The electronic freight transport information (eFTI) regulation has been approved by the EU and will enter into force in August 2024. It establishes a legal framework for road, rail, maritime and air transport operators to share information with enforcement authorities in an electronic format. This is a crucial step as it entails significant benefits for the EU road freight transport.
The advantages of electronic information
Multiple IT solutions are currently being used throughout Europe for the exchange of freight transport information. The incompatibility of these solutions often leads drivers to prefer paper documents, a costly and time-consuming process. As a uniform legal framework, eFTI will standardise the use of electronic information, which will encourage transport operators to shift towards digital solutions. It will also facilitate enforcement work, reducing waiting times during inspections.
“This regulation is only a starting point for further transport digitalisation, such as the ratification by all EU Member States of the eCMR convention,” says Raluca Marian, General Delegate of IRU’s Permanent Delegation to the European Union. “Using eCMR instead of its paper-based alternative has already proven to be seven times cheaper.”
The European Commission estimates that the reduced administrative burden of using digital forms will save operators up to EUR 27 billion over the next 20 years.1Given the economic impacts of COVID-19 on European goods transport, estimated to EUR 64 billion for 2020, these savings represent an element of relief in the pocket of operators.
“The eFTI regulation will increase the efficiency of all types of transport, cutting costs for operators, simplifying enforcement and removing language barriers. This will considerably improve the efficiency of transport in the EU single market,” adds Raluca Marian.
A one-stop shop for harmonised data exchange
The European Commission will develop the technical specifications for eFTI platforms by 2022. Member States will then have 30 months to set up electronic platforms for information exchange. By August 2024, transport operators will be able to submit electronic information using a harmonised format in all EU Member States.
Key to a successful implementation will be the commitment of all Member States and the definition of technical specification tailored to the operators’ needs.
As a participant in the EU Digital and Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF), IRU will work to ensure that eFTI platforms are implemented in a way that is pragmatic for operators.
1European Commission Staff Working Document: Executive Summary of the Impact Assessment (SWD(2018) 184 final)