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International Trade: General Information on Transport and Distribution (Part Four)

Posted on Thursday, December 11th by

As a businessperson, you will learn that it is important to know all your options as far as shipping goods is concerned for different situations may require different shipping solutions. Let’s take a closer look at rail transport and the advantages and disadvantages of using this particular mode of transport in international trade.

Advantages of rail transport

Most businesspeople respond to the cost effectiveness of this mode of transport, but there are also a few other advantages rail transport offers that ought to be considered. One of them lies in a well-built railway network that spreads across Europe. Another lies in the fact that it provides a fast and cheap shipping option while also protecting the environment to a much greater extent than any of the other modes of transport.

Disadvantages of rail transport

Of course, there are also a number of disadvantages associated with rail transport that ought to be considered. Similarly to sea transport, additional transport may also be required in the case of rail transport to deliver the goods from the depot to the end destination. As expected, this adds to the costs, which can exceed those involved with road transport. It can also interfere with the delivery schedules, which, similarly to the routes, can be rather inflexible, particularly in remote places. Delays in delivery can also be caused by industrial action being taken or various mechanical issues occurring.

Cargo insurance and required documentation

Deliveries made by rail are governed by the regulations of COTIF (The Convention Concerning International Carriage by Rail, a set of regulations applicable in all the member states of the International Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF), which include a total of forty-five states in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

The CIM consignment note should also be mentioned in this context for it establishes the circumstances under which non-dangerous goods can be shipped by rail. According to the CIM regulations, any goods are insured against damage or loss from the time the carrier picks them up until delivery. As far as dangerous goods are concerned, they can only be moved if a dangerous goods declaration is provided along with a dangerous goods note. However, it should be noted that the note in question is included in the declaration. The regulations applicable to dangerous goods and their transportation are available as Annex I of RID (The Regulations Concerning International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail), which establishes the precise conditions in which dangerous goods can be shipped. RID includes a classification of these goods, a number of lists and special mentions or exemptions, information on the packaging requirements as well as carriage, handling, loading and unloading requirements. Also, it describes various procedures to be followed with this kind of deliveries.

If you are looking for more information on this particular type of transport, consult your legal advisor or your freight forwarder. They should be able to provide you with the information and specialised advice you need to be sure you are managing your deliveries properly.

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