The eFTI (electronic Freight Transport Information) regulation was approved in July 2021 by the European Union and will come into force in August 2024.
Prior to July 2021, there was no legal framework or European standard for electronic data exchange in the transport market. Since then, there has been a political commitment to digitize and harmonize documentation practices on a European scale, marking a significant turning point for the transport market. This presents both opportunities and challenges, with expected benefits in terms of fluidity, but also implications and complexities that need to be addressed. The eFTI repository, consisting of various technical and human resources, will serve as the engine of this transformation, ensuring system interoperability and data reliability.
Computer systems are an integral part of the modern supply chain, and their performance is crucial for the overall efficiency of the system. However, the lack of interconnectivity among different systems can be a major challenge. In addition, the quantity and quality of data can also pose significant issues, with dysfunctional or inadequate data hindering the supply chain's performance. The drive towards digitalization and harmonization, spearheaded by the eFTI, has highlighted the need for interoperability across different systems. By embracing modern information storage and sharing technologies, we can seamlessly integrate all links in the supply chain, and replace traditional paper-based practices with more efficient digital solutions.
The reason why it will be different this time is because the political will is turning digitalization into law and this virtuous law will ensure compliance. By establishing a legal and technical framework, the eFTI is creating the foundation for a fully digitalized ecosystem that cannot be built by a single player or group of players who are not experts in the field. Its success will depend on the majority of players adopting its mechanisms, as it applies to various activities such as road, rail, sea, and air transportation. This will result in multimodal information and the integration of different cultures and environments. The benefits will include time and cost savings for inspections and intermediaries, as well as added value for operators who will be able to avoid manual data entry while ensuring data quality.
The coming period is divided into two phases: specifications and implementation. From 2020 to 2022, the technical and functional specifications of the information to be converted into digital data and the platforms that will process it will be approved. Then, from 2022 to 2024, certifications will be awarded and IT environments will be upgraded. In August 2024, the operators concerned will be able to transmit all regulatory information in a format validated by all EU Member States (and their competent authorities).
The road is long and time will be a constraining factor. This site is intended to be a reference point for information on eFTI news, deciphering the technical aspects of its implementation, providing keys to anticipate pitfalls, acting as a watchdog for the French and European transport community, and promoting the local and immediate added value of the eFTI spirit on the European scale.
The first crucial milestone is in the hands of the European Commission and the DTLF. The challenge lies in the completeness and relevance of the technical specifications, i.e. in the correct identification of the needs and constraints of the actors in the transport chain and the Member States.
The second milestone will open the door to new players who will focus on becoming the orchestrators of eFTI data processing in the most transparent way possible by taking ownership of the ecosystem's practices and constraints.
The third milestone will require all players, new and historical, multinationals and SMEs, private and public, to jump into the eFTI pool while maintaining the continuity of their business.