19 October 2018

CLECAT Position Paper on the Proposal for a Regulation on Electronic Freight Transport Information (eFTI)

The European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on electronic Freight transport information (eFTI) on 17 May 2018 as part of the third Mobility Package. Through this proposal the Commission wants to establish a fully digital environment for information exchange in freight transport, replacing paper transport documents, which will facilitate digital information flows for logistic operations.

CLECAT, the European Association of Freight Forwarders, Logistics service providers and Customs Agents, welcomes the proposal which sets an important basis for the establishment of a 100% digital environment for information exchange in transport, to the benefit of both the business community and the authorities. Despite the fact that it is expected that implementation will lead to substantial implementation costs, the alternative (no EU Regulation) would mean that the national or local authorities will continue with the development of their individual digitalisation initiatives, without any further coordination or harmonisation efforts. The result would be an even more fragmented transport environment and much higher implementation costs for businesses. In the long run, an EU Regulation addressing the legal acceptance by authorities of digital data is therefore seen as crucial by CLECAT and its Members.

Nonetheless, CLECAT considers it very important that harmonisation should not be introduced by replacing already existing and properly functioning IT systems, but by re-using the existing solutions and focusing on how to make these solutions more interoperable through data harmonisation and the way these systems exchange data. While establishing data sets and other requirements in legislation, CLECAT considers it also important that already existing standards are being considered. Having said this, CLECAT considers that some parts of the proposal require more fine-tuning. If this is not addressed within the Regulation itself, it could potentially lead to unintended and unnecessary burdens.

CLECAT also calls for a more detailed work programme with more tangible and clearly defined goals to achieve digitalisation, harmonisation and especially less burdens. The foreseen implementation costs for both the public (EUR 268 million) and the private sector (EUR 4.4 billion) are very high. Without a more detailed work programme and a clear common vision of what the desired end state will be, the risk of wasting the foreseen investment is too high.  

CLECAT has been an active participant of the DTLF and has supported and contributed to other Commission initiatives in the field of digital transport and logistics and will continue to do so. The efforts of the Commission are highly appreciated. Therefore, CLECAT looks forward to a constructive dialogue with the European Parliament and Member States, so work on an actual digital transport environment can commence and the intended benefits can be achieved for all stakeholders involved.

The position paper can be found via the link below.