Objective: Demystify the official text1 which, let's face it, makes our mouths water but does not say much about the concrete modalities of the eFTI since this is the subject of the Delegated Acts and Implementing Acts currently being drafted by the DTLF - Subroup III.
What we want to make sure we do with eFTI in general:
- Existing EU legal acts
- Specific provisions of national laws
- Economic operator concerned: The main one concerned by the eFTI who will be the issuer of the data to be integrated and certified on the eFTI platforms.
- Competent Authority: The second party involved in the eFTI. It will be the recipient of the certified data and its validator.
- eFTI Service Provider: Actor who provides a concerned economic operator with the means to process eFTI data via a contract.
- eFTI platform developer: Economic actor who writes code and maintains the IT infrastructure that hosts an eFTI platform.
- European Commission: Executive power - 27 commissioners appointed by governments and approved by Parliament - aka The Commission or The Guardian of the Treaties. European body that implements laws and controls member states.
- Committee: Assembly of local and regional representatives of the European Union, which gives sub-national authorities (regions, counties, provinces, departments, municipalities, cities, etc.) a direct voice in the EU institutional system. A group in which all EU countries are represented and which oversees, for example, the work of the Commission in the context of an implementing act (in EU jargon: comitology).
- Council: Executive power - 27 heads of state + President of the European Council - European body composed of the heads of state of the member states. It makes proposals on European law.
- European Parliament: Legislative and budgetary power - 705 MEPs - European body composed of MEPs elected by the electorate of each Member State. It is in a position to approve European laws and acts as a counterweight to the European Commission.
- Road transport: CMR (UN Framework)
- Air transport: IATA672 & Montreal Convention
- Rail transport : COTIF
- Inland Waterway Transport: CMNI
- Shipment of waste: EC 1013/2006
- Competences of the customs offices: EC 952/2013, EU 2019/1239
- European Interoperability Framework - Implementation Strategy (23/03/2017)
The Glossary page lists recurring terms to explain them.
This regulation plays an essentially formal role in that it only announces the arrival of the framework on which the eFTI ecosystem will be based. This regulation leaves it to future texts to materialize the procedures and tools that will be used. By future texts we mean :
- Delegated Acts
- Acts of execution
- Technical specifications
- Detailed specifications or rules
That being said, it would be a pity to neglect these 16 pages of a frenetic lyricism, these 9000 words full of a teasing poetry and these 65 0000 characters of a troubled eroticism if one wants to take the trouble not to ignore the law. The law is hard, but it is the law, as the ancient adage says, to which one would naturally want to add, almost by automatism, that it is austere, dry and abstruse. However, the eFTI approach has at least two virtues for the common man:
- That of imposing itself on the public authorities, implacable colossi with unmovable feet, before the private actors, banal and mortal impotent ludions (is this really the case?)
- It is to give ourselves time to take the time to pass the time before the legislative sledgehammer falls mercilessly. The eFTI only asks to be tamed, because its positive impact lies in its appropriation by everyone, the only channel through which the digital benefits will spread within daily practices.
Questions of time, several horizons are defined, the occasion to prove once again that the contraction of space-time is not only a view of the mind of a shaggy physicist, because the time that anyone puts the foot to the stirrup, we will be in 2025, and probably not ready:
- Until 2024: Specification and progressive adoption of the rules for all stakeholders.
- 2024: Trial run, the eFTI comes into force but the competent authorities are exempted from strict obligations.
- 2025: Full entry into force, the eFTI is not negotiable for the competent authorities.
- 2029: Review of the period elapsed to extend the obligation to economic operators.
So far, everything is fine, everything is alive and floating in the luminous but blurred limbo of the theory. The implementation will be based on several ideas, pillars and priorities:
- The elimination of paper: A huge mishmash the size of Mary Poppins' purse in which a myriad of IT systems, processes, data models, digital platforms and providers of all kinds are hidden. This is the main idea of the new ecosystem that is being created and that, beyond the complexity of the subject, represents an opportunity to harmoniously bring together actors and processes that are sometimes at a standstill in terms of evolution. The general idea, formulated in an abrupt manner, could be summarized as follows: "It won't hurt the Flintstone family to have a little modernity, even if it is frightening to put computers everywhere".
- Interoperability: Love match or not, the aim of the game is to make the above-mentioned actors and processes mutually intelligible. Harmonizing legislation and practices between EU countries, ensuring the handover between the different modes of transport (road, air, rail, river) and guaranteeing real-time access to public institutions (sometimes the most poorly equipped in terms of IT tools) are the destiny of eFTI. And if not for mutual love, then for the love of European competitiveness.
