European shippers support EC push for acceptance of electronic documents

European shippers support EC push for acceptance of electronic documents

The European Shippers’ Council (ESC) has welcomed the proposal of the European Commission (EC) to oblige authorities to accept regulatory freight transport information in electronic format.

ESC says that authorities should accept electronic documents for information transmission on cargo transport, not just at the point of entry and exit of the EU, but also on the entire EU territory. ESC believes this approach will reduce the administrative burden for both the industry and the authorities and fits well within the EU’s digitalisation strategy.

More specific objectives include the mandatory acceptance of public authorities of freight transport information made available electronically, a uniform application of that obligation by authorities, and interoperability of IT systems and solutions used.

With the new regulation, shippers will not be obliged to present the required information electronically, but if they do, ESC says it should be done by means of certified EU-wide platforms.

Electronic documents will be transmitted through electronic freight transport information (EFTI) platforms. The platforms will need to comply with certain functional requirements and ensure data authenticity, integrity, and cybersecurity. ESC confirms that platforms cannot become operational without certification from competent bodies.

The involvement of Member States and relevant stakeholders will dictate the progress and implementation of the new legislation. The proposal estimates four years to allow for adoption of all relevant legislative acts.