Russian Railways, together with the United Transport and Logistics Company - Eurasian Railway Alliance (UTLC ERA) and the port of Mukran in Germany, is implementing a new multimodal transportation project to deliver freight under a single CIM/SMGS document by container train between China and Europe.
CIM stands for “Uniform Rules Concerning the Contract for International Carriage of Goods by Rail”, while SMGS is the transliteration of the Russian abbreviation for the Agreement on International Goods Transport by Rail.
Plans are now underway to implement permanent multimodal transport services using a single CIM/SMGS invoice.
The first test train was dispatched on the Xian – Kaliningrad – Hamburg route with 42 forty-foot containers (84 twenty-foot equivalent units) carrying consumer goods, automotive parts and computer equipment.
On 12 November, containers from the 1,520 mm gauge track platforms were transshipped to feeder vessels at the container terminal in Baltiysk. From there, the feeder vessels will deliver the freight to the Mukran/Sassnitz railway port terminal in Germany, where they will be reloaded onto wagons for the European narrow gauge track of 1,435 mm.
The freight was delivered from Xinzhu station in China to the port of Baltiysk in 8.5 days. The total transit time on the route in both directions will not exceed 14 days.
A train heading in the other direction is scheduled to depart from Germany on 11 November, with the ship arriving at the port of Baltiysk on 13 November for onward delivery to China by rail.
For the first time, the unified CIM/SMGS invoice will be valid not only under two different legal regimes, but also on two modes of transport along the entire new Silk Road railway route, which is followed by container trains.
The single CSIM/SMGS transport document is valid under the legal transportation regimes of China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Europe, which makes it impossible for the invoice to be reissued while the train is en route. This in turn prevents the possibility of errors arising when documents are reissued and, in addition, optimises transportation costs, technology and delivery times.