After the leaders’ meeting on 29 April 2009,the railway trade associations have finished the important basic preparatory work which they had to do.
The technical specifications for the system, based on the functional and legal specifications which the CIT made available, have been finished by UIC and RAILDATA. These technical specifications include the data catalogue, the message transmission structure, and the catalogue of messages. They cover both the electronic consignment note and the electronic wagon note. They also provide for the option of creating a mixed system to allow both the electronic consignment note and the electronic wagon note to be used for just part of the journey in advance of their general introduction on certain flows of traffic.
The central system developed by RAILDATA to allow those railway undertakings that wish to exchange their EDI messages via a single interface has been finished and is ready is to be tested.
All the conditions for the implementation of the e-RailFreight system have thus been satisfied. It is now up to the railway undertakings to complete this next phase. The project leaders’ meeting nominated the first potential traffic flows. Nevertheless, some delays may be caused by the economic crisis.
In addition to the advantages which the electronic consignment note provides for the exchange of information concerning the contract of carriage, it also contains most of the information which the railway undertakings are now required to supply to customs authorities for European Union entry and exit summary declarations.
However, the obligation to send these declarations has been postponed to 1 January 2011, the e-RailFreight system will offer higher levels of safety for the movement of dangerous goods because it makes information for these traffics more widely available to allow for checks or in the event of incidents.
The project team will leave a small project organisation in place. This organisation will provide a structure for the railway undertakings that will be implementing the application early on to exchange views and will provide for further specific requirements to be investigated, for example, the needs of combined transport.