EU moves towards mandatory digital freight data rules

The European Union has made progress in its attempts to improve digitalisation in the transport sector by approving a proposal to create a uniform legal framework for the use of electronic freight transport information in all modes of transport, making it easier for businesses to provide information to authorities in digital formats.

Member states’ ambassadors granted the approval during a meeting of the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper), after a provisional agreement was reached between the presidency and the European Parliament on 26 November.

The new rules will require all relevant public authorities to accept information made available electronically on certified platforms whenever companies choose to use such a format to provide information as proof of compliance with legislative requirements. However, companies will still be able to present the information in paper format if they prefer.

Within 30 months from the entry into force of the new rules, the Commission says it will adopt technical specifications seeking to ensure interoperability between the various IT systems used for the exchange of freight transport information.

The Commission will also set out common procedures and rules for accessing and processing this information, to ensure that the rules are applied consistently by the authorities concerned. This will be done through secondary legislation.

The agreed text from the Coreper meeting must now be formally adopted to allow plans to proceed, first by the European Council and then by the Parliament. After that, the new regulation would enter into force 20 days after publication. Some of the provisions would be applicable from the entry into force of the legal act; others, four years later.

The obligation for public authorities to accept information made available electronically will start to apply five years after the entry into force of the regulation, depending on the adoption of the relevant technical specifications by the Commission.

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About the Author

Rob O'Dwyer
Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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