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Milestone for road transport companies to digitalise further within reach
Europe | Geneva

Milestone for road transport companies to digitalise further within reach

4 May 2020

The Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament confirmed the recent EU Transport Ministers agreement on the electronic freight transport information (eFTI) Regulation last week. The new rules should be fully applied by all countries of the European Union latest by 2025. 

The new legislation will oblige EU Member States authorities to accept electronic proof of compliance with a number of EU road freight transport related rules. It determines a harmonised framework to move from paper documents to electronic information, while also establishing interoperability rules for the electronic platform service providers. 

This legislation will have the most impact on the communication between businesses and administration and will also impact indirectly on business-to-business communication where certain data are used to prove compliance with EU legislation. This for example includes the data from e-CMR waybills used to prove compliance with the EU cabotage rules. 

IRU welcomes the introduction of this legislation. Digital solutions will help to further reduce costs and time, but also play a vital role to ensure social distancing as the handling of paper documents can be significantly reduced. IRU has been actively participating in the European Commission’s Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF), which was the main forum between decision makers and stakeholders in preparation of these new rules.

Why is this important for the sector?

According to the Commission’s impact assessment, the goods transport and logistics sector should benefit from cost savings of EUR 20-27 billion up to 2040. Some 60% of those savings should accrue to road transport companies directly. 

The new rules also follow closely on the heels of Sweden’s accession to the eCMR protocol as the latest candidate and will support the greater application of eCMR across Europe. However, 10 countries of the EU still need to ratify the electronic protocol of the CMR convention.

The main benefits of these new EU rules include:

  • Reduced administrative burden
  • Faster more accurate exchange of information between different parties in the logistics chain and between companies and authorities
  • More efficient, intelligence-led enforcement
  • Lower costs and greater transparency
  • More harmonisation among EU Member States

The current COVID-19 crisis demonstrates importance of digital solutions in the logistics chain. The European Commission is strongly recommending that EU Member States should abandon the paper trail and fully adopt digital exchange of information in order to reduce the risk of contamination.

What are the possible implementation issues?

These new rules respond to the demands called for by IRU and its members and partners for the digitalisation of the road transport sector. IRU will continue to monitor the implementation of the new legislation to ensure that it is:

  • Fully compatible with existing EU rules and international conventions, including CMR
  • Compatible and offers interoperability between existing solutions or those being developed

IRU also calls for the privacy of data to be guaranteed and rules to be implemented on issues such as data access, storage, use and aggregation, in parallel with the adoption of this new EU legislation. To this effect, IRU has earlier this year established the Stakeholders Forum on Data. The initiative gathers industry leaders and aims at putting forward proposals on regulating data governance and addressing the current gaps through legislative interventions.