URVIS
Luxembourg rail protocol
New public registry
Comment


On 24 February 2023, the Inland Transport Committee (ITC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe adopted new rules on the permanent identification of railway rolling stock in Geneva.

URVIS

The unique rail vehicle identification system (URVIS) creates a new standard and responsibilities for permanently attaching an identifier system to railway rolling stock, as required by the Luxembourg Protocol to the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, which is expected to come into force later in 2023.

Luxembourg rail protocol

The protocol is a new global treaty under the auspices of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law. The protocol seeks to make it much easier and cheaper for the private sector to finance railway rolling stock. It sets up a new system for the recognition, priorities and enforcement of creditor and lessor rights, which will be registered in an international registry based in Luxembourg, accessible to everyone over the internet.

The protocol is expected to enter into force in contracting states in late 2023. The European Union (in respect of its competences), Luxembourg, Sweden, Spain and Gabon have ratified the protocol. France, Germany, Switzerland, Mozambique, Italy, South Africa and the United Kingdom have already signed the protocol and many other states – including Kenya, China, Malta, Eswatini, Namibia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Finland, Ukraine and Mauritius – are looking at adopting it. Many international rail organisations (including the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail and International Union of Railways) have endorsed the protocol.

New public registry

The new rules are the 60th legal instrument and global standard that the ITC has established. They will play an important role in facilitating more secure and cheaper financing of all types of railway rolling stock once the protocol applies. The protocol establishes a new public international registry based in Luxembourg, at which the security interests of banks and lessors will be registered against the URVIS identifier issued by the registry.

The adoption of the rules follows Spain's ratification of the protocol in January 2023. This fourth ratification, plus that of the European Union, has opened the way for completion of the technical work needed to establish the international registry.

Comment

The rules are an important step forward because they deal with a critical requirement of the protocol, which will reduce risk for private sector lenders and lessors providing finance for the rail sector, in turn lowering financing costs for the rail industry.

For further information on this topic please contact Oliver Nissen at Arnecke Sibeth by telephone (+49 30 814 59 13 00) or email ([email protected]). The Arnecke Sibeth website can be accessed at www.arneckesibeth.com.