IT services reduce rail freight costs

The new technologies developed for traffic and rail vehicle management will be essential in order to reduce transport emissions not only in the EU, but also in all other countries. The race for sustainable mobility has taken worldwide amplitude. The delayed action and the not so straightforward introduction of new technologies might condemn the European transport industry to an irreversible decline. The EU transport sector faces a more and more fierce competition from worldwide emerging markets.

With regard to the primary European transport network, it would be necessary to implement IT-based instruments on a larger scale in order to simplify administrative procedures, allow freight location and tracking, optimize timetables and traffic flow (e-Freight). The adoption of such instruments should be encouraged by requesting their implementation on the TEN-T infrastructure and by progressively integrating modal systems.
“Rail transport is seldom considered as a non-attractive mode of transport, especially in terms of freight. However, as shown in the examples of certain member states, rail transport can provide quality services. The challenge resides in ensuring a structural change, in order to allow it to compete in an efficient manner and to take on a significantly larger share of medium and long-distance transport.
”The new White Paper on Transport published on March 28, 2011, stipulates that, in order to revitalize the rail freight transport sector, it is mandatory to create the proper framework for real-time freight tracking, ensure intermodal connections and promote green transport. It is also extremely important to actually put into practice the concepts of “single window” and “single administrative office”, by creating and implementing a single transport document in electronic format (electronic rail waybill), as well as by creating the proper framework for the implementation of location and tracking technologies, RFID etc.
“In the railway sector, the use of electronic rail waybills will allow us to save EUR 20 per waybill compared to the use of paper documents”, showed CIT representatives, emphasizing the need to introduce IT-based technologies.
“The e-Freight system for customer assistance was especially developed for Rail Cargo Hungary and its partners. The goal of this IT software is to ensure the exchange of electronic data and to allow data usage within the technological processes used during the freight transport activities”, said Rail Cargo Hungary officials. During the last decade, rail freight transport companies have become more efficient in terms of transport solutions. This allowed them to improve the services provided for customers. One of the ways to increase rail freight transport attractiveness is to reduce the volume of necessary documents.
According to RZD representatives, in order to provide high quality services in terms of transport and logistics (competitive, economically feasible costs, cheap yet quality services), the various modes of transport should benefit from efficient connections, especially when it comes to rail and maritime transport, and transport companies should interact with the state authorities. The International Rail Transport Committee believes that adopting IT-based technology is the best solution for railway companies to stay competitive. The response time to customer demands is crucial in determining the customer’s choice of supplier.

by Elena Ilie

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