CIM/SMGS consignment note simplifies cross-border procedures

The CIM/SMGS consignment note has been elaborated as part of a joint project of the International Rail Transport Committee (CIT) and the Organisation for the Collaboration between Railways (OSJD) to render interoperable the CIM/SMGS transport norms.

The implementation of the CIM/SMGS procedures is the responsibility of different rail goods transport companies. The CIM/SMGS consignment note simplifies and accelerates rail cargo transport on the West-East and East-West axis. It is known as a bank and customs document. Its instructions are included in the CIM/SMGS Consignment Note Guide. Currently, customers are not constrained to use the new document, the classic re-dispatching option being still valid for them.

What are the advantages of the CIM/SMGS consignment note?

The CIM consignment note defines standardised contractual specifications for international rail freight transport, while the SMGS consignment note includes the Contract of International Transport of Goods by Rail. Both transport contracts can be attached to a single A4 sheet, thus eliminating additional costs for activities which don’t provide added value, as well as errors by eliminating the transcription of consignment notes when traffic is re-dispatched. Consignment notes also elevate the level of legal security for all traffic participants.
The advantages also include a shorter transit period by reducing the time spent with filling in the  CIM/SMGS interfaces. Also, the authorities acknowledge the bill for carried goods attached to the consignment note as customs paper, if a credit letter is also attached. A software product is available to complete and imprint the consignment note and to deliver the data it includes. CIT and SMGS members benefit of discount when buying the software. The discount is also available for their customers.
The Guide implementation stage was made public on the 1st of July and includes the CIM/SMGS consignment note model and dispositions concerning its application. This consignment note is an alternative to the classic transport system which implies the transcription of the SMGS consignment note to a CIM consignment note or the CIM consignment note to a SMGS consignment note to the re-dispatching place.
“<<The legal interoperability CIM/SMGS >>project is tasked with eliminateing all barriers that we are responsible for. The first phase included the elaboration of a CIM/SMGS consignment note and I can say that this first phase of the project was a success”, declared in an interview for CIT Rail.org, Thomas Leimgruber, Secretary General CIT.
The CIM/SMGS Consignment Note Guide addresses to the CIT members and their customers, as well as to the SMGS participants, consigners and their consignees and apply to consignments subject to the CIM Uniform Rules on the one hand and to the SMGS uniform rules delivered together with a CIM/SMGS consignment note on the other hand. This Guide also applies to the goods carried by CIM consigners and SMGS railways and which remain at the re-dispatching location under the supervision of a CIM consigner or a SMGS railway.
Under the CIM scope of application, the Guide dispositions apply only in those situations when they are included on the contractual terms and conditions that are  mandatory for customers and in the collaboration contracts signed between carriers. Under the SMGS scope of application, the dispositions of the present Guide apply only on the traffic routes previously established by SMGS participants who apply the present Guide.
“The long term objective is a single legislative framework for transports from the Atlantic to the Pacific. A single standard legislative framework can contribute to a significant additional cut of transport costs and acceleration of traffic flows”, Leimgruber pointed out.

by Elena Ilie


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