- Regulatory information: Illustrating the concern for intelligibility between the repositories of each country, the term regulatory information is used to designate any information that can and should be conveyed by the eFTI. The completeness of the regulatory information, sometimes common to all EU members, sometimes specific to one or several members, is one of the major challenges for the implementation of the eFTI ecosystem.
- The actors involved: The landscape can be divided into several levels, depending on whether we describe the historical actors in the supply chain (e.g. freight forwarders, customs, dockers, carriers) or the new actors linked to the characteristics of the eFTI ecosystem. Among these new actors, we can distinguish between direct actors who play an operational role in the transport and logistics chain (e.g. eFTI platform developers, eFTI service providers) and indirect actors, guarantors of the eFTI standard (auditors, certification bodies).
- Historical actors: An economic operator sends regulatory information in digital format to an eFTI platform platform, which certifies the data so that a competent authority can verify or endorse its validity.
- This implies that the economic operator is able to e.g. transform a consignment note in paper format into the digital format according to the eFTI data model.
- Direct new actors: An eFTI Provider obtains a delegation from an economic operator to take charge of sending or transforming regulatory information in digital format on the eFTI platform.
- In this case, the service provider plays the role of intermediary between the initial format of the economic operator's documents (whatever the format, paper or digital - PDF, txt, EDI etc.). We can indeed consider a full role insofar as the task of intelligent processing of a document from its initial format to the format constitutes a full-fledged business of data manipulation using technology such as OCR, ETL...
- Indirect new actors: A eFTI platform platform or eFTI provider will have to be endorsed by a conformity assessment body, itself under the yoke of an accreditation body that reports to thenational authority of a member state or directly to the European Commission. With such a matryoshka system, one can only be close to integrating Russia itself into the eFTI ecosystem.
A somewhat abrupt conclusion: The outcome and virtues of eFTI depend primarily on the actual gain possible in the switch from paper to digital. For the glass half empty, paper is a laborious system and, as a legacy system, it represents a mountain with an unshakeable and almost immovable foundation, while digital runs the risk of becoming a sprawling gas factory. The glass is half full and we can see the diaphanous glow of the end of the papivore era and the emergence of an ecosystem where actors are equipped with interoperable tools built on homogeneous procedures.
Article 1 & 2 Initial statement
The efficiency of freight transport is vital for growth, competitiveness, economic cohesion and the functioning of the European Union's internal market.
Article 3 & 4 Gains and brakes
The authorities are not ready to accept electronic formats, which do not yet have a legal framework. The documents concerned by the switch to an electronic format are all those that allow logistics actors to prove their compliance with the requirements for the transport of goods in the EU.
Article 5 Ambition
The ambition is to deploy electronic (i.e. paperless) means throughout the EU and in all phases of transport operations within the EU.
All regulatory information and all modes of transport are included in this approach.
Article 6 Frameworks in which the eFTI is registered
The eFTI is designed to meet all regulatory information requirements at different scales:
- Legal acts of the EU.
- National law if the information is identical with respect to EU legal acts.
- National law if it requires additional information with regard to EU legal acts.
- Relevant international conventions:
- Road transport: CMR (UN Framework).
- Air transport: IATA672 & Montreal Convention.
- Rail transport: COTIF.
- Inland waterway transport: CMNI.
Furthermore, electronic exchange must be a two-way process, i.e. the competent authorities"should endeavour" to communicate electronically with the economic operators concerned.
Article 7 EU Frameworks where the eFTI is registered
In particular in the area of :
- Shipment of waste: EC 1013/2006
- Competences of the customs offices: EC 952/2013, EU 2019/1239
Article 8 Availability of human readable format
It is foreseen that any relevant economic operator should still be able to provide regulatory information in a human readable format if required by a competent authority e.g. if no access to an eFTI platform is available. In other words, the use of eFTI platforms will not release stakeholders from being able to provide human readable formats.
Article 9 Common specifications
The regulation does not specify the form that the eFTI will take, it is the role of the delegated and implementing acts to establish the specifications that will have to be respected by the actors.
Article 10 Data model
The common specifications will define a data model encompassing all the data needed to meet the requirements for regulatory information throughout Europe and for all freight transport activities.
Article 11 Requests for additional information
The scope of the common specifications will have to go as far as taking into account the specific requests of the competent authorities (especially customs) for additional information. In other words, the eFTI platforms will have to be able to satisfy "tailor-made" requests from the competent authorities.
