Commercial exploitation of refrigerated transport

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Russian: коммерческая эксплуатация хладотранспорта


Routes and Structure of Perishable Freight Transportation

The location of major regions of perishable freight production and consumption both in Russian and CIS countries determined quite stable transportation routes. The range of freight transported on major routes and the share in total dispatch is stated in the table below.

Basic transportation routes of perishable freight
Route and freight Share in total dispatch  %
Caucasus Fruit, vegetables, spring greens, wine, meat, fish, cucurbits crop, canned goods, citrus fruit 25
Crimea and South Fruit, spring greens, wine, meat, fish, cucurbits crop, canned goods, citrus fruit 6
South-west Fruit, grapes, dead poultry, wine, oil, imported fruits and vegetables 23
Murmansk Fish. Back routes: fruit, vegetables, meat and oil 7
Far East, Siberia Fish and fish products, caviar, canned fish, imported horticultures (fruits, cucurbits crops) 18
Central Asia Fruit, vegetables, melons, canned goods, wine 9
Astrakhan Fish and fish products, tomatoes, watermelons 7
Baltic Fish and fish products, canned fish, meat, oil etc. 5

The following goods make major part of perishable freight transportation by weight (in percentage terms):

  • Horticultural goods — 29;
  • Canned goods — 24;
  • Wine, beer, mineral waters and other drinks — 19;
  • Fish and fish products — 11.
  • Cumulative percentage of the remaining goods makes about 17 %.

The balance in transportation of the aforementioned freight groups is quite stable and (according to specialists’ estimates) can vary from 60 to 80 %. The percentage of the remaining goods varies from 1.5 % (eggs) to 8.5 % (fresh, pickled and dried vegetables). The perishable freight can also be evaluated in terms of monthly freight distribution, which is quite irregular. 6…7 % of the annual freight turnover is realized on monthly basis within the period from November to July; but within the period of August - October the share of monthly shipment varies from 11 to 15 %. The freight traffic structure according to the temperature transportation conditions is as follows:

  • Frozen and low temperature cargo – 38 %;
  • Freight transported within the temperature range of 2 to 5°С – 42 %;

Within the last 10 years the scope of imported perishable freight delivery increased, namely meat products, tropical and subtropical fruit and cucurbits crops. One should also take into account that in Soviet times the horticultural products were transported basically within summer and transition (autumn) periods, and today the railroad transportation of horticultures is performed the year around.

Accompanying Documents, Drawn for Railroad Perishable Freight Transportation

Upon provision of perishable freight for transportation the consignor should submit the freight quality document, namely, quality certificate or quality acknowledgement, or extract from the certificate of expert's examination for each carload or container dispatch to the shipping forwarder apart from way-bill. Each of the aforementioned documents is to be drawn as of the date of shipment. The quality document should state the exact name, quality conditions, daily freight transportability term and the freight temperature before the shipment, apart from that:

  • For cooled and frozen freight – product temperature upon freight car loading;
  • For cooled and refrigerated meat, dead poultry – the date of slaughter;
  • For pressed bakery yeast– production date, resistance, raising, humidity and acidity;
  • For horticultural freight – pomology (for grapes – ampology), harvest date;
  • For margarine, bakery, culinary and confectionary bar fats – hardness factor;
  • For freight transported in refrigerator freight car – the assumed variations of temperature in compliance with the regulatory documents.

Apart from that the consignor should submit the following documents:

  • During transportation of seed-bearing fruits, stone fruits, citreous fruits, bananas, berries, vegetables, cucurbits crops and potatoes – the document on toxicant agent contents in the crop production and compliance with the order of pesticide chemical application;
  • During transportation of food substances and animal origin goods – veterinary certificate or veterinary health certificate in compliance with the railway transportation regulations, under the control of State Veterinary Inspection;
  • During dispatch of horticultures, living plants, seeds or planting material from quarantine areas, as well as during export-import transportation of such freight – phyto- sanitary (quarantine) certificate in compliance with the quarantine goods railway transportation regulations.

On the reverse side of the way-bill in section “Special notes of consignor” consignor should state the name, number and the date of issuing the documents submitted. In case of freight transportation in refrigerating section the consignor should submit way-bill and other accompanying documents for each freight car. The quality documents should not be issued in respect of pre-packed mineral waters, grape and fruit wines. For the transportation of perishable freight in HC- hot food containers and IW- hot food containers the consignor should additionally state the transport vehicle used for freight supply, supply distance, freight temperature and outdoor air temperature in quality certificate apart from information stipulated by the regulations. If the freight, its qualities or transportation safety precautions or special notes are stated in the way-bill in incorrect way and if the consignor dispatches the unauthorized perishable freight, the consignor should pay a fine stipulated by the shipping forwarder.

Loading, Unloading and Delivery of Perishable Freight

The loading of perishable freight to freight refrigerator and covered freight car is generally performed in non-public areas at the station. Loading (unloading) of refrigeration sections on several stations can be permitted by the shipping forwarder on certain instructions. The consignor’s delivery of perishable freight for the loading operations in public areas should be permitted only on the grounds of approved transportation request as of the corresponding shipping day. Within the summer and transition period of the year frozen, subfrozen and refrigerated freight as well as freight, not to be frosted within winter period, should be delivered by the consignor to the loading point in conditions protecting from open air influence. Within freezing temperature conditions the consignor should take all the measures to prevent the subcooling or light freezing of horticultures during the loading process. It is permitted to make transportation of various perishable freights in one freight car or container, if such goods do not let out or absorb each other’s flavor and have equal transportation conditions and service conditions. The way of loading perishable freight should be determined by its thermal stability and heat-exchange regime of the loading area. Consignor should be responsible for the accuracy of freight loading in freight cars of consignor’s trucks, shipping forwarder should be responsible for the accuracy of freight loading in freight cars of shipping forwarder. In order to check the compliance of freight, container and package with the regulatory document requirements the consignor should provide the regulatory documents approved in the stipulated order (GOST, UST, TU). In case of non-compliance of freight, container or package to the regulatory documents or in case of non-provision of these documents the shipping forwarder has the right to reject the transportation. Shipping forwarder and the owner of public domain railway transport infrastructure have the right to perform random inspection of the quality of the perishable freight to be transported, the package and its compliance with the regulatory documents. The inspection should be performed in the process of freight submission for transportation. The temperature of frozen, subfrozen and refrigerated freight should be measured as of the time of car loading. Opening of certain fright and subsequent freight packing after inspection, as well as sealing of freight cars and containers by locking- filling devices should be provided by the consignor. Shipping forwarder and the public domain railway transport infrastructure owner should not perform any inspections of the freight compliance according to the freight gradeability, as well as quality of freight in integral sealed package and containers (cans, bottles, barrels) upon provision for transportation and delivery. At the destination stations HC- hot food containers and IW- hot food containers with perishable freight should be unloaded on a first-priority basis. Upon perishable freight delivery the shipping forwarder at the destination stations should check (at his own expense) the state, mass and quantity of goods in the following cases:

  • Violation of delivery term;
  • Nonobservance of temperature conditions in case of transportation in refrigerated fright cars.

Upon termination of unloading the Refrigerated Transport Department employee or acceptance/delivery agent of the station within the route of refrigeration section or ARW should state the availability or non-availability of commercial report on damage or decrease of freight quality. Upon drawing of commercial document regarding the perishable freight damage, transported in the refrigerator freight cars with certain temperature conditions, the commercial document should be accompanied with the extract from work sheet on route temperature conditions, signed by the Head of Service Department. Upon termination of unloading operations the consignee undertakes to clean the freight car and containers from the remains of freight and rubbish on his own account. Upon termination of unloading operations of perishable freight, all the freight cars including those subject to washing-out and veterinary-sanitary treatment, should be sealed in the stipulated order:

  • By consignee or shipping forwarder at the expense of the consignee:
  1. By locking- filling devices (hereinafter – LFD) – unexceptionally upon unloading of specialized freight refrigerator rail vans and refrigerator containers;
  2. LFD – in case of forwarding covered freight cars for veterinary-sanitary treatment of the second and third categories in compliance with the veterinary assignment, issued by the State Veterinary Inspection;
  3. The corresponding whirl– in case of forwarding covered freight cars for veterinary-sanitary treatment of the first category, and covered freight cars, not requiring washing-out and assigned for regulating tasks.
  • By shipping forwarder:
  1. The corresponding whirl – in case of forwarding covered freight cars after washing-out and all types of veterinary-sanitary treatment;
  2. LFD – after washing-out and veterinary-sanitary treatment of refrigerator vans and hot food containers, as well as in case of sending the refrigerator vans for the loading and return to foreign railways.

The storage of perishable freight at the station’s warehouse should not be permitted. Consignee should immediately clear the stores. Practical storage life and transportation from the station is determined by the Regulations and for the majority of perishable freight makes 6 - 12 hours, for persistent freight it makes up to 1.5 days.

Perishable Freight Reforwarding

Perishable freight reforwarding of upon observance of transportation time limit should be permitted:

  • At the initial assignment stations – upon drawing of a new carriage document, except for transportation of freight according to shipping documentation of direct international transport with the corresponding new freight quality document provided;
  • En route, except for transportation of freight according to shipping documentation of direct international transport - on initial shipping documentation without provision of new freight quality document assuming that the freight is delivered to the new destination station before expiration of its transportability term stated in the quality document;
  • Imported and exported perishable freight, transported on shipping documentation of the corresponding international transport – on initial shipping documentation and freight quality document, if the freight transportability term, stated in this document or extract from the examination report, expires after its delivery to a new destination station.

Perishable freight reforwarding should not be permitted:

  • If the freight transportability term, stated in the quality certificate, expired or expires before the term of goods delivery to a new destination station;
  • In case of freight transportation on special conditions, save as otherwise provided by the parties;
  • certain freight cars with the freight with the detachment from the refrigeration section.

Perishable freight reforwarding, controlled by the State Veterinary Inspection authorities or authorities of State Plant Quarantine Inspection of Russian Federation Ministry of Agriculture, should be performed according to the railway freight transportation regulations, under the control of State Veterinary Inspection and railway quarantine freight transportation regulations correspondingly. Perishable freight reforwarding upon expiration of delivery period can be permitted only after check of freight quality and condition with the issue of the new quality document.

En-route Perishable Freight Escorting

The transportation of perishable freight and food commodities, requiring special care, heating and ventilation should be escorted by conductor of consignors or consignees. The list of perishable freight and food commodities, to be escorted and protected within the route should be made in compliance with the “Railway freight transportation regulations with escort and protection of consignors, consignees”. The following goods should be escorted by conductors:

  • Within the whole year:
  1. Wine, wine stock, cognac spirit, fermented- alcoholic juices in specialized tank freight cars, tanks -hot food containers;
  2. Wine, vodka, cognac in open boxes;
  3. Plants and natural flowers;
  • Within the winter period in covered heated freight cars– wine, all types of canned goods (except for stew), distilled beverages (liqueurs, punch, fruit liqueur, dessert liqueur, balms), fresh horticultural goods.

The heated transportation of perishable freight and food commodities within the winter period escorted by the consignor’s or consignee’s conductor should be performed with the outdoor temperature at least 25°С below zero within the whole route and transportation range not exceeding 5000 km. In case of heated transportation of perishable freight within the winter and transition periods using single freight cars the shipping forwarder provides covered freight cars without any optional equipment. The furnace and furnace facility should be provided by the consignor, and should be approved by the consignor or shipping forwarder on the ground of the contract. In certain cases on a contractual basis and by authority of the shipping forwarder and the owner of railway vehicles the conductor can follow in the railway service freight car of refrigeration section.

LCL Perishable Freight Transportation

LCL transportation of perishable freight should be performed in package only. LCL transportation of perishable freight should be accepted only from one dispatch-station to one destination station from one consignor to the address of one consignee. In this regard the acceptance of LCL can be performed both in public and non-public areas, and unloading only in non-public areas. LCL transportation of perishable freight, requiring special temperature conditions, should be made in ferry ARW, and the freight not requiring special temperature conditions – in ferry covered freight cars. The limiting transportation deadline of perishable freight LCL, requiring special servicing (refrigeration, heating, ventilation), should not exceed deadline transportation date, stipulated for carload shipment of the least resistant of the freight provided. LCL of perishable freight, requiring equal temperature conditions in the process of transportation and not having adverse impact in respect of each other, should be loaded in one freight car. Upon LCL transportation of perishable freight one should observe the Regulations on LCL railway freight transportation.

Acceptance of Perishable Freight for Transportation According to rRgulatory Requirements and Special Conditions

The terms to be observed in strict adherence to working regulations of freight transportation are considered to be normative conditions of perishable freight acceptance for transportation namely:

  • Compliance of freight quality, its package and container, packaging materials with the technical conditions and state standards;
  • Compliance of freight temperature during loading with the type of its thermal pretreatment, Regulations requirements and information stated in the quality documents;
  • Compliance of stated temperature conditions of transportation and freight ventilation regime with the Regulations;
  • Nonavailability of intentional en route freight thermal treatment with the decrease of its initial temperature (apart from horticultures);
  • Compliance of freight stowage in the freight car with the type of its thermal pretreatment and Regulations;
  • Compliance of delivery term and freight transportation deadline.

