Digital Single Marked Strategy for Road Transport
The long awaited Digital Single Marked (DSM) strategy was published at the 6th of May, by the Vice – President of the Commission Andrus Ansip and the Commissioner Günther Oettinger. It is an important strategy as it could contribute with 415 billion Euro to the European economy, boosting jobs, growth, competition, investment and innovation.
On an overall basis, the DSM strategy rests upon three main pillars. The first pillar emphasises better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and services across Europe. The second pillar relates to the creation of the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish, that among other presupposes trustworthy infrastructures and content services. The last pillar concerns a maximisation of the growth potential of our European Digital Economy – that especially requires investment in ICT infrastructures and technologies such as Cloud computing and Big Data, and research and innovation to boost industrial competiveness as well as better public services, inclusiveness and skills.
The DSM strategy is of particular relevance for road transport, as it includes a plan for standardisation of the digital technology in the field. It has been claimed for a long time that road – freight transport will gain from having well-functioning Intelligent Transport Planning (ITS) systems, that are integrated and communicate well with other actors along the distribution chain, such as ports facilities, traffic lights, parking spaces etc. Today it is a fragmented picture, where communication solutions that are able to consolidate various IT systems applied by the operators, are lacking at an EU wide level. A solution that can adapt to the highly mobile nature of the industry is therefore needed. This implies that an operator can plan the journey from A to B easily, regardless of whether the journey crosses national boarders or unloads at different port facilities along the way.
In providing standardisation, access to the important and valuable digital data information at an EU – level is necessary. Here the DSM focus on sharing - technologies such as Cloud computing are crucial in order to create platforms for exchange of information. This echoes one of the main topics at the annual ITS conference held in Brussel the 24th of April, where the transport Commissioner Bulc (picture), among others stressed lack of clarity over the rights to use data, which further obstruct the development of cross-border data use and adaptation. Jonathan Raper, CEO from the TransportAPI, stressed the provision of free – accessible “raw” information that according to him is necessary in order for developers to make value of the information, without any preparation or sorting from the authorities. Furthermore, in providing testing grounds for the technology, Pat Cox, who is the coordinator for the Scandinavian / Mediterranean – Corridor in TEN – T, found the corridors suitable for this purpose, where and reinventing logistics systems for zero emissions and timely and smart standards might start here.
One of the 16 initiatives drawn up in the DSM relates to measures in the area of parcel delivery. This concerns the consumer perspective, where there is a need to build trust in cross – border online sales, requires affordable and high quality parcel delivery.
Currently stakeholders complain about lack of transparency, the excessive cost of small shipments and lack of interoperability between the different operators typically involved in cross – border shipment. The Commission will assess action taken by industry and launch complementary measures to improve price transparency for European deliveries, including for prices of small shipments, and to enhance regulatory oversight of the cross-border parcel markets to ensure well-functioning cross-border delivery.
A self-regulation exercise by industry will report to the Commission in June 2015. This exercise is concentrated on quality and interoperability aspects like "track and trace" and faster delivery of parcels but does not cover the price dimension or regulatory oversight. Further, the Commission will launch measures in the first half of 2016 to improve price transparency and enhance regulatory oversight of parcel delivery.