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Australasian and UK rail industry form new partnership to develop post-Brexit links

Trade bodies representing Australasian and UK rail organisations have announced they are teaming together in a new partnership which will develop trade links and opportunities for companies at opposite ends of the world.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and the UK’s Railway Industry Association (RIA) have formed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of their various memberships, that will see both organisations working closer together.

The representative body for UK-based rail suppliers which has 220 rail companies in membership, and the Australasian Railway Association which has 140 members, are signing an MoU, to promote a closer working relationship benefiting the rail supply industries in both countries.

Increase collaboration is deemed vital in an industry which is expected to see the number of rail journeys double over the next 25 years with freight set to grow significantly too. 

In the UK, the rail industry contributes £36bn in economic growth and £11bn in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people and exporting around £800m per annum. In Australia, rail’s total economic contribution is $26 (AUS) billion GDP a year and employs over 140,000 workers.

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the RIA, said: “This partnership with the Australasian Railway Association is a truly exciting opportunity for RIA and the UK rail industry, in the months ahead. It is a great example of an industry reaching out to fellow colleagues across the globe, to develop new trade links and cooperation, which is especially important as the UK prepares to leave the EU.”

Both trade bodies say they have many common interests and deliver common services in their markets, which face similar opportunities and challenges. Both the UK and Australia rail sectors are expected to see continued significant investment in rail, but face similar issues recruiting new entrants into the rail industry, upskilling those already in the sector, smoothing out rail funding pipelines, and promoting the benefits of rail as a key driver of economic growth.

Danny Broad, chief executive officer of ARA said: “Future engagement with the Railway Industry Association of the United Kingdom will provide potential benefits and opportunities for all members of the Australasian Railway Association including our passenger and freight operators, track managers, suppliers, manufacturers, consultants and contractors. It’s an extremely exciting time to be in the rail industry in Australia and New Zealand with investment in new rail infrastructure and rollingstock over the next fifteen years forecast to be around $100bn.”