Freight projects

Rail Freight Corridors (ECCO)

With a view to strengthening the Railway Undertakings’ message in the European Corridor structures as defined by Regulation 913/2010, UIC has initiated a project designed to streamline processes across all railway undertakings and across all corridors.

Concretely the project will:

A) provide the necessary coordination and exchange of information between the advisory boards which will ensure Railway Undertakings’ needs are promoted efficiently

B) set up a structure to monitor progress and designed to provide regular feedback which will help put in place the necessary improvement measures whenever required.

With the coming into force of the European regulation 913/2010 concerning a European rail network for competitive freight, corridors are being established at their own pace with no obligation of coordination between them.
According to the regulation, Railway Undertakings only play a consultative role in activities to improve the corridors, within corridor-specific “advisory boards”.
In their consultative capacity, European railway freight operators wish to underline that, while each corridor may require specific action to improve its own freight operations, a coordinated approach to corridor improvements should be pursued across Europe.
Indeed, rail freight undertakings typically operate on more than one corridor. It is therefore important that operational and administrative rules are as consistent as possible across all corridors in order to promote rather than impede interoperability.

The UIC publication “Requirements of Railway Undertakings for the Implementation of European Rail Freight Corridors” isa list of 12 priority topics which need to be progressed on all corridors. These topics are analysed in terms of their importance for developing rail freight traffic and implementation proposals are identified for each.

Keepers ECM declaration

From 1 June 2013, all the wagons circulating on the European rail network and in the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) area must be assigned to a certified ECM.
The link between the wagon number, wagon keeper and the ECM of the wagon remains a problem. It should be available via the National Vehicle Register (NVR).

Since these are not fully operational in all countries, UIC – with International Union of Wagon Keepers (UIP) and UIC – has developed a new interim solution to bridge the gap.

In order to preserve legal compliance, the keeper self-declaration has been replaced by a “Keeper’s ECM declaration”. Under the auspices of General Contract for Use of Wagons (GCU) Joint Committee representatives, new "Guidelines for the Keeper’s ECM Declaration" have been developed. You can find enclosed the final version of these guidelines.

The 3 documents are attached below.

All keepers and keeper-RUs of the sector need to fill the 2 templates as soon as possible to the European Railway Agency (ERA) by email:

For any further detail please contact Mr Schmitt:

IFC - International freight contracts

The IFC projects aims to re-define the architecture of the commercial cooperation model between railway undertakings for single wagon load business in Europe.

Based on the production logic of the single wagon load transport most European railways are convinced to continue international Single Wagon Load in cooperation. Nevertheless, the current commercial model of cooperation suffers from a number of significant shortcomings: Volume losses due to lengthy offer process, due to cost-plus pricing logic and due to unattractive incentives, as well as high administrative costs per contract.

The project is organised as special group and the participating members are B-Cargo, DB Schenker Rail, Green Cargo, Rail Cargo Austria and SBB Cargo.


What’s TAF TSI

  • Is an open data layer across all rail actors
  • Is Compulsory -Became an CE Regulation on 17th January 2006
  • Implementation commitment of the rail actors is documented in the Strategic European Deployment Plan (SEDP), submitted to the EC in January 2007

What function has TAF TSI

  • Monitoring of freight wagons (and freight trains);
  • Marshalling and wagon allocation systems in trains;
  • Freight trains path reservation;
  • Connections with other freight modes;
  • Production of freight accompanying electronic documents

What is the Cluster TAF TSI

  • The TAF TSI Cluster led by the chairman of the UIC IT Study Group of the Freight Forum - organises, coordinates and supports the TAF TSI deployment among all RUs.
  • To ensure an effective and practicable approach to implement TAF TSI the Cluster set up working groups (WG) for each functional part of the TAF TSI.
  • The coordination between IM´s and RU´s is assured by common working groups for functional areas of TAF TSI that affect both.


Developing Infrastructure Use and Operating Models for Intermodal Shift

The DIOMIS project seeks to improve the competitiveness of international rail freight transport and encourage modal shift towards rail. To this end, it helps identify ways and means of decongesting the network of rail infrastructure and terminals and make them more attractive to shippers for international transport operations.

