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Oct 05, 2018

Russian Railways setting up digital transport and logistics hubs

A round table has been held to discuss The Unified Digital Platform of Russia’s Transport Complex. The main topic on the agenda was on increasing the efficiency and quality of customer service through the introduction of IT innovations in transport and logistics.

The round table was held within the framework of the International Transport and Logistics Forum PRO//Motion.1520, which took place in Sochi on 3 October 2018.

Yevgeny Charkin, Director of Information Technologies at Russian Railways, noted in his speech that the Company was already implementing a number of initiatives to develop digital technologies and platform solutions in the key areas of its activities. In particular, the development of a digital platform for organising and monitoring freight traffic and customer services is underway.

"The key project is the electronic marketplace, which we launched in 2017 and is developing very successfully. Over 3,000 customers have already ordered services using the platform and about 15-20,000 wagonloads are booked monthly. We expect these figures to increase and see the trading platform as a common element in building the rail sector’s digital platform as a whole. We shall integrate the platform with projects such as freight monitoring systems, the introduction of electronic seals and the construction of an electronic document management system," said Yevgeny Charkin.

The Russian Railways holding is also implementing an initiative to create digital transport and logistics hubs. Introducing information technologies into the transport and logistics complex will increase its efficiency by synchronising the plans of all participants in the supply chain, improving information exchange and forecasting traffic etc.

On the eve of the International Transport and Logistics Forum PRO//Dvizhenie.1520, OJSC Russian Railways and JSC Freight Village Kaluga signed an agreement on cooperation to implement the Digital Container Terminal project. This project envisages the integration of the technological processes at the terminal and on the railways, terminal automation, and the expansion of electronic document management in the organisation of container shipments.

"Another very important area for us is the creation of a new generation digital platform for providing services to our passengers - the Innovative Mobility project. This platform will include the ability to book and make a door-to-door journey using just one single electronic ticket and in addition offer the usual range of services during the trip: Internet access and other on-board services, including items such as travel sets for the journey and ordering food and tourist services," said Yevgeny Charkin.

The Director for Information Technologies at OJSC Russian Railways reminded the round table that in July 2017 the government approved the programme entitled The Digital Economy of the Russian Federation. Its implementation is intended to promote the development of the digital economy, in which data in digital form are a key factor of production in all spheres of social and economic activity.

As part of the programme, the Digital Transport and Logistics initiative was launched by the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Transportation, which united all the government-owned transport companies.

"Our task was to include in the programme four key technologies in the Industrial Revolution 4.0: big data, artificial intelligence, distributed registry systems and the Internet of Things. The initiative is designed to change the image of the transport sector with the help of these technologies. The transport industry today accounts for 20% of Russia’s total GDP and employs 6% of the total number of people in the economy. It is important that all types of transport, business representatives and customers take part in the formation and development of these new technologies, said Yevgeny Charkin.

The Association of Digital Transport and Logistics was therefore created to establish and develop a unified digital transport space on the basis of domestic technological solutions and software. One of the co-founders was Russian Railways.

"With regard to the Association’s activities, we plan to create several platform solutions. We need a platform for freight traffic and one for passenger transport. There will be changes in transport infrastructure management processes and a focus on environmental projects, transit potential and unmanned infrastructure," said Yevgeny Charkin.

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