Protocol of 3 June 1999 for the Modification of the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) of 9 May 1980

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Vilnius, Lithuania
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 01/07/2006


Transport and telecommunications

Sub category

Rail transport



What is it about?

This Protocol adapts the provisions of the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail to new needs of the international community and to the changes in international rail transport since the adoption of the Convention in 1980. The Protocol’s principal purpose is to harmonize its provisions with those of the Council Directive of the European Union on the Development of the Community’s Railways (91/440/EEC). The Directive separates the operation of infrastructure from the provision of transport services. It also grants the right to access railway infrastructure to railway undertakings and their groupings engaged in international combined transport of goods. The Protocol modifies the 1980 Convention in the following respects: change of the calculation basis for budget contribution, frequency of the General Assembly meetings, election of the Secretary General and participation of regional organizations. Four annexes to the Protocol establish uniform rules for the use of vehicles in international carriage by rail, the use of infrastructure, validation of international technical standards and the adoption of uniform technical prescriptions and admission of material used in international rail traffic

Why is it relevant?

By harmonizing the rules applicable to international carriage of passengers and goods by rail, this instrument reduces transport costs. It also determines the rights and obligations of carriers, consigners or travelers and deals with further legal issues related to international carriage by rail.

Additional Information

All Member States to OTIF may ratify the present Protocol and become a member to the modified Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (Berne, 09 May 1980).


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