Rail operators are responsible for making arrangements that enables cargo to be transported from one destination to another. Once the goods are handed over by the client, freight forwarders are legally responsible for the goods and are liable for losses or damages experienced during the shipping process until the merchandise is delivered to its destination. Read on to find out more about the responsibilities, risks and liabilities of rail freight forwarding:

Responsibilities of a rail freight forwarder

When a customer entrusts a rail freight operator with their consignment, the operator is legally required to take all steps necessary to protect, preserve and safely transport the cargo to its destination. Clients rely on the expertise of freight forwarders in a number of things, which the rail need to offer during the transportation process.

Loading and unloading the merchandise in a speedy, efficient and cost-effective way is one of the main responsibilities of rail freight forwarders. Besides this, proper packaging of goods in order to avoid any damage caused by external factors also falls on rail freight operators. Using the right containers is of paramount importance, especially in the case of hazardous goods, where each type of merchandise requires uniquely available specialized containers. Rail operators are furthermore accountable for the upkeep of assets, as locomotives, wagons and containers require regular check-ups and maintenance to make sure that they are not at risk of causing damage to client cargo.

The handling of legal documentations, authorizations, permits and clearances is also the rail operator’s responsibility. They are the ones that need to make sure that the lowest possible charges are levied at customs and they are the ones that are required to come up with the best solutions to even the most complex or sensitive freight transport requirements.

Additionally, if desired by the clients, companies that offer rail freight transport services need to arrange proper storage in a cost-effective and secure environment. Optionally, insurance can also be organized by rail operators if the client wishes to further protect their merchandise. The rail operator is responsible for delivering the goods in the same condition they were picked up in and arranging the shipment’s entire process in accordance with arrangements that were priorly agreed upon by the client.

Risks and liabilities

Considering the extensive complexity of the rail freight forwarding procedure, it’s no wonder that operators are exposed to a large number of risks and liabilities. Cargo can sometimes be stolen, lost or damaged due to mishandling, improper packaging, natural calamities, accidents and other exterior factors.

Rerouting the entire shipment is also a risk, which happens in case the submitted documentation contains errors. If the shipment isn’t rerouted in such a case, it can still be delayed, which is a financial burden for both the rail operator and the client. Errors and omissions on the paperwork can also result in fines at customs.

Other liabilities may include but are not limited to unjustified third-party claims, recovery and maintenance costs in case of damages or employee injuries during the transportation process. Failure to meet obligations stated in the contract and disputes over the terms and conditions of a written agreement can also be an issue.

How rail freight operators establish clear procedures

Rail freight operators need to take every possible step in order to offer bulletproof shipping, storing, handling and logistics services. In order to do that, they establish clear procedures which help sustain daily operations with a lower chance of risks. Having liability insurance, proper handling of dangerous goods, skillful managing of trustworthy subcontractors, controls over documentation, and having written instructions and legal contracts with solid terms and conditions all help rail freight forwarders to limit their liability and cover some risks that come with the business.

When all things are considered, you can see why it is absolutely crucial to choose a rail operator that provides risk assessment and knowns exactly what to do in the client’s best interest in case things go awry during the transportation process. The team behind MMV Rail Romania has been operating since the very beginning with invincible liability and risk management strategies which cover nearly all possible scenarios. Our main objective is to provide the best possible shipping options to our clients and we are prepared to go above and beyond to ensure safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation services for your valuable goods. Contact us and find out more about how we can help you out!