RUSSIA: A simplified procedure for remote interaction with freight customers has been established by Russian Railways to help prevent the spread of coronavirus infections.

In order to increase social distancing while supporting businesses, a procedure has been established for automatically prolonging contracts between cargo owners and the owners of private railways by three months. Documents that are expiring soon which are necessary for customers’ loading and unloading operations have been extended. In addition, RZD has dropped the requirement for illustrated diagrams of the layout of wagons carrying a number of cargoes, including buckwheat and other cereals, as well as for goods in covered wagons.

‘Using electronic document management and e-mail, the remote co-ordination of new cargo loading schemes, and certifications for cargo owners performing loading and unloading operations for the first time will ensure not only high-quality services and transparency, but will also protect the company’s employees and partners from possible infection through personal contact’, said Alexey Shilo, Director-General at RZD’s Centre of Corporate Transportation Services.

Russian Railways has reported an increase in the number of customers using electronic document processing since the beginning of March. More than 4∙5 million electronic documents have been issued, accounting for about 75% of the total and avoiding the need for contact with other shippers or railway workers.