Digital Transport & Logistics Forum
At the beginning of April 2015 the European Commission published a Decision to set up the Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF) in order to assist the Commission to assess current difficulties in the exchange of electronic information in the field of transport and logistics. The Forum has 110 members and its work is organised around plenary meetings and accompanying workshops addressing specific issues. ECG applied and was accepted as a founding member, so it participates in both the plenary meetings as well as several working groups dealing with the (non-)recognition of electronic documents by national authorities.
The purpose of the DTLF is to investigate whether or not there is a need for an action at European level and to work on recommendations capable of addressing the challenges. These challenges, as identified in the Background document, include the non-interoperability of standards; e-transport documents not recognised by the authorities and financial institutions; or the lack of ‘critical mass’ of stakeholders using the data sharing system.
Current problems regarding electronic transport documents in the road, rail and maritime sectors were also the focus of the 2016 Dinner Debate in the European Parliament, and ECG will continue to use its membership of both the DTLF and the European Logistics Platform (ELP) in order to push Member States to put in place all legislative frameworks in order for logistics companies to be able to use the e-CMR, e-CIM and e-Manifest respectively across all borders within the EU.
ECG advocates the use of technology to maximise efficiency and minimise waste. Digitalisation is resulting in massive and rapid change that is revolutionising how we think, live and work. In this digital age paperwork of any description is starting to seem archaic and unnecessary. Nowhere is this more true than in the European road transport sector where the 'CMR' legislation still drives the need for paper delivery notes and, despite the existence of the 'e-CMR' protocol for many years, most European countries have yet to adopt it. ECG and the IRU have now published a joint statement on e-CMR calling for the swift ratification of the Protocol by all Member States at the earliest possible opportunity to enable the sector to go 'paperless' as soon as practical. If any given transport route crosses the territory of even one country that has not ratified then paperwork is still required - nothing less than 100% participation will do!
The Protocol on the electronic consignment notes was signed in 2008 and came into effect in 2011. As at January 2017 only 11 countries had ratified it - the most recent signatories being France and Estonia in October-November 2016.