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News from the 32nd meeting of the CIM Working Group

The 32nd meeting of the CIM WG was held as a hybrid meeting and was chaired by Cristian Cuenca (DB Cargo) at CIT headquarters in Bern. In accordance with the decisions taken at the 25th meeting of the CIM Committee, all updated and newly digitally-signed versions of the CIT freight products have been posted on the CIT website at https://cit-rail.org/en/freight-traffic/products/manuals/ and entered into force as scheduled on 1 July 2022.

Further digitalisation of CIT freight products

In the course of work to include the rules governing the electronic formal report in the CIT Freight Manual (CIT20a GTM-CIT), and in the broader context of CIT’s work to further digitalise the CIT products, it has become clear that to meet the requirements of an increasingly digital world, it will not be enough to confine this process to the electronic formal report alone. Based on the long-term digitalisation plan for the CIT freight products developed at the CIM Working Group’s 30th meeting (presentation of concept) and 31st meeting (presentation of first drafts), the CIM Committee at its 25th meeting voted to continue work accordingly at the 32nd meeting of the CIM Working Group, tasking the CIT GS with preparing further proposals for digitalisation of the working sheets plus appendices of the CIT freight manual (GTM-CIT).

Based on the feedback received during discussions at the 32nd meeting of the CIM WG, the CIT GS will prepare Part A “General” of the working sheets and Appendix 10 of GTM-CIT for a final vote. Ahead of the 33rd meeting, the CIT GS will then check whether other appendices can be usefully revised in the interests of greater digitalisation; the outcome of these enquiries will be communicated to the CIM Committee for endorsement in good time ahead of its meeting in March 2023.

OTIF questionnaires on the CIM UR

On 11 May 2022, the OTIF ad-hoc Committee on Legal Affairs and International Cooperation and the OTIF Working Group of Legal Experts released two consultations in the shape of two questionnaires, one on electronic rail transport documents, the other on the rules governing transferable transport documents in rail traffic. OTIF Member States, regional organisations that have acceded to COTIF, and interested partners - including CIT - had until 6 July 2022 to respond to the questionnaires. The responses sent to the two consultations may impact on the possible revision of articles 6 §§ 5 * and 9 ** CIM.

Based on proposals from the CIT GS, the questionnaires were discussed and the responses finalised at the 32nd meeting of the CIM Working Group. The CIT GS communicated CIT’s replies to the OTIF GS by the deadline.

Impact of EU Customs Code on CIT freight products

Assuming it is not extended, by the end of 2023 the simplified transit procedure for rail will no longer be permitted in European Union (EU) Member States or in states which are parties to the “EU-EFTA convention on a common transit procedure”. The precise date varies from one country to another, and depends on when they upgrade their national customs IT software for NCTS Phase 5. With the end of the simplified transit procedure, the paper CIM consignment note can no longer be used as a transit declaration by ticking box 58b, and will thus lose a significant customs functionality.

A sub-group reporting to the CER Customs Working Group, in which the CIT GS has actively participated, has addressed the question of what other consequences the end of the simplified transit procedure will have on the CIM consignment note, in particular which customs-related boxes or datasets/subsets will become dispensable and which will remain relevant. This strategically-important work will continue at the forthcoming 33rd meeting of the CIM Working Group.

*Article 6 - Contract of carriage § 5 The consignment note shall not have effect as a bill of lading.
** § 9 The consignment note and its duplicate may be established in the form of electronic data registration which can be transformed into legible written symbols. The procedure used for the registration and treatment of data must be equivalent from the functional point of view, particularly so far as concerns the evidential value of the consignment note represented by those data.