First container train from China to Europe on single transport document arrives by multimodal route at Baltiysk
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 trains between China – Europe – China.
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 Agreement on International Goods Transport by Rail.
It is planned to organise multimodal transport on a single CIM/SMGS invoice on a permanent basis.
The first test train was dispatched on the Xian – Kalingrad – Hamburg route with 42 forty-foot containers (84 Twenty-foot Equivalent units) carrying consumer goods, automotive parts and computer equipment.
On 12 November 2019, containers from the 1520 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 railway port terminal Mukran/Sassnitz in Germany, where they will be reloaded onto wagons for the European narrow gauge track of 1435 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 further delivery to China by rail.
For the first time, the unified CIM/SMGS invoice will be valid not only in two 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 transportation document is valid in the legal transportation regimes of China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Europe, which makes it impossible to reissue the invoice 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.