The Council of the European Union has adopted new rules which will make it easier for freight transport companies to provide authorities with information in digital form. The increased digitalization of freight and logistics will save significant costs for businesses and make the transportation sector more efficient and sustainable.

A provisional agreement was reached between the Presidency and the European Parliament on 26 November 2019. The agreed text was approved by the ambassadors of the Member States meeting within the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) on 18 December 2019, the Council confirming the political agreement on February 18, 2020.

The new rules adopted will create a uniform legal framework for the use of electronic information relating to the transport of goods, applicable to all modes of transport. All competent public authorities will be required to accept information communicated in electronic form via a certified platform each time companies choose to use such a platform to communicate information used to demonstrate compliance with legislative requirements. However, companies can still, if they prefer, present the information on paper.

Currently, most freight companies and other players in the transportation industry use paper documents.

Next steps

The vote, taken by written procedure, means that the Council adopted its position at first reading. Legal acts must now be adopted by the European Parliament at second reading before being published in the Official Journal.

The new regulations will come into force twenty days after their publication. The Commission will adopt the relevant technical specifications before the obligation on public authorities to accept information communicated in electronic form enters into force.

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Source: Council of the European Union

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