Under the agreement, which was signed at last week's Transport Logistic 2013 exhibition in Munich, the Xrail members will implement capacity management on their wagonload networks, linked by a central capacity booking broker at the Xrail level, by 2015.

"We believe that customers will strongly benefit from the international capacity booking system, which will provide them with guaranteed allocated capacity and a reliable estimated time of arrival at the time of booking," says Xrail chairman Mr Ferdinand Schmidt. "Customers will see a higher standard in terms of quality, transparency, and commitment in international wagonload traffic."

In addition, Xrail has announced it will extend its network into northern Italy this year, when DB Schenker Rail adopts Xrail standards for its wagonload operations in the region. Rail Cargo Italia, a subsidiary of Austria's Rail Cargo Group, will also introduce the standards at the beginning of next year. This means around 30 locations in northern Italy will be served by the Xrail network.