BELGRADE – Government officials, railway companies, railway industry leaders and stakeholders from the Western Balkans gathered in Belgrade, Serbia this Thursday, for a landmark event introducing the cutting-edge Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) technology. Organised by the Transport Community in cooperation with the DAC4EU project and the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure of Serbia, the Digital Automatic Coupling demonstration event took place at the Novi Beograd Railway Station.
“As Serbia takes significant steps towards EU membership, we are making every effort to invest more in Serbia’s rail system, aiming to make it as advanced as those in the EU,” said Mr. Goran Vesić, Minister of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure of Serbia.
“This state-of-the-art technology will improve capacity, productivity and efficiency of rail freight transport. It will make transport of goods by rail faster, cheaper, safer, and overall more efficient and competitive. So, it is clear why this project is important for efficiency and safety but at the same time, it is also part of the EU’s investments into green agenda and let me tell you – the EU is on fast track in this field, with the train of investments towards zero emission environment,” EU Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Emanuele Giaufret, told the present participants and media.
“It is important to implement the Digital Automatic Coupling also here in Belgrade to connect Serbia from the beginning to European systems. This is an important piece for the integration of the country into the European Union,” German Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Anke Konrad, underlined.
“We recognise that the DAC system not only improves safety and efficiency but also promotes economic growth, environmental sustainability, and cross-border connectivity. It has the potential to unlock new opportunities for trade, enhance regional cooperation, and reduce the carbon footprint of our transport networks,” Transport Community Director, Mr Matej Zakonjšek, pointed out.
Digital Automatic Coupling is a game-changer in the evolution of rail freight and is set to transform the way rail freight operates, with its innovative approach to coupling and uncoupling rail vehicles. It enhances the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of the railway system.
The showcase event provided a platform for attendees to witness firsthand the benefits and potential of this groundbreaking technology, marking a significant milestone in the journey toward modernising Western Balkans’s rail system, aligning with European trends in sustainable and efficient transportation.
Following the event, the participants engaged in a panel discussion on the current state of DAC development, its general implementation program and deliberated wagon retrofitting and financing opportunities in the region. The panel discussion was participated by government and industry representatives from the Western Balkans and the European Union.
Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) is an innovative technology that automates the coupling and uncoupling of rail vehicles, revolutionising rail freight operations. It enhances safety, efficiency, and sustainability, making it a key driver of progress in the railway industry by eliminating the late 19th century manual coupling technology. So far, the coupling and uncoupling of rails has been done manually by the rail workers who were risking their wellbeing and safety in this time-consuming process. DAC promises to optimise rail transport, reduce emissions, enhance safety, and pave the way for a more connected and prosperous future in the field of transportation across Europe.
DAC can also be a gateway for heavier and longer freight convoys – depending on infrastructure characteristics- because of its higher capacity to handle longitudinal tractive forces compared to the actual screw coupling system. Moreover, it can enable telematics application with power supply as well as secure data communication throughout the entire train, being the basis for numerous additional application to increase operation efficiency, quality, safety, security, as well as maintenance an asset optimisation, supply chain digitalisation and reducing costs and time for rail freight operation.
Watch an informative video about DAC here.