Article 12 Interoperability with existing law
The common specifications will have to take into account the specifications already contained in the European and international standards for data exchange.
- Texts mentioned
- European Interoperability Framework - Implementation Strategy (Communication of 23/03/2017)
Article 13 Common Access Points
Mentions the creation of common access points that act as an intermediary between the eFTI platforms and the competent authorities in order to reduce costs. These access points will not be storage points, except for metadata.
Article 14 Functional requirements for eFTI platforms
Functional requirements will cover such aspects as data provisioning, rights matrix, privacy and GDPR.
Article 15 Interoperability between eFTI platforms and existing systems
A particular point of attention is mentioned on the need for interoperability of future eFTI platforms with each other and with existing IT systems.
Article 16 eFTI Certification
Member States are responsible for setting up the certification scheme for eFTI platforms and eFTI service providers according to the current Regulation (EC 765/2008) for accreditations. Existing service providers are recommended to comply with the eFTI platform requirements.
Article 17 Exemption from the use of eFTI platforms & additional uses
It is conceivable that a Member State may decide to use other IT systems than an eFTI platform if it so chooses in the context of the provision of eFTI. It is also conceivable that eFTI platforms are used for purposes beyond their original mandate e.g. for the exchange of data between companies and not only between companies and competent authorities.
Article 18 Implementing powers of the Commission
The Commission is delegated the competence to draft detailed rules, technical specifications and detailed specifications for eFTI. In accordance with EU Regulation 182/2011.
Article 19 Competence to adopt Commission acts
The Commission is delegated the competence to adopt acts and to amend the regulation in coherence with the delegated acts and the future implementing acts. Reference is made to the expert groups establishing the TLD and the need for transparency between the European Parliament, the Member States' experts and the Commission's expert groups.
Article 20 Article 5 of the European Treaty
Article 5 of the European Treaty (subsidiarity) is invoked: the EU takes charge of the realization of the project which cannot be carried out by the individual Member States.
Article 21 GDPR
eFTI processing must comply with the GDPR
Article 22 Evaluation of the regulation
The Commission should conduct an evaluation of the regulation to assess the performance of the regulation in relation to its objective.
Article 23 "Digital by default" principle
The effectiveness of the system depends on direct and real-time access to information by the competent authorities. To this end, the Commission is expected to take initiatives to compel and facilitate the use of electronic means. This may take the form of amendments to this Regulation or other EU legal acts.
- Texts mentioned :
- European eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 - Accelerating the digital transformation of public administrations (Communication of 19/04/2016)
Article 24 Delegated and implementing acts
The regulation will only be effectively applied once the legal acts currently being prepared have entered into force in the form of delegated and implementing acts proposed by the Commission and adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. In other words, the scheme will gradually enter into force as the legal acts are adopted (see Timeline).
Article 25 & 26 Legal considerations
Chapter 1 General Provisions
Article 1 Purpose
The Regulation establishes a legal framework for eFTI:
- Basic conditions for acceptance by the competent authority
- Applicable rules of provision by the economic operator concerned
Article 2 Scope of application
The regulation must be consistent with existing regulations, including
- EEC 11 - A.6 § 1
- Directive 92/106/EEC - A.3
- Regulation EC 1072/2009 - A.8 § 3
- Regulation 1013/2006 - A.16.c, A.18 § 1
- European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) - Anx A Part 5 Chap 5.4
- Regulations concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by rail (RID) - Part 5 Chap 5.4
- Directive 2016/797, Regulation 300/2008
The regulation must also be consistent with the specific provisions of each national law. Therefore, Member States must submit these specific provisions and requirements for regulatory information.
Member States must notify the Commission of their specific regulatory information requirements by 21/08/2021.
Article 3 Definitions
Chapter 2 Regulatory Information Made Available Electronically
Article 4 Requirements for the economic operators concerned
Simplified diagram of interactions
Article 5 Requirements for competent authorities
Competent Authorities will have to be able to process the eFTI format also for additional information related to provisions of national law, i.e. :
- Receive and read all regulatory information
- Validate electronically (i.e. the equivalent of a paper stamp or certificate)
Member States are required to allow their competent authorities to process this information.
- Texts mentioned :
- Regulation CE 1013/2006 - A.26 §3,4
Article 6 Confidential Business Information
One word of advice: confidentiality must be assured.
