On 23 October the World Customs Organization (WCO) announced that from 13 to 16 October it had held the first Global Railway Workshop. This workshop aimed to understanding the current situation and challenges of railway transportation and exploring key elements for suitable Customs procedures and controls in railway transportation including digitalisation of railway transit with standardised datasets. Over 120 participants from Member Customs administrations around the globe and 30 speakers from Customs administrations, international organisations and academia who shared their experiences related to railway transportation gathered in this workshop.
In his opening remarks the WCO’s Director of Compliance and Facilitation, stated that this Global Railway Workshop would provide a unique and exclusive opportunity to connect railway and data experts globally to discuss possible solutions for ensuring sustainable supply chains in railway transportation.
The Director also drew participants’ attention to the expansion of railway freight transportation and the demands for harmonised and effective Customs procedures and controls in railway transport. He noted that the Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) had discussed the topics of electronic transit declaration, Advance Electronic Information (AEI) and cargo inspection with modern technology in 2018 and in 2019 and that the Data Model Projects Team (DMPT) had examined the harmonisation of data exchange in railway transportation.
During this event, participants had an opportunity to exchange experiences and views on railway transportation, including current transit procedures and cooperation with the railway sector and adjacent Customs for better control of railway cargo. The need to use AI was strongly advocated and experiences in the use of advance technologies such as railway X-ray stations, e-seals and the monitoring of railway movement with 5G networks and drones were shared. Furthermore, participants took part in the ongoing WCO Data Model mapping efforts to develop a harmonised dataset on railway transportation with the guidance of some interested members from DMPT.
Story by: Riaan de Lange