ECM – Entity in Charge of Maintenance

1. The legal basis.

EU Directive 2004/49/EC supplemented by EU Directive 2008/110/EC in Article 14a (1) requires that each railway vehicle has to have assigned an Entity in Charge of Maintenance (ECM). The main task of ECM is the implementation and management of the wagon maintenance system for safe operation in Europe. This system shall fulfil the 4 following functions:

  1. maintenance development function – the management of the maintenance documentation based on design and operational data;
  2. fleet maintenance management function – the management of sending rolling stock for maintenance and its return to operation after maintenance;
  3. maintenance delivery function – actually delivers the required technical maintenance of a freight wagon;
  4. management function – supervises and coordinates these three maintenance functions.

The Directive provides that ECM of freight wagons have to be certified. In order to enable quick implementation of the ECM certification some EU member states signed on the 14th May 2009 a document called “Memorandum of Understanding” (MoU), defining the basic common rules for ECM certification.

Because not all EU member states signed the Memorandum, in the absence of a detailed regulation of the EU Commission in the matter of conditions for ECM certification, the railway sector organizations in Europe (UIC, UIP, ERFA), European Commission and European Railway Agency (ERA) have developed a transition solution. It provided for two equal types of certification:

  1. direct certification according to the provisions of the MoU – it applies to these member states which have signed the MoU or
  2. submission, by the ECM, of the so-called Self-Declaration which confirms that it fulfils the requirements defined in the Annex B and C1 to the MoU; This Self-Declaration must be based on the implemented maintenance management system, which was checked within the framework of the internal system audit.

The register of ECM certified according to both a/m methods is kept by the European Railway Agency (ERA).

A failure in indicating , by the wagon keeper, of an ECM certified according to one of the a/m types of certification, today results in such a situation, that the majority of foreign rail operators do not accept these wagons for transport.

Both of these solutions, according to the EU regulations, are considered to be in force for a transitional period – until entry into force the EU Commission Regulation No. 445/2011 of 10 May 2011, which defines the criteria and conditions of certification.
It sets a date of 31.05.2013 as the final date for transitional period for ECM certification by the Self-Declaration. It means that after 31.05.2013 all rail operators in the EU can use the wagons only of such keepers who are ECM or cooperate with certified ECM s under the conditions specified in the Regulation.
In the Polish law the situation is as follows: recent changes to the Railway Transport Act came into force on the 28th January 2012. The changes introduce, among others, new provisions relating to the Entities in Charge of Maintenance of freight wagons (ECM).
The most important ones of them include:

  • mandatory indication of the Entities in Charge of Maintenance during the vehicle registration in the National Vehicle Register (NVR);
  • mandatory certification of the Entities in Charge of Maintenance for freight wagons by an approved Certification Body;
  • as the Certification Body in Poland has been indicated the Office for Railway Transport (UTK);

The EU Commission Regulation No. 445/2011 will not be implemented in the Polish legislation, as it applies to the EU member states directly. This means that:

  • The period of validity of previously issued certificates and the Self-Declaration ECM expires on the 31st May 2013;
  • By the 31st May 2012, one can still lodge the ECM Self-Declaration, that will be valid not longer than until the 31st May 2013;
  • After the 31st May 2012 the ECM certification shall be possible only according to the requirements and criteria set by the EU Commission Regulation No. 445/2011.

On 16 June  2020, Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/779 entered into force, laying down detailed rules for the certification system of entities in charge of vehicle maintenance pursuant to Directive (EU) 2016/798 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Commission Regulation (EU) No 445 / 2011. Until now, the principles of the ECM operation were defined by the Commission Regulation 2011/445. However, this document concerned only entities in charge of the maintenance of freight wagons, introducing their mandatory certification. Entities responsible for the maintenance of other types of vehicles (e.g. passenger carriages or locomotives) were not subject to certification. The regulation governs the functioning of entities in charge of maintenance (ECM). The new regulations apply to the maintenance of all railway vehicles.

2. The status of “Tankwagon”.

After the implementation of a number of safety procedures, documentation for wagon maintenance system and other necessary operating instructions, “Tankwagon” carried out in 2010, with a positive result, an internal system audit in order to confirm the compliance with the requirements specified for ECM. This allowed to submit our Self-Declaration to ERA, in force from the 01.01.2011.

According to the Commission Regulation No. 445/2011, our Self-Declaration is valid till the 31.05.2013. After this date we need to show an ECM certificate issued by an independent notified body according to the requirements specified in the Regulation. Currently we improve and upgrade the maintenance system procedures, especially those relating to safety so as to be ready to conduct an external audit by means of a notified body before the 31.05.2013.

In August 2016, according to the decision of the President of the Railway Transport Office, we received an extension of the ECM certificate (PL / 31/0016/0021) until 2021. Receiving a certificate renewal for a maximum possible period of 5 years, indicates a high level of services rendered by company. The certified maintenance system in the company was created and is constantly updated by our employees.

In October 2021 Tankwagon Sp. z o. o., received a certificate of compliance for a maintenance management entity in the field of wagon maintenance (ECM). The certificate is issued in accordance with the ballistic solutions of Regulation (EU) 2019/779.  The certificate was issued for a maximum of five years – until 8.10.2026.


3. Tankwagon” offer for the ECM service.

In the existing law situation we are ready to provide the ECM service for the other wagon keepers who are not able to do it themselves for their wagons. Our staff is educated, experienced (over 10 years of professional experience in the operation of rolling stock) and qualified, including permissions such as: the Internal Auditor of ECM, RID Adviser, Proxy of the Safety Management System in rail transport, Proxy of Entity in Charge of Maintenance in rail transport.

We have the documentation of maintenance system for different types of RTC, including the universal VPI documentation used for wagons registered in western European countries, the design and operating documentation of the owned fleet (operation, maintenance, etc.).

We have implemented all the procedures relevant to the safety of rolling stock operation, we cooperate with recognized, authorized workshops in Poland and abroad for the repair of RTC and components.

We also have business liability insurance, including the AVV insurance – due to damage caused by RTC to third parties, amounting to more than 10 million EUR. In this way we can guarantee our customers the highest quality of ECM services.

In order to be able include our client’s wagons in the ECM supervision it is necessary that the client complied with some minimum requirements relating to the possession of the documents, such as:

  • basic design documentation for wagons and the certificates of the wagon types,
  • maintenance system documentation for wagons (we HELP in its PREPARATION),
  • technical operating documentation which contains operation manuals, current maintenance and safety of wagons as well as the wagon technical description (we HELP in its PREPARATION),
  • wagon files containing the hitherto existing history of wagon, register of maintenance actions including the after repair documentation,
  • other formal and lawful documents such as: the right to dispose of the wagons, cofnormation of the registration of wagons in NVR, wagon technical performance certificate, protocols of tank operation approvals issued by inspectors of the Technical Supervision, safety authorization of siding, etc.

Currently Tankwagon is a certified ECM for own RTC and the RTC of company Nitro Chemical Sp. z o. o. and the german capital group EWL.

For all parties interested in taking up cooperation with regard to our ECM supervision we are at your disposal.