Article 7 eFTI common dataset and eFTI subset
In establishing the eFTI data model, the following repositories must be taken into account:
- International Conventions
- EU law
- Existing international and EU data models, including multimodal models
Article 8 Procedures and terms of access
The Commission has the task of adopting the implementing acts that will govern the rules for access of competent authorities to eFTI platforms. The focus is on the efficiency of administrative procedures and the reduction of compliance costs for all actors.
Chapter 3 eFTI Platforms and eFTI Service Providers
Section 1 Requirements for eFTI platforms and eFTI service providers
Article 9 eFTI Platforms
In addition to the upcoming specifications, the regulations emphasize:
- The implementation of a unique identifier per transfer (and its corresponding data elements).
- The implementation of authenticated and authorized access.
- The need to have no total deletion of data, the transaction elements are retained.
- The need to comply with archiving rules according to EU legal acts and national law Article 10 eFTI Service Providers.
In addition to the upcoming specifications, the regulations emphasize:
- Immediate access to regulatory information for competent authorities.
- No costs and no burden on the competent authorities.
- Securing data against hacking, loss, destruction.
This milestone is positioned no later than 8/21/2023.
Section 2 Certification
Article 11 Conformity Assessment Bodies
Each Member State shall designate an authority which shall maintain a list of accredited conformity assessment bodies.
Each national accreditation body shall publish on its website the list of accredited conformity assessment bodies.
Each Member State (via its national authority) publishes the list of certified conformity assessment bodies, eFTI platforms and eFTI service providers on an official government website.
The Commission publishes each Member State's list on its official website.
And the Laughing Cow continues to laugh as the mise en abyme is still going strong.
Article 12 Certification of eFTI platforms
It is at the request of an eFTI platform developer that the certification mechanism of an eFTI platform is triggered, either to obtain a certification or to renew a certification (in case of an evolution of the technical specifications concerned by this regulation). Mechanisms for withdrawal or suspension of a certification are foreseen at the initiative of the conformity assessment body.
The eFTI platforms therefore make available information with a certification mark.
Article 13 Certification of eFTI Service Providers
Same mechanism as for the certification of eFTI platforms
Chapter 4 Delegation of Authority and Enforcement Provisions
Article 14 Exercise of delegation
The delegation of adoption is given to the Commission insofar as the European Parliament or the Council does not object.
Article 15 Committee
Definition of the committee assisting the Commission (within the meaning of Regulation 182/2011)
Chapter 5 Final Provisions
Article 16 Review
By 2/21/2029, the Commission will prepare a report outlining its key findings. In addition, the Commission will evaluate possible initiatives to:
- Require economic operators to transmit regulatory information according to eFTI
- Strengthen interoperability and interconnection between the eFTI environment and other regulatory information processing systems.
Article 17 Control
By 21/08/2027, and every five years thereafter, the Commission will count the number of registrations based on the registers of each Member State as well as the number of treatments by the competent authorities.
Annex I REGULATORY INFORMATION WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THIS REGULATION
Generic regulatory considerations.
Appendix II REQUIREMENTS FOR COMPLIANCE ASSESSMENT BODIES
Conformity assessment bodies must be independent of the actors involved or their independence will have been demonstrated.
Pious hope on the integrity and competence of auditors.
Starting in 2022
Timeline from 08/20/2020
- 20/08/2020 : Regulation 2020/1056.
- Date of entry into force of the first legislative stone: Regulation 2020/1056.
- 08/2021 : Specific provisions of national law.
- Notification by Member States of national legislation.
- 2020-2023: DA and RN writing by DTLF.
- Work of the DTLF, the Delegated acts (DA) expert group, the Implementing act (IA) committee.
- Starting 02/2023, phased adoption:
- 02/2023: Adoption of rules for authorities.
- DA on eFTI data set and national obligations.
- IA on common rules for authorities.
- 08/2023: Adoption of the specifications of the platforms and the eFTI providers.
- AI on eFTI platform and eFTI provider specifications.
- 03/2024: Adoption of eFTI certification rules.
- DA on eFTI platform certification rules and eFTI providers.
- 08/2024: Partial entry into force.
- Partial effective date (exception on the obligation for authorities to accept eFTI data).
- 08/2025: Full implementation.
- Date of full entry into force i.e. Member States' authorities are obliged to accept eFTI data.
- 02/2029: Review.
- Obligation for the economic operators.
- Interoperability with other systems in place e.g. the European Maritime Single Window or the European Customs Single Window.
To be continued...