transport;
- Participation in the preparation of other international conventions concerning rail transport within UN/ECE and other international organisations.
At present, Uniform Rules created by OTIF are applicable for international carriage by rail on around 250,000 km of railway lines and the complementary carriage of freight and passengers on 17,000 km of shipping lines and inland waterways, as well as prior or subsequent domestic carriage by road.
- http://www.otif.org Official web-site of the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail