Proposal for an EU Regulation on electronic freight transport information (eFTI)

Date: 09, January 2019
Due to the use of multiple and non-interoperable systems for electronic documents and information exchange, the Commission wants to set general rules for the use of electronic freight transport information. And with multiple legal requirements and different administrative practices between member states authorities, the scene is set for long debates and disagreements in the different institutions.

To achieve this, the Commission adopted a proposal on May 17, 2018, as part of the third mobility package “Europe on the move”. The proposal specifies the electronic format in which regulatory transport information (EfTI) should be made available. Furthermore, the proposal asks the Commission to establish common data sets and procedures to process the information, which will ensure availability, integrity, confidentiality, security and better enforcement.

The regulation would oblige EU Member State authorities to accept electronic freight information - a regulation that might be the first step towards a revolution and final break-up with paper documents and unsuccessful enforcement. Today, more than 99% of freight transport operations within the EU still use paper documents, which accounts for more than 380 million hours spent on processing transport information. So not only would a digitalization of transport ease the use for all users in the supply chain, but it would also be timesaving. However, in terms of employment the Commission emphasizes, that their calculations do not show redundancies due to the time savings, which is positive for the transport sector. It is estimated that the Regulation will eliminate 19-24.000 FTEs (full time equivalent, which is a unit to measure employed personsin a way that makes them comparable although they may work a different number of hours per week). But due to the improved economic situation (0,01-0,03%) it will improve FTEs with 22-65.000 FTEs.

The use of electronic documents will, at least not a first, be mandatory, but will be an alternative for the operators to choose from. Also, the proposal does not set new information requirements, but “simply” tries to harmonize and establish an EU framework for existing information. If a number of requirements are met and if the information is presented via certified platforms or service providers, the proposal requires the authorities to accept the electronic information sent by the operators and to use harmonized rules. Also, the certified platforms or service providers are one of the corner stones of the Regulation, as they will be responsible for the storage of the data and the accessibility. With the data sufficiently stored, operators and authorities can achieve access by, for example, a QR code. In that way, the driver would always have the necessary document in a cloud-based-system for the authorities or others to use and check. Also, this could pave the way for an increased use of model transport, since the electronic documents would ease the transition.

The Commission expects 4 years from the date of entry into force of this Regulation until it is fully implemented. Within 5 years of the start date of application it will be evaluated in terms of performance against objectives. Further, the impact assessment carried out by the Commission predicts 20-27 billion EUR’s in administrative cost savings for operators between 2018-2040. In terms of the environment the Regulation is set to save 1.300 tonnes of CO2 between 2018-2014 and 180-900 thousand trees as a direct effect of the less use of paper. Also, the Regulation will pave the way for better and more effective enforcement, as roadside inspections and other kinds of enforcement will have full access to all the necessary documents at the checks.