In December 2019, the ambassadors of the EU's Member States approved a proposal to make it easier for freight operators to provide information to public authorities in digital form. The vote took place in the EU Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper).
The approved text, which would create a uniform legal framework for the use of electronic freight transport information for all modes of transport, was based on an agreement from earlier in 2019 that was reached between the European Parliament and the Presidency of the EU Council, which was held by Finland at the time.
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 the respective legislative requirements. Companies will still be able to present the information in paper format if they prefer.
At present, most freight transport companies and other transport business stakeholders use paper documents for submitting information to public authorities. The main barrier to the wider use of digital transport documents has been the variable degree of acceptance of digital documents by the various authorities. It is expected that digitalising freight transport and logistics in this way will lead to significant administrative savings, both for companies and authorities.
The agreed text must still be adopted by the Council and by the Parliament, although this should be a formality. After its adoption by these two institutions, the regulation will enter into force 20 days after its publication. The obligation for public authorities to accept information made available electronically will apply five years after the entry into force of the regulation.
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