When the liberalisation of rail freight transport began in Europe, there were constant efforts to eliminate formalities at border crossings in order to speed up the international carriage of goods by rail. These included the attachment of seals to covered wagons and closed intermodal transport units to comply with customs requirements and to provide evidence in transport law issues. In May 2007, a new UIC leaflet, UIC Leaflet 426 on standardised railway seals – Europlombs – was published in order to resolve difficulties arising from railway undertakings using seals with very different markings and technical features.
This leaflet has since demonstrated its value. To further improve the competitiveness, quality and security of the international carriage of goods by rail, however, the Working Group on Seals set up within the CER Customs Group has undertaken a thorough revision of the leaflet. The aim is to make it more user-friendly and also provide answers to numerous new questions relating to the seals and their use. At its meeting on 16 October 2013, the Working Group on Seals, in which the CIT is also represented to deal with aspects of transport law and the provisions covering its implementation, finalised the draft of the new leaflet, which was recently approved by members of the UIC Freight Forum in a vote by correspondence.
Approval of the new leaflet will result in a number of amendments to the CIT Freight Traffic Manual (GTM-CIT) that were accepted during the previous meeting of the CIM Committee that was held on 25 March 2014. To simplify the application of the provisions on seals, three new appendices will now be included in the GTM-CIT:
- Appendix 1 “Sealing irregularities”: this appendix is presented in tabular form and specifies what action is to be taken in the event of sealing irregularities, with a distinction made between irregularities that are noted on dispatch, during the journey or on arrival at their destination, and whether the consignments are under customs supervision or not;
- Appendix 2 “Addresses of contact persons responsible for dealing with issues relating to seals”: on the CIT website, the section entitled “CIT members’ address book” will be supplemented with an appropriate new directory;
- Appendix 3 “Flow chart for attaching seals to freight wagons in international transport”: this appendix is presented in the form of a diagram and is provided as an example only.
These amendments will come into effect on 1 July 2014.