Intergovernmental Organization for International Carriage by Rail

Organisation intergouvernementale pour les transports internationaux ferroviaires (OTIF)
Zwischenstaatliche Organisation für den Internationalen Eisenbahnverkehr

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Established 1 May 1985, on coming into force of Convention Concerning International Carriage by Rail, 1980 (COTIF), of 9 May 1980, when reorganization of statutory bodies dealing with CIM/CIV conventions resulted in an intergovernmental organization with a legal framework in international law. The 1st International Convention Concerning the Carriage of Goods by Rail (CIM) - originally called Bern Convention and later known as CIM - was signed 14 Oct 1890, came into force 1 Jan 1893 and amended in the course of several Revision Conferences (1986, 1905, 1923, 1933, 1952, 1961 and 1970). International Convention Concerning the Carriage of Passengers and Luggage by Rail (CIV) - known as CIV - was signed 23 Oct 1924 and came into force 1928. It was revised in ordinary Revision Conferences (1933, 1952, 1961 and 1970) together with CIM, ie Revision of the International Conventions Concerning the Carriage of Goods by Rail and of Passengers and Luggage by Rail (CIM, CIV). As the original CIV Convention did not include any provisions on railway liability in the event of death or injury, Additional Convention Relating to the Liability of the Railway for Death of and Personal Injury was signed 26 Feb 1966 and entered into force 1 Jan 1973.

The present Convention, COTIF, emerged from the 8th Revision Conference of 9 May 1980 and was signed by all member states of CIM and CIV; it came into force on 1 May 1985 and fundamentally reformed the structure of the Convention, not only setting up OTIF with a legal personality and with OCTI as its permanent Secretariat, but separating institutional provisions (which appear in the Convention proper) from rules on the Contract of Carriage. These latter appeared in two appendices: 'CIV Uniform Rules' for the carriage of passengers and luggage; 'CIM Uniform Rules' for the carriage of goods. Subsequent amendments to COTIF/CIV-CIM adopted by the Revision Committee, 14-21 Dec 1989, entered into force 1 Jan 1991, and those adopted on 28-31 May 1990 entered into force 1 June 1991. Further amendments to 'CIV Uniform Rules', to 'CIM Uniform Rules' and to the Convention proper are included in 1990 Protocol of December 20, 1990 amending the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail - COTIF - of May 9, 1980, entered into force 1 Nov 1996. A new version of COTIF, Convention Concerning International Carriage by Rail, 1999 (COTIF), extending its application, simplifying rules and adapting them to liberalization of the international market was adopted by the 5th OTIF General Assembly, 3 June 1999, Vilnius (Lithuania), and entered into force, 1 July 2006. Statutes registered in 'LNTS 4483'.


Promote, improve and facilitate international traffic by rail.

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Adapts international law on rail transport to new economic and technical requirements (ATMF, APTU); these Uniform Rules apply to any contract of carriage of passengers (CIV) or goods (CIM) between 2 Member States; CIM can also be applied to carriage between a Member State and a non-Member State if the parties to the contract so agree. Sets up rules for the carriage of dangerous goods (currently about half of all goods accepted for carriage) - 'Regulation concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID)'; RID Safety Committee has joint meetings with Group of Experts on the Carriage of Dangerous Goods of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the latter publishing similar regulations for road carriage under European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). Both regulations have been restructured, taking into account the structure of the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (model regulations) and their application extended. Organizes Training Courses and workshops on Transport Law, Technical Interoperability and International Transport of Dangerous Goods in respect of Carriage by Rail for administrative and railway staff. Other concerns include: cooperation with UNIDROIT in preparing for the entry into force of the Luxembourg Protocol to the UNIDROIT Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment (Cape Town convention) on matters specific to railway rolling stock; cooperation with UNECE and OSJD to establish a uniform legal system covering rail transport from the Atlantic to the Pacific; more cooperation with the European Commission and the European Rail Agency has been established concerning technical harmonization and interoperability, also with relevance to the technical appendices of COTIF 1999. Elaboration of measures for cross-border rail facilitation.


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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 20 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 12 non-governmental organizations.
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Members in 51 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Transportation, Telecommunications
    • Transportation
    • Railways
  • Government
    • Intergovernmental

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions



Last News Received

6. Mar 2020
* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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