The EU Council approved rules on electronic documents in freight transport

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The EU Council approved rules on electronic documents in freight transport

In 2025, carriers will be able to use electronic documents in any European Union country. The EU Council approved a regulation on electronic freight transport information (eFTI).

On 7 April the Council of the European Union approved the report on electronic freight transport information (eFTI) adopted by the European Parliament’s Transport Committee in January this year. 

Parliament has yet to give its consent a second reading before the regulation is adopted, after which it will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and will enter into force 20 days later. 

The regulation obliges all competent public authorities to accept electronic information through certified platforms, if companies wish to provide data in this way to prove compliance with legal requirements. According to Brussels officials, the digitisation of freight transport will save companies a lot of costs and make it more efficient and sustainable. However, this does not imply an obligation for carriers to use only electronic documents. 

The European Commission to develop technical standards

The European Commission will be tasked with developing technical specifications, such as functional requirements for the eFTI platforms and rules for data transmission, processing and protection. Brussels has 30 months from the adoption of the regulation and the Member States will have another 30 months to set up the necessary electronic platforms for the exchange of information. 

eFTI vs. eCMR

We asked the author of the report on electronic freight transport information (eFTI), MEP Andor Deli, how the EFTI platform will relate to the e-CMR that many EU countries have adopted. 

The eFTI Regulation introduces new platforms for the provision of information which are covered by the Regulation. e-CMR is not covered by this scope, but may overlap with information on the platform. Namely, the data contained in the e-CMR and the information required by the competent authorities to demonstrate compliance with the regulatory information requirements may be identical,” informs the office of the MEP.

“In this case, e-CMR can play an important role as proof of compliance. On the other hand, the platform currently used for electronic waybills can be certified as an eFTI platform, provided that it meets the requirements set out in the Regulation. In this case, we have a universal platform that can be used in both e-CMR and eFTI,” explains Andor Deli’s office.

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