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Legal expertise
for the benefit of the railways

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Committed to using electronic seals in international carriage by rail

The Group of Experts on Seals is working to adapt the international standards governing seals and the use thereof such that the documents meet the requirements of the present era.

The CIT Group of Experts on Seals held its 10th meeting in July 2021. The group met in Strasbourg at the invitation of Fret SNCF. It was the first time members had met in person for two years, previous meetings having taken place online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The consensus within the group was that meeting in person, in some cases for the first time, had a positive influence on its work, a view echoed by Chairman Mr Jürgen Scholz.

The main agenda items were updating the checklist for the sealing of wagons (Appendix 1 to the CIT Freight Manual (GTM-CIT)) and IRS40426 “Guidelines for sealing wagons and intermodal transport units”. Aims include enabling the use of electronic seals, to which end the Group of Experts on Seals has proposed amendments to the aforementioned documents in order to enable the use of electronic seals (digital solution) in future. In the experts’ view, the two documents – the checklist for sealing wagons and IRS 40426 – should be updated in parallel, since they are directly linked and need to remain consistent with one another.

From a transport law standpoint, there are no concerns hindering the use of electronic seals in future. In order to better understand the customs-related aspects, Ms Susanna Zappa (SBB Cargo) was invited to attend the Strasbourg meeting.

Concerning the updates to IRS40426, a solution has been found, on which participants will consult further at a separate online meeting in early March 2023.

The next meeting of the Group of Experts on Seals will be its 14th, and will take place on 19 April 2023 at the invitation of Rail Cargo Hungaria (RCH).

For the group’s 15th meeting on 8 and 9 November 2023 at CIT Headquarters in Bern, it is planned to organise a trip to the premises of UNISTO, a manufacturer of security solutions i.e. seals. The group is particularly interested in the electronic seals (digital solutions) developed by UNISTO.