Digitalisation: Milestone for freight forwarders within reach
Last week, the Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament confirmed the recent agreement of the EU transport ministers on the regulation on electronic freight traffic information (eFTI). The new rules are to be fully implemented by all countries of the European Union by 2025 at the latest.
The new legislation will oblige the authorities of the EU member states to accept electronic proof of compliance with a number of EU rules for road freight transport. It establishes a harmonised framework for the transition from paper documents to electronic information and at the same time sets out interoperability rules for digital platform service providers.
This legislation will have the greatest impact on communication between businesses and administrations and will also have an indirect impact on business-to-business communication when certain data is used to demonstrate compliance with EU legislation. This includes, for example, data from eCMR waybills used to prove compliance with EU cabotage legislation. These digital solutions will help to further reduce costs and time as the handling of paper documents can be significantly reduced.
Why is this important for the sector?
According to the Commission’s impact assessment, the freight transport and logistics sector should benefit from cost savings of €20-27 billion by 2040. About 60% of these savings should directly benefit road transport companies.
The new rules also follow closely on Sweden’s accession to the eCMR Protocol and will support the wider application of the eCMR across Europe. So far, 25 countries have ratified the agreement. However, another 10 EU countries still need to ratify the electronic protocol to the CMR Convention, including Germany and Italy.
Among the main benefits of these new EU rules are
- Reduced administrative burden
- Faster and more accurate exchange of information between different parties in the logistics chain and between companies and authorities
- More effective intelligence-led enforcement
- Lower costs and greater transparency
- More harmonisation between EU Member States
The current coronavirus COVID 19 crisis shows how important digital solutions are in the logistics chain. The European Commission is already urgently recommending that EU Member States stop relying on paper and fully implement digital information exchange to reduce the risk of contamination.
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Daniel Mahnken is a Senior Corporate Communications Manager at Saloodo!. As a qualified journalist, writing is practically in his blood. After studying sports journalism, he wanted to become Germany's Next Sports Commentator, but then he discovered logistics and has been stuck with it ever since.