TT Talk - Trans-Asian Railway Network

On 11 June 2009 the 'Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Asian Railway Network' came into force in Cambodia, China, India, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Russia and Tajikistan (another 15 countries are currently simply signatories). The Agreement provides a framework for the coordinated development of 114,000 kilometres of rail routes across 28 Asian countries. website can find a summary of SMGS on in the Legal Section under 'Flotsam and Jetstream'.

The Agreement commits to containerisation and multimodal transport. The lines of the rail network should provide 'unhindered movement of ISO containers of at least 20-foot dimension in length and above'. The aim is seamless transport, in spite of different railway gauges. The Agreement lists all lines and designates locations with maritime connections and ferry terminals.

Standards are also defined for container terminals located along the lines of the Trans-Asian Railway network. For example, the container terminals must:

- be located as close as possible to the main trunk line so that no time is lost entering and exiting the terminal;

- offer easy access to road vehicles so as to guarantee reliability of the road-rail interface; and

- have equipment comprising of gantry cranes, straddle carriers, top-lifters and/or reach-stackers able to handle ISO containers of at least 20-foot dimension in length.

- UNESCAP press release of 11 June 2009:

- Full text of the agreement (also available in Chinese and Russian):

- Signatory States:

The TT Club is most interested in the railway's liability under its carriage contract. In many Asian and Eastern European countries, including China and Russia, the 'Agreement on international freight traffic by rail' (SMGS) is still in force. The official languages of SMGS are Russian and Chinese, but TT Club Members and brokers with access to the private section of the TT Club

Staff Author

TT Club