Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail

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The Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail French: L'Organisation intergouvernementale pour les transports internationaux ferroviaires (OTIF) is an intergovernmental organisation that governs international rail transport. As of 2013, 46 European, African, and Near Eastern states are members of OTIF.


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, 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.


  OTIF member states
  OTIF associate members
  OTIF-only members
  OTIF and SMGS members
  SMGS-only members

As of 2013, there are 46 member states of OTIF plus the European Union: Albania, Algeria, Austria, Armenia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Republic of Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom.


Since September 1999 the membership of Iraq and Lebanon have been suspended until international railway traffic with these countries is restored.[1]


Jordan has been an associate member since 1 August 2010.[2][1]

The headquarters and organs[edit]

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.


  1. 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);
  2. 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;
  3. Preparing for the entry into force of the Luxembourg Protocol (Registry for International Interests in railway rolling stock, Secretariat of the Supervisory Authority);
  4. The removal of obstacles to the crossing of frontiers in international rail transport;
  5. 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.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Official web-site of the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail