The train, which left Chongqing, China, destined for Poland and Germany, was carrying 42 40ft containers for various customers. Kaztransservice, Kazakhstan, and Belintertrans, Belarus were also involved in the inaugural service as RZDL's transit partners.

"Introduction of CIM/SMGS common consignment note is a result of two years of work by the railways of all the transit countries involved," says Mr Pavel Sokolov, CEO of RZDL. "Shippers save time due to the reduction of container demurrage at border stations."

The system will also save money. The client is usually charged for re-issuing the CIM consignment note in place of SMGS note for each shipment at border stations. The introduction of the CIM/SMGS common consignment note will eliminate these extra payments.

The common consignment note is a customs document which is issued in both paper and electronic form according to European Union requirements for prior authorisation.