Meeting of the OSJD Commission on Transport Law on SMGS issues
The meeting of the OSJD Commission on Transport Law on SMGS issues, organised by the OSJD Committee in the period from 20 till 23 October 2020 in a videoconferencing mode, was attended by the representatives of the OSJD members – SMGS participants from the following countries: Republic of Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Republic of Belarus, Hungary, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Georgia, Republic of Kazakhstan, People’s Republic of China, Republic of Latvia, Republic of Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Republic of Poland, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Republic of Estonia; OSJD Observer – Finnish Railways (VR Group), OSJD affiliated enterprises – Rail Cargo Hungaria Co., ‘PLASKE’ JSC, as well as CIT and OSJD Committee.
Mikhail Vsevolozhskiy, Deputy Chairman of the OSJD Committee, addressed the meeting participants with a welcoming speech, noting that, despite the difficult situation in most countries of the world caused by the coronavirus infection pandemic, the OSJD continues continue their purposeful work to improve the international legal documents. He expressed confidence that only joint work and partnerships would make it possible to overcome this difficult period in the OSJD activities.
The meeting participants reviewed the draft amendments and addenda to the SMGS and the Service Manual (SI) to the SMGS, previously agreed upon by the meeting of experts of the OSJD Commission on Transport Law on SMGS issues, held on 29-31 July 2020.
Taking into account the outcomes gained by considering the proposals of the SMGS participants, the meeting agreed on amendments and addenda to the SMGS Agreement and SI to SMGS and addressed the OSJD Committee with a request to approve them in accordance with the established procedure to come subsequently into force starting from 1 July 2021.
During the meeting, the proposal of the SMGS participant from the Republic of Kazakhstan to replace the concept of ‘rail-and-ferry traffic’ with ‘rail-and-water traffic’ was considered, as well as the views of the SMGS participants on this issue were taken into account.
At the proposal of the SMGS participant from the Republic of Kazakhstan, the meeting participants have decided to set up an OSJD Ad Hoc Working Group on the issue of rail-and-water traffic, as well as have determined the goals and objectives of this AWG.
The goal of the AWG is to develop a draft comprehensive modifications and additions to the SMGS Agreement and SI to the SMGS, aimed at solving the issues related to the carriage of goods under a single consignment note, provided that the consignment passes through several railway sections of the railway track connected by water crossings.
The objectives of the AWG include:
1) identification of problems in the implementation of the carriage of goods using railway and water transport, provided that the goods from the station of departure to the station of destination are not carried in a wagon or on their own axles along the water section of the track (rail-and-ferry traffic);
2) analysis of international experience in the field of intermodal freight traffic organisation;
3) analysis of the provisions provided for in the SMGS Agreement and the establishment of provisions requiring changes to achieve the objective which has been set forth;
4) preparation of the draft comprehensive modifications and additions to the SMGS Agreement and SI to the SMGS.
The SMGS participant from the Republic of Kazakhstan expressed a desire to be the leading duty holder on this subject. The SMGS Participants from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Poland, Russia and Ukraine, as well as the OSJD affiliated enterprise – ‘PLASKE’ JSC and a CIT representative, have expressed their wishes to participate in the work of the AWG.
The meeting participants agreed to hold the AWG meetings in 2021. The content of the works and their progress, as well as the timing of the AWG meetings have been reflected in the draft Work Plan of the OSJD Commission on Transport Law on SMGS issues for 2021. The proposal to set up the AWG was submitted for approval by the meeting of the Plenipotentiary Representatives of the Members of the OSJD Ministerial Conference and the Conference of General Directors to be held in December 2020.
The meeting agreed on the draft Work Plan of the Commission for 2021 on the subjects “Updating the SMGS Agreement and SI to SMGS” and “Updating Annex 6 to SMGS ‘Guidelines for the CIM/SMGS consignment note’”.