If not properly anticipated, the management of international rail shipments can prove complex and difficult, due to factors such as customs regulations, documentation requirements, the multiplicity of transport modes and coordination with the various stakeholders. Easy, efficient and stress-free crossing of international borders is only possible if appropriate measures have been taken beforehand in terms of compliance with foreign regulations and collaboration with railways, forwarding agents and logistics companies.
Implementing a TVMS (Transport Visibility & Management System) is the best way to meet these challenges with a single tool. With its planning, tracking and analysis capabilities, TVMS is your best ally for managing international rail shipments globally and efficiently.
Why are international shipments so complex?
International shipments involve navigating with
- Complex customs regulations: In Europe, these include customs declarations, consignment notes, EORI number requirements, customs debt, temporary storage for goods from outside the EU....
- Varied documentation requirements: EU legislation requires customs declarations, pre-arrival and pre-departure declarations, single authorization documents....
- Coordination with multiple parties in different countries: rail operators, logistics forwarders, authorities...
Each country may have its own rules and procedures, so it's important to have a solid system in place to manage these complexities effectively. When transporting goods within the European Union, national and European regulations must be respected.
TVMS: an essential tool
TVMS (Transport Visibility & Management System) is a collaborative real-time transport visibility management platform for rail freight. It uses innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analysis and GPS data from physical sensors to provide complete and accurate supply chain visibility.
The platform tracks the location and status of freight shipments at every stage of the supply chain, from departure to final delivery. TVMS improves service quality by quickly detecting potential incidents and proposing solutions in real time. TVMS also provides the shipper with the documents required for rail freight transport, such as the automatic generation of the consignment note.
Streamlining customs compliance
One of the critical aspects of international shipping is customs compliance. A TVMS simplifies customs compliance by automating documentation processes and ensuring compliance with regulations.
It offers features such as electronic document management, customs integration and automated compliance checks, which minimize errors and facilitate customs clearance.
Improved visibility and monitoring
Tracking international shipments in real time is essential for efficient supply chain management. A TVMS provides greater visibility by tracking the location and status of goods at every stage of the cross-border journey. How does it work? Thanks to GPS data collected by sensors installed on railcars. These sensors provide the TVMS with real-time information on the wagon's position, and alert logistics teams to any incident during transport, regardless of the country in which the wagon is located.
The map visualization function enhances overall transport visibility. At a glance, users can efficiently evaluate their planned and current rail shipments.
This visibility enables stakeholders to proactively address any potential issues, improve communication and make informed decisions. What's more, when combined with artificial intelligence, location tracking provides an accurate ETA, which is invaluable to the shipper, who can then inform his customer or site of the delivery and keep them informed of any delays. For Arkema, a major global player in specialty materials with over 100 production sites in Europe, this increased visibility has greatly enhanced the quality of its service. Thanks to accurate ETA calculations and TVMS alerts on any anomalies during transport, Arkema is now able to inform its customers immediately of delivery dates and any delays, and to take the necessary steps to remedy any potential problems. In addition, work at the delivery site is more efficient, as it is no longer necessary to rush to deal with deliveries that have arrived later than expected.
Optimized route planning and consolidation
Efficient route planning is crucial for international rail shipments to ensure on-time delivery and optimize costs. TVMS optimizes transport planning by identifying the most efficient routes and consolidating shipments to maximize freight utilization and reduce transport costs. Thanks to AI technologies, TVMS provides logistics teams with the best alternatives for each of their shipments, regardless of the countries crossed.
Thanks to the automated support of TVMS, the teams are more efficient in their daily operations, and are not constrained by the tedious tasks of manual verification and contact with every rail operator in every country through which their shipments pass. Ciment Calcia, a Heidelberg Group company specializing in cement, explains how the use of TVMS has enabled it to proactively control its shipments from A to Z, by automating tedious tasks.
Collaboration and communication
Managing cross-border operations involves collaboration and communication with multiple stakeholders, including shippers, carriers, customs authorities and suppliers. A TVMS facilitates collaboration by providing a centralized platform for communication, real-time updates and data sharing. It improves coordination, eliminates communication gaps and ensures that all parties are on the same wavelength.
A single source of truth is essential to ensure smooth collaboration between stakeholders. While Excel documents, phone calls, emails and faxes are time-consuming due to their diversity and sometimes inaccuracy, a TVMS platform offers the possibility of digitizing and gathering all data and documents in one place, easily accessible by all stakeholders: shippers' operational teams, logistics teams, rail companies, end customers...
Analysis and reports
Data plays a crucial role in optimizing cross-border operations. A TVMS offers robust analysis and reporting capabilities, enabling companies to gain valuable insights into KPIs, costs and operational efficiency.
This information is used to identify areas for improvement, cost reduction and performance optimization in international shipping.
A TVMS enables shippers to analyze their KPIs in a detailed, data-driven way, according to route, carrier or goods: completion rates, on-time deliveries, train fill rates, utilization rates, downtime, maintenance, break times by site... Precise KPIs are essential for shippers who transport goods across Europe, as they make it easier to define optimization levers with their various partners throughout the supply chain - and across borders.
Managing international rail shipments can be complex, but a TVMS simplifies cross-border operations by automating processes, improving customs compliance, enhancing visibility and tracking, optimizing route planning, facilitating collaboration and providing valuable analytics.
With TVMS, shippers can streamline their cross-border operations, improve efficiency and ensure transparent international supply chain management.