It is generally believed that the use of digital technologies at the very least minimizes time expenditures, as well as costs. "However, for some market players the development of information technologies does not necessarily optimize their operations," Dmitry Chernenok, Advisor with the Department for State-Run Programs and Budgeting of the Analytical Center, told the Gudok newspaper.
The Digitization of Rail Delivery Management Brings about Significant Savings
For example, some consignors (like small companies that are using rail transport services for the first time) don't have digital signatures. So when they need to arrange a rail delivery they go through forwarding agents, which drives up the delivery cost in the final price of the product, Mr. Chernenok told the Gudok correspondent. For this reason care should be taken when introducing IT solutions seeing how some market players just are not yet ready for the new capabilities and changes and some simply do not have enough money to quickly begin using modern digital technologies, the expert believes.
Mr. Chernenok cited long-distance passenger trains as an example of successful digitization. In 2007, when the solutions for the digital registration of passengers had just come on-line, only about 280 thousand passengers used the service per year, or 0.2% of the total passenger traffic, however 10 years later in 2017 the number of long-distance train tickets purchased through the Internet had reached 52.7 million. During this time all the train stations operated by Russian Railways have been equipped with systems allowing them to sell tickets electronically and the number of services that can be purchased remotely has expanded as well: now arrangements can be made online to transport low mobility individuals, motor vehicles, pieces of luggage weighing up to 200 kg, track the refunding of money for unused tickets. Huge lines at booking offices have become a thing of the past, which has made possible the optimization of train station interior spaces.
Is for the cargo delivery segment, the Analytical Center expert noted the positive results of the experiment on the Zabaikalsk border crossing, where in 2016 a system for early electronic declaration was deployed, a move that reduced the time taken to deliver containers to and from China by cutting the time of customs clearance from two days to 2–3 hours.
In addition, the digitization of rail transport management processes creates significant savings in money terms. For example, in order to reduce electricity consumption the Russian Railway holding plans to introduce automatic and AI systems for traffic management as part of its Digital Railway program. Meanwhile, manufacturers of railway equipment and vehicles offer intelligent diagnostics systems leading to significant financial savings while also improving the quality and reliability of their products.
Source: Gudok Newspaper