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Legal expertise
for the benefit of the railways

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News from the CIM Working Group

Due to the pandemic, the 31st meeting of the CIM Working Group in early December 2021 was held by video-conference. The freight sector is at a major strategic crossroads, and the choices made now will be crucial to the work of the CIM Working Group and CIM Committee in the years to come.

These strategic courses of action concern, on the one hand, the further development of the CIM UR in the light of ongoing digitalisation and the emergence of different models of carriage. On the other, the CIT Freight products need to be enhanced to better cater for these new business models. The meeting discussed the ongoing updates being made to the CIT Freight products following the decisions taken by the CIM Committee at its meeting in March 2021 (see CIT circular 11/2021). An ad hoc sub-group reporting to the CIM Working Group has been working hard to improve IT compatibility between the various models of carriage and the associated order management roles used in CIT members’ systems. At the same time, the correct and uniform data entries in the CIM consignment note need to be harmonised with the legal requirements of the CIM UR.

In Europe-Asia rail freight, the consignment notes currently used (CIM, SMGS, as well as the harmonised “CIM/SMGS plus” consignment note) are often not accepted by banks in L/C business as a sufficiently secure basis for documentary credits. CIT and OSJD therefore wish to further develop railway consignment notes and supply them with additional functions as letters of credit. This work is independent of the expert-level discussions at UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law), which aim to create a transferable, tradable digital transport document (Bill of Lading) for multimodal freight movements using multiple modes of transport including rail.

The other major factors with a bearing on work in the Freight sector are ongoing digitalisation, the entry into force of EU Regulation 2020/1056 on electronic freight transport information (eFTI), and the implementation of the EU Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF) project. The CIT GS is also actively involved in revision of TAF TSI, in close collaboration with CER and the Joint Sector Group (JSG). In this context, the railways’ existing, tried-and-tested IT solutions should be adequately factored into work so that earlier investments such as RailData and XRail remain usable as far as possible. The DTLF project will analyse multimodal data use in depth, since developments in this area may have far-reaching financial impacts on CIT members.