Legal interoperability of CIM/SMGS facilitates freight traffic on the Eurasian Land Bridge

Apr 24th, 2012 | Category: April 12, Articles, Current issue F&L, Policies & Strategies

Within the project to make the CIM and SMGS consignment notes legally interoperable, the International Rail Transport Committee (CIT) and the Organisation for Cooperation of Railways (OSJD) are accordingly working as fast as they can on the implementation of a comprehensive contractual framework to allow these new traffics to be moved simply in administrative terms but with complete legal certainty. The CIT and OSJD are coordinating their work closely with the UNECE.

The progressive globalisation of the transport market creates new challenges for the railways. The major challenge is to provide freight terrestrial transportation between Europe and Asia over distances of over 10 000 km. On the key routes from Asia to Europe an increase in traffic of around 23% is forecast for 2011 while within Asia, a growth of 7% is anticipated. Operation of regular freight services by rail over the land bridge between China and Europe therefore moves closer and closer so the question of transport operators is therefore no longer whether but when.
International Rail Transport Committee (CIT) data show that in 2010 twice as many CIM/SMGS consignment notes were used as in 2009. In total 36,226 CIM/SMGS consignment notes were used to destinations in the Russian Federation, thus 12,550 came from the Czech Republic, 10,000 from Slovakia, some 6,000 from France and 3,000 from each of Germany and Hungary.
In the opposite direction, from the Russian Federation, we find out that some 35,000 such consignment notes were used, which means balanced traffic flows as indicated by CIT specialists. The greater part of the freight traffic likewise went to the Czech Republic and Slovakia and a total of some 10,000 consignment notes were directed to Slovenia, emphasising the importance of the port of Koper as regards the freight transport.
The proportion of the freight traffic (wagons and containers) along the territory of Poland, using the CIM/SMGS consignment notes, reached 50% in 2010, two thirds of which were only containers. Likewise, approximately two thirds of the container traffic which has transited Ukraine has used the CIM/SMGS consignment note.
Debates within the most recent seminar organised by CIT and OSJD at the end of November 2011, in Basel, Switzerland, referred to the review of the results obtained within the project for establishment of the legal interoperability of the CIM/SMGS consignment note.
A further step towards the consolidation of the legal interoperability has been taken with the set up of the Special Conditions of CIM/SMGS Liability (SC CIM/SMGS). These are standard provisions for liability in case of the loss of or damage to the goods. These special conditions replace the equivalent provisions in the separated CIM and SMGS, given that they will only be applied on a voluntary basis. Once these special conditions are finished and approved by the project commissions, they will become effective in 2012.
Nevertheless CIM/SMGS movements still remain subject to two distinct contracts of carriage, contracts which are themselves shaped by quite different regimes. The railway transport is the only mode of transport which has this unfortunate problem, compared to its competitors, road, sea and air transport which have surpassed these inconveniences.

[ by Elena Ilie ]

Comments are closed.