Dr. Verlič, can you explain to us what SEESARI is and why it was established?
Look at the railway geographical map of the Southeast European region, especially for the countries which are not part of the EU. This white spot on the map must be overcome. That was the main reason why South East European Strategic Alliance for Railway Innovation (SEESARI) was established in Belgrade in 2016. The big promotor was and still is UIC, the International Railway Organisation. In fact, we are very proud that the former general director of UIC Mr. Jean Pierre Loubinoux accepted the position of Director of SEESARI General Assembly, the highest body of Initiative.
What is the main goal of SEESARI?
At the moment, more than 70 members have joined SEESARI. Members are coming from all kinds of professional backgrounds: railway operators, private stakeholders, univesities, NGO, Institutes etc. It is important that we are not geographically limited to the region. Everyone who is interested is more than welcome. For example, railways such as German DB, Austrian OBB, French SNCF, Hungarian MAV, Turkish TCDD are our members. It is also necessary to say that GA of UIC recognises SEESARI as their Special Group and we signed the special agreement with former Shift2Rail JU, which is now Europe’s rail JU.
SEESARI is a network of members, it is important that we know each other in the region. We prepared SEESARI Masterplan, which has several pillars (Passenger, Freight, Infrastructure, Human resources, high speed, horizontal issues..). This is the area where we would like to become an important player in the future, as a non-governmetal initiative, helping to promote the railway sector and mobility as such. We already established in our Masterplan that this region offers full potential for growth in the logistics and passenger transport sectors.
What are the benefits or advanteges for your members?
It is very simple to become member of the Initiative. On our website www.seesari.org, you will find the Declaration which has to be signed and send back to us. There is no member fee. We are also present on social media, Facebook and Linkedin, so I would like to invite you to regulary check the website and social media. We also organise an annual general assembly – this year in Paris – and what is important, we can respond very quickly and help members in the various calls for financing. We have also established very good relations with the Permanent Transport Community Office situated in Belgrade and we hope that the Ljubljana – Zagreb – Belgrade railway passenger line will be opened soon as part of our common activity.
What is the next important step of SEESARI?
The best way to connect the region is to have good railway passenger service, so one of the important priorities is digital ticketing. We all know EPA, the current system for the reservation of tickets for the international railway passenger traffic, which is now being gradually replaced by SEPA as one of our important activites.
Welcome to SEESARI, a group of friends for the better future of the railways!