The increasing interest in using the CIM/SMGS consignment note for land transport between China and Europe, as well as the near implementation of CIM/SMGS in Black Sea transport are the first successful examples that would determine the future progress of this project. Compared to last year, the current increase of 20-30% in the share of using CIM/SMGS generates a percentage of a 70-80%, an almost complete coverage, in the application of the electronic document on the two continents for transport services (a situation confirmed by Deutsche Bahn, Uzbek Railways and Russian Railways which frequently apply this electronic transport document).
Using the CIM/SMGS consignment note, land transport between China and Europe can be performed in 16 to 18 days, twice as fast as by sea. Using the CIM/SMGS consignment note will also provide additional advantages to customs procedures being acknowledged as customs transit document which is very important particularly for the transport of dangerous goods.
Railway freight transport in Europe through the Baltic Sea ports and their integration in the Trans-Siberian railway route provide an additional opportunity for using the CIM/SMGS consignment note for combined railway-maritime transport ser-vices. However, a sustained effort is necessary from the members of the International Rail Transport Committee (CIT) involved in setting favourable conditions for Kazakhstan, China and other Asian countries to encourage them to frequently use the Baltic Sea ports, CIT informs.
What would a common legislation mean for Eurasian railway transport? It would mean development and the introduction of an appropriate and efficient international legal transport system, it would facilitate the international trade of goods and servi-ces, it would also facilitate the development of new infrastructures on the routes China – Kazakhstan – Mongolia, China – Europe, Iran – Pakistan or the North-South Corridor and it would offer a fair development level for railway freight transport between the two continents, Asia and Europe. In anticipation of the new unified legal framework at government level, the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) supports the railway and railway organisations involved in bringing about harmonized solutions on a contractual basis. In 2013, the ministers of transport involved together with the European Union signed the proposed Political Declaration prepared by UNECE Group of Experts. The Declaration is designed to express the relevant political will of the transport ministers responsible regarding the harmonisation of Eurasian rail transport law. Under the approved Political Declaration, the above-mentioned transport ministers invite interested railway freight companies, other stakeholders and international railway organizations to pursue work on the development of optional model rules for Euro-Asian rail transport contracts (GTC EurAsia), show the data of the International Transport Committee.
Based on these aspects, CIT announced last year that it completed the General Terms and Conditions for the Eurasian Transport (GTC EurAsia), a document to be presented and tested by specialized committees and organisations. The implementation of the General Terms and Conditions for Eurasian Transport will be made based on the International Private Law, including the difference of regulations and rules resulting from its implementation in different countries.
With such a solution, cross-border railway freight transport could be carried out between countries applying the CIM provisions and countries applying the SMGS, based on a transport contract. At the same time, it is equally necessary to examine in detail the national procedural law on the validity of such general terms and conditions for transport in the countries included on a transport corridor linking Europe to Asia. These measures should be compliant with the principles of optionality, with the principles of providing uniform contracts or with the conformity principles, with the relevant dispositions of COTIF/CIM Convention and SMGS Agreement on ensuring a single (common) transport document and, if possible, a single liability regime.