These meetings focused on the use of a door-to-door single contract of carriage between Asia (recently China and the EU) and the legal interoperability thereof.
UIC participated in these meetings, held in Warsaw on 11 and 12 September and chaired by CIT (Berne) and OSJD.
These meetings, with the participation of representatives of China, highlighted:
- The increase in traffic between Europe and Asia despite seasonal variations, boosted by the opening of pilot links starting in China.
- Though rail traffic represents just 1% of trade between Asia and the EU, its growth remains dependent on return runs from the EU to Asia. DB Schenker plans to operate 36 intermodal trains on this route to China.
- Border crossing points and stations still need to be improved in order to take full advantage of reduced transit times. The 18 days needed between Shanghai and Duisburg can be significantly improved upon, with some 900-km days already integrated into the 8000 km route.
- Extending the use of the CIM/SMGS contract from the Baltic countries to the Black and Caspian Seas, including ferry routes and involvement, for the first time, of TCDD.
- The need for:
- Practical tools such as the CIM/SMGS consignment note manual. Continuous updating is needed with changes to the COTIF, its CIM annex, and the SMGS contract for OSJD members.
- Computerisation to make out contracts of carriage in all languages and character systems (Latin, Cyrillic or Chinese). The OLTIS group presented its “Document +” software.
- RAILDATA’s help in developing electronic contracts of carriage. The work underway confirms the need for a converter to transmit information in XML/Edifact format independently from the current messages issued by ORFEUS.
There is a positive market outlook for groupage and postal consignments from China. The railways already dominate this market on the section between China and Kazakhstan, and targeting this new market segment is an important part of boosting railway market share on these corridors. The Chinese postal service and integrators such as UPS are interested. CIT is to contact the Universal Postal Union in Berne on this issue.