THE European Railway Supply Industry Association (Unife) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Canadian Association of Railway Suppliers (Cars) and the United States Railway Supply Institute (RSI) to improve cooperation between the three associations. The agreement was signed by Cars president, Ms Sylvia Newell, RSI president, Ms Patricia Davitt Long, and Unife director general, Mr Philippe Citroën.

“As an industry, we represent the safest, most efficient and most sustainable solution for the transport of passengers and freight, and in the process, we touch every part of the global economy,” Long says. “Earlier today I had the opportunity to sit down with some of my international colleagues to talk about our industry’s challenges, common concerns and opportunities where we might work together. Like my European and Canadian colleagues, RSI members are struggling with both domestic and global challenges right now.”

Long says this includes aggressive inflation and a shortage of skilled workers. The complex supply chains that allowed lean manufacturing and just-in-time production strategies also proved a liability during the global pandemic, while rising tensions over political events in China, Russia, and Eastern Europe have raised serious concerns about global security and the ability to source raw materials.

But Long says these geopolitical challenges may also provide opportunities, as companies look for new supply chain strategies, such as moving manufacturing closer to home and increasing international trade with geographically closer partners and political allies to minimise risk. 

“This memorandum commits our organisations to work more collaboratively with the European and Canadian rail supply association partners on our collective challenges, but also on emerging opportunities,” Long says. “[We also commit] to share information including best practices and standards for quality, safety and technical advancements, to raise awareness and attract new talent to our industry, to work together to expand opportunities for growth, and to tackle unfair competition and support agile and diversified supply chains.”

“Cooperation between the rail supply industry in Canada, the United States, and the European Union is fundamental, and the three organisations have developed a memorandum of understanding that will enhance the cooperation between us,” Citroën says. “We want to enhance the ability to support the health and future growth of our industry, and we want to identify opportunities for our organisations to work together in advancing these objectives.”

“The MoU signifies a great start to a long-standing relationship where we will be able to work towards collaboration and tackling issues that are impacting the industry like public procurement and the skills shortage as well as global standards,” Newell says.