Looking ahead to InnoTrans 2022: Pedro Fortea, Mafex
Ahead of InnoTrans 2022, Global Railway Review asked Pedro Fortea, General Director of Mafex, what he is expecting from this year’s event.
What are you most interested in seeing at InnoTrans 2022?
InnoTrans is the world’s most important event for the rail sector. I expect to learn more about the main innovations and developments in the sector, in addition to being able to compare trends and developments according to what is being developed by different companies and in different markets. I expect to expand knowledge about out how digitalisation and sustainability are being taken more into consideration in the new products and services, and I expect to be able to compare it under a global perspective.
It will also be good to meet people that we have not seen during the last few years.
What is your main reason for attending the event this year?
…the main reason for us to attend is to promote the Spanish railway industry, to support and coordinate the pavilion and give visibility to our industry, a world leader in the sector.
InnoTrans is a must. As Mafex, the Spanish Railway Industry Association, we have been organising the Spanish pavilion since 2004. I attended InnoTrans for the first time in 2002 and I have not missed any edition since.
Of course, the main reason for us to attend is to promote the Spanish railway industry, to support and coordinate the pavilion and give visibility to our industry, a world leader in the sector. Our pavilion this edition will group more than 60 companies, the largest Spanish pavilion at InnoTrans ever and includes 17 co-exhibitors’ participation in our own stand.
What do you think are the main challenges the railway sector will face over the coming years?
I would classify the main challenges that the rail industry is facing today into three types:
First would be the market challenges: we are moving into lower prices, resulting in low-cost solutions. So, there is a big pressure in the industry on this issue. The concentration of the sector: merges and acquisitions. And more and more advance business models based on services.
…if I had to summarise the main challenge for our industry in a sentence, in terms of Europe, I would underline the green technology. Our sector must lead on sustainability.
Second, the technological challenges: standardisation to reduce production costs, automatisation, sustainability in terms of introducing new energy solutions such as hydrogen for instance, and digitalisation to keep up-to-date and offer more advanced and sophisticated products and services, and to offer to the passengers a better and more connected travel experience.
And third, the regulatory challenges: we all need to be ready to compete in markets that are in a process of more liberalisations, such as, our country. But at the same time, we find some other countries very protectionist.
But if I had to summarise the main challenge for our industry in a sentence, in terms of Europe, I would underline the green technology. Our sector must lead on sustainability.
We also need to make rail mobility enjoyable; passenger experience is not just words. We also need to move freight in a more efficient way to compete with the rest of modes and shift freight from roads to trains.
To what extent do you think InnoTrans helps and supports the rail sector in its transformation?
Events such as InnoTrans serve to contrast, meet, and share knowledge in a very short time. It helps to escape from the day-to-day of our activity. In my opinion, the value of events such as fairs and congresses are sometimes underestimated. If we have learned anything from the pandemic, it is not only that we can work from anywhere and maximise the benefits of using digital solutions, we have also learned to value personal relations and how we need events like this to build relationships and trust.
What would you like to see more of at future InnoTrans events?
I am quite satisfied with how the event is. But considering skills, talent, and gender equality as a key challenge for our industry’s competitiveness, I would like to see future InnoTrans events full of talented people, including a large female representation. This would certainly be great news for our industry.
Visit Mafex at InnoTrans: Hall 22, Stand 710
Global Railway Review will be exhibiting at InnoTrans in Hall 6.2 at Stand 460. Please visit here to arrange a meeting with the Global Railway Review team.