A key question addressed by this project is how to absorb the anticipated growth in combined transport volumes in the years ahead, on a rail network shared between different types of traffic and already highly congested.

For more information, please visit the DIOMIS website:


Advanced Terminal Management as a proactive contribution to intermodal value chain

AGORA was common learning action of the Marco Polo II Programme started in 2009.
The idea stemmed from the UIC DIOMIS project (commissioned from KombiConsult and Kessel&Partner) and its specific module on Terminals to which terminal managers were associated.

It soon became clear that further collaborative work would be beneficial to the sector. The AGORA Marco Polo project proposal addressed the issues of improved management capabilities of intermodal terminal operators throughout Europe and capacity increase by innovative and smart operational measures.

This Common Learning Action lead to the elaboration of a Good Practice Manual on efficient terminal management.

The Marco Polo project is now successfully finished and an EEIG was constituted.

Please, visit the AGORA website:


Customer-driven Rail-freight services on a European mega-corridor based on Advanced business and operating Models

The CREAM project is a project co-funded by the European Commission under the 6th Framework Programme. It has the aim to develop customer-driven rail freight services on the corridor Netherlands/Belgium – Turkey/Greece. The CREAM project analyses the operational and logistic prerequisites for developing, setting-up and demonstrating seamless rail on the aforementioned corridor.

For more information, please visit the CREAM website:


The project for real time tracking of combined transport block trains

In 2002, UIC’s Combined Transport Group, made up of 22 European railway companies, produced a model that made it possible to follow in real time combined transport block trains on three pilot routes.

As the system gave satisfaction, CTG decided to extend the project and to design an information system that would make it possible for customers to trace trains (international combined transport unit trains) in real time over the internet or by directly tapping into their own IT tracking systems.

Access to this system - called USE-it, for Uniform System for European Intermodal Tracking and tracing - will be encrypted.

Through USE-it, exchanging information will be done thanks to the setting up of IT interfaces between the present systems of railway companies as well as between their networks and and the USE-IT application.

After a tendering process at the end of 2003, a provider was chosen to develop the system.

Benchmark Freight Productivity

During 2008 UIC offered their members to participate in a rail freight benchmark study. The background of the study was that, over the last years, the competition in the rail freight sector has been increased by the entrance of new private freight companies as well as that incumbent railways have expanded their market into an international level. The increased competition has increased the pressure on the railways to reduce costs as well as improve their performance and productivity.

The project, Benchmark Freight Productivity, compares, on a bird’s eye view, the strengths and weaknesses between the participating railway undertakings with the aim to identify areas for improvement. The clusters which the railways compared their productivity were trains, wagons, locomotives and personnel within the single wagon load and block train transports.

The study will be offered to the members on a yearly basis. This will enable the railways to measure the impact of production changes between two years.

Please see below for disguised examples.

Benchmark example 2
Benchmark example 2
Benchmark example 1
Benchmark example 1


Project Start

On March 2008, about 20 RUs committed themselves to implement on July 2009 the technical specifications to forward paperless transports.
A project team has been created with reporting to a steering board in which some delegates of CIT and CER Customs working group and SGs from UIC are participating.
RAILDATA has been tasked to work on the technical specifications including a message structure and the needed data catalogue, and the message flow.

With a prerequisite to insure the functional equivalence with the paper based consignment note, the project team has been facing a few challenges.
One option taken by project team was to build up a version with a central system to allow a close cooperation with the RAILDATA members within ORFEUS.

The legal ownership of the project and the results (technical specifications and IT message) belong to UIC and his members. Basically the work done will be in free access and disseminated as far as possible to become a real standard.


The central project team has delivered in March 2009 a complete version of the technical specifications and at the same time RAILDATA created an Electronic Consignment Note (ECN) message.

DB Schenker Rail Deutschland and Fret SNCF use the paperless transport using the Electronic consignment note for all conventional transports.

Next Steps

Geographical Scope Extension to Trenitalia, RCA, ČD Cargo
Paperless transports for combined transports

Functional adaptations:

  • include Customs Data for Transit Declaration
  • adapt to legal requirements for dangerous goods
  • make compatible with CIM-SMGS for intercontinental transports

More information on the ECN in Orfeus:

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Friday 19 June 2015