The Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) promotes, improves and facilitates international traffic by rail. The main areas of activities of OTIF are technical interoperability, dangerous goods and railway contract law. OTIF develops uniform legal regimes for the contracts of carriage of passengers and goods.


The Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) is OTIF’s basic text.   COTIF contains seven appendices setting out technical, legal and contractual requirements to allow interoperability to be extended and improved between the countries which have ratified it. IMs will need to apply these rules in relation to international traffic.

EIM in action

  • EIM is an official negotiating party in OTIF’s revision committee;
  • EIM participates in OTIF Working Groups;
  • EIM supports seeking clarity on the scope of application of COTIF;
  • EIM aims to safeguard the financial sustainability of IMs, especially concerning the indirect liability regime/recourse of the carrier models.


  • During 2020, OTIF worked on the preparations for the entry into force of the ‘Luxembourg Rail Protocol’. This protocol aims to reduce the risk for those who finance rail equipment and rolling stock. It does so by setting up a new legal regime for the recognition and enforcement of securities, particularly those of lenders, lessors and conditional vendors when these securities are in railway rolling stock.

Outlook 2021

  • EIM will continue to participate in OTIF Working Groups and General Assemblies.
  • EIM will continue to closely monitor the output of OTIF’s legal group of experts and will communicate any proposed change or revision of the rules to members.
  • OTIF will hold its 15th General Assembly on September 28 and 29 2021.

Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail

Strategic Vision