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Given that the flow of information has a crucial impact on the efficiency of the railway border crossing processes, electronic exchange of information among railways could enormously increase the efficiency at the railway border crossings. In this background this study details the existing electronic railway information systems for facilitation of international railway transport.

The main objective of the study is to enhance the understanding of the railway officials of the region on options for sharing electronic information for efficient international railway transport.

The chapter on existing electronic information systems explains various systems in use globally for international railway transport. The following chapter explains the challenges to seamless flow of information along the international railway corridors. Different legal regimes for international railway transport due to which the consignment note data gets disrupted is identified as the main challenge. Similarly, for information exchange between railways and customs due to different legal requirements of the customs authorities along the corridors the flow of information gets disrupted.

Based on the review of existing electronic railway information systems, the next chapter identifies the key message exchanges required for smooth international railway transport. These include messages related to (a) consignment note data; (b) train handover sheet or train information; (c) rolling stock movement. It also provides information on existing international standards on those message exchanges. It is apparent that the process of developing solutions for possible integration of different systems is on-going such as the CIM/SMGS initiative, integration of TAF system into COTIF legislation.

It also observed that the integration of railway information exchange on the regional level is far more advanced comparing to the interregional one. The study identifies technically and legally mature systems of electronic data exchange, namely (i) TAF TSI in European Union and (ii) the system implemented in the 1520 mm railway network (including all the solutions developed by OSJD and CIS CRT).

Keeping in mind that the currently functioning electronic data exchange systems are based on intergovernmental agreements (EU legislation on TAF TSI, COTIF CIM, OSJD SMGS, decisions of the CIS CRT), one of the efficient ways for information exchange could be a intraregional intergovernmental arrangement on electronic data exchange (presumably, in the context of ESCAP) with the potential scope incorporating data exchange between railways, between railways and public authorities, and possibly the data exchange between different transport modes (multimodal dimension). Adoption of such intergovernmental decision would demonstrate the strong commitment of the parties and would provide an impetus for the future international cooperation on this subject.

The study emphasizes that the future activities on development of an electronic data exchange systems should involve tight cooperation between railways and customs authorities, as any diversity in implementation of various practical aspects of the system might lead to unwanted complexity.

For comments and suggestions: please contact Sandeep Raj Jain, Transport Division, at [email protected] or Tel: +66 2288 1426.

Transport Division +66 2288 1234 [email protected]