In the process of goods acceptance for transportation on the ground of stipulated order shipping forwarder should bear liability for possible decrease of freight quality. Upon non-fulfillment of the terms of goods acceptance for transportation on the ground of stipulated order the shipping forwarder can accept the freight on special terms, namely transportation requiring additional perishable freight preservation measures, when the transportation cannot be performed on the grounds of the working Regulations. Perishable freight transportation on special terms should be performed in compliance with the article 8 of the Articles in the following cases:

  • If the perishable freight transportation deadline is not stipulated by the Regulations;
  • If the imported perishable freight follow seaports with the destination at the railway stations of the Russian Federation;
  • In case of non-compliance of quality of freight, its package or shipping container with the regulation of technical standard documentation;
  • If new types of container, package or freight packing materials are used;
  • As may be required from time to time (on the initiative of freight owner):
  1. In case of perishable freight transportation for the term exceeding freight transportation deadline, stipulated by the Regulations, or transportability term;
  2. In case of use of railway vehicles, not suitable for the perishable freight transportation according to the Regulations;
  3. In case of experiment perishable freight transportation;

In other cases not stipulated by the working Regulations: Special conditions should be approved by the shipping forwarder and the consignor concerned on contractual basis. In this regard the shipping forwarder shall not be responsible for the decrease of quality of the goods transported. The transportation of imported goods through Russian border, transfer stations with subsequent reload at these stations can be performed on special conditions by agreement between the shipping forwarder and the consignee. It is permitted to make the aforementioned contracts with the forwarders, approved by the consignors and consignees. Upon freight transportation on special conditions the consignor should make the corresponding note in the original transport rail consignment note (hereinafter – way-bill) and motor waybill in section “Goods” under goods name. If upon consideration of the transportation possibilities on special conditions the temperature conditions or any other transportation terms stipulated by the consignor cannot be assured within the scope of carrier vehicles available, shipping forwarder shall have the right not to accept the goods for transportation.

Unsafe perishable freight transportation and claims activities

Unsafe transportation comprises misappropriation, loss, damage, fault, underweight or space deficiency for perishable freight. Misappropriation comprises the cases proved by the documents and revealed:

  • In case of breach of walls, floor, doors, manways and other enclosing structures of freight cars and containers;
  • In case of break of seals, locks and whirls;
  • Upon detection of evidence of damage or seals forgery;
  • In other circumstances proving the fact of misappropriation.

Space deficiency comprises the cases of non-conformance of the number of places available to the number of places stated in the way-bill, and the investigation proved the deficiency was not caused by the misappropriation and apart from that the freight:

  • Was accepted on the ground of space estimation, loaded using shipping forwarder facilities and was delivered with the accurate station’s seals;
  • Loaded using freight owner facilities and was delivered in the defective car;
  • Was delivered with defective seals or with the seals of trailing stations.

Underweight comprises the cases of freight weight as compared to the weight stated in the way-bill following:

  • Incorrect weighing or incorrect indication of freight weight by the acceptance/delivery agent of the shipping forwarder in the process of loading using shipping forwarder’s facilities;
  • Defects of freight package, loaded by the forwarder’s facilities;
  • Freight, delivered with the broken seals of loading point or sealed by the trailing stations.

Losses, damage and fault of freight comprise the cases of full or partial destruction, damage or fault of freight caused by:

  • Negligent loading, unloading or freight segregation using shipping forwarder’s facilities;
  • Accidents, breakdowns, fires, automatic shunting;
  • Loading using shipping forwarder’s facilities in the railway vehicles, defective in commercial terms;
  • Violation of the corresponding delivery term or improper en route maintenance of freight.

All unsafe transportations should be drawn in the form of commercial documents (forms ГУ-22), and in certain cases, for example break of sealing, by the general certificates. The Head of the station on his own initiative or upon request of the consignee should designate the examination for determining the reasons of loss or damage of perishable freight as well as the extent of damages, to be performed in the presence of Head of the station (its Deputy, Head of goods terminal) consignee and refrigerated transport department employee. The certificate should comprise the note on holding examination. In case of defective transportation of perishable freight the certificate should comprise monitored information: extracts from the work sheet of the freight car (section) on temperature conditions and work of cooler-heater. There is a certain order approved for drawing and consideration of claims – requests of the consignor or consignee, with provision of the corresponding information on unsafe transportations of freight, claim amount, applicant’s address, his account number, date of drawing. The claim should be accompanied by the receipt on acceptance of goods for transportation, way-bill and original commercial document. The losses on unsafe transportations should be differentiated based on the reasons, analyzed and subsequently the remedial procedures should be developed. The liability for the losses incurred without unauthorized tampering should be fully classified as technologic and organizational shortfalls of refrigerated transport work:

  • Insufficient control over the completeness of documentation and the state of perishable freight and package at the loading station;
  • Violation of the order of freight cars preparation for transportation;
  • Nonobservance of train makeup plan, including the freight cars with the perishable freight and the corresponding delivery term;
  • Nonobservance of operating conditions of transportation terms;
  • Operations on acceptance, loading, unloading, delivery and reconsignment of freight is performed with violation of Regulations;
  • Adoption of inadequate operational measures in connection with adversary en route circumstances (partial or full failure of refrigerating and freight car equipment, natural disasters etc.).
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