From 13 to 16 October 2020, the World Customs Organization (WCO) successfully held the first Global Railway Workshop virtually via the KUDO platform with the support of CCF Korea. This first workshop aimed at understanding the current situation and challenges of railway transportation and exploring key elements for suitable Customs procedures and controls in railway transportation including digitalization of railway transit with standardized datasets. Over 120 participants from Member Customs administrations around the globe and 30 speakers from Customs administrations, International organizations and Academia who shared their experiences related to railway transportation gathered in this workshop.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, WCO Director of Compliance and Facilitation, stated that this Global Railway Workshop would provide an 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 harmonized and effective Customs procedures and controls in railway transport. He noted that the Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) 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) examined the harmonization 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 AEI 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 harmonized dataset on railway transportations with the guide of some interested members from DMPT.
“It is evident that a lot needs to be achieved on this area. All modern Customs practices currently discussed in the WCO, such as AEI, Single Window, Globally Networked Customs based on the WCO Data Model, and the use of Non-Intrusive Inspection equipment with artificial intelligence can all be utilized to facilitate and control railway transportation.“ the Director stated in his closing remarks.
He further suggested reporting the outcomes of this workshop to the PTC in the Spring 2021 and analyzing all the information shared during the workshop in order to develop possible WCO Guidelines on Customs procedures in railway transportation. At the end of his closing remarks, the Director called upon all of participants to continue with the same spirit to contribute to the development of such guidelines.