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Transit with a digital bias

Russian information technologies enter the international stage

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In November the participants of the 31st plenary meeting of the International Coordinating Council for Trans-Eurasian Transportation (CCTT) discussed new digital solutions for international freight traffic. They focused on the information technologies created within Russian Railways holding company including smart contracts, the Intertran system and the "Freight Transportation" electronic trading platform, as well as on the possibility of replicating them in other countries.

To deal with the digital transformation of the transit transportation process, the CCTT has a Working Group for Information Technology Development. The main tasks of the group are: the introduction of digital platforms and services, automation of interaction between railway carriers and external participants in the transportation process and state regulatory authorities, as well as the introduction of electronic document management and the development of "road + port" integrated multimodal services.

To expand information interaction with seaports, more than 40 terminals adjacent to the stations of the North Caucasus, Oktyabrskaya and Far Eastern Mainlines were connected in 2022 in the ACS-ACS mode (designed for data exchange between the "Etran" automated system and their own information system).

According to Inessa Yakovleva, Deputy Head of the CCTT Working Group for Information Technology Development, Deputy Head of the Informatization Department - Head of the Freight Transportation Automation Division of Russian Railways, the holding company has also implemented the technical possibility for those terminals that do not have their own automated control system. Today the relevant software is at the testing stage. The development of the smart contract technology continues.

"At the moment a new version of the system is being prepared with an interface finalized according to customer suggestions. In the future foreign companies may also join the participants in the transportation under smart contracts, "- said Inessa Yakovleva.

Special attention at the meeting was given to the INTERTRAN project, which is based on the idea of creating a seamless medium of information exchange between the maritime line operator, the carrier represented by Russian Railways, customs authorities, shippers and consignees.

Today this technology is replicated at all Russian railway stations that receive containers and is also used at regular transit services from ports in China, Vietnam, and other countries of the Asia-Pacific region to Belarus.

In order to expand the INTERTRAN project geography, negotiations with Kazakhstan Temir Zholy NC JSC (Kazakhstan Railways) are underway.

Gennady Bessonov, CCTT Secretary General, noted the particular need to replicate this technology in other Central Asian republics, such as Uzbekistan. However, it is important to take into account the speed of digitalization development in different countries. In this regard, it is worth considering creating an introductory version of the project and then moving on to the full one.

"The INTERTRAN Lite technology, which operates in the absence of electronic interaction with the customs, such as that of Russian Railways, has already been developed. This particular version is planned to be tested out in Kazakhstan before offering it to other participants," added Inessa Yakovleva.

An example of successful cooperation between the Russian and Kazakh parties is provided by the "Freight Transportation" electronic trading platform. This involves the return of empty rolling stock by Kazakhstan’s operators using paperless technology through a personal account.

Nikolay Rezvov, General Director of Digital Logistics LLC (manages the "Freight Transportation" electronic trading platform), reported that the project is implemented jointly with Kaztemirtrans JSC. Every month more than a thousand cars are returned to Kazakhstan.

Services with Belarus are developing, where TransRail-BCH (the official forwarder of the Belarussian Railways) acts as a partner in integration. In cooperation with foreign partners, it has already become possible to implement digital formats for empty fleet management in the territory of the neighboring country, transit shipments, as well as export and import of freight via a personal account.

Anna Yakusheva

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