National law firm Shoosmiths has sponsored a special briefing organised by the Rail Working Group (RWG) to discuss how the Luxembourg Rail Protocol will impact the railway industry.
The forthcoming Luxembourg Rail Protocol legislation will create a new global system for the recognition and prioritisation of security interests, particularly those held by lenders and lessors, registrable at a new international registry.
The briefing session, held at the House of Lords, was well attended by rail companies, banks and MPs who were keen to learn more about how this will help shape the future of the rail industry.
Shoosmiths corporate partner and rail industry expert, Martin Fleetwood, said:
'This is an exciting development for the rail industry as it will provide more opportunities for cheaper finance from the private sector for railway rolling stock. Further investment in the rail industry is needed and this is a step in the right direction that will support the growth of the sector by providing greater support for private finance of railway rolling stock. Currently the majority of the finance for rolling stock comes from the public sector and if more private finance was available, the public funds could be used on improving or building new infrastructure.'
The aim of the Rail Protocol is to relieve governments, as well as state- and privately owned operators, of the need to allocate precious capital to rolling stock. This is particularly important for developing countries where an extensive and well-functioning rail sector is critical for economic growth.
The Rail Protocol will introduce a new unique identification system for railway equipment which will identify a creditors rights in each item of railway rolling stock recorded in the new international registry. This means that the creditor's interest can be known, wherever in the world the item of rolling stock is running. It applies to all equipment running above, on, or under a permanent guide-way; from high-speed trains to single cars on mountain railways, from freight locomotives and wagons to trams and metros, and from people movers at airports to gantries and cranes running on rails at ports.
Shoosmiths rail team has expertise built on involvement in the industry since privatisation and understands the marketplace well. It acts for a wide spectrum of rail industry bodies such as rolling stock manufacturers, leasing companies and operators (passenger franchises and freight), and a passenger transport executive. They are expert advisors on procurement of new rolling stock, ticketing and gating equipment; manufacturing and supply agreements; property and construction; rail franchising; asset management; financing; health and safety; PFI transactions and engineering, maintenance and servicing agreements.