Testing of paperless freight transport from Estonia to Poland begins

A queue of trucks at the border crossing point at Ikla in South Estonia during the emergency situation.
A queue of trucks at the border crossing point at Ikla in South Estonia during the emergency situation. Source: Verner Vilgas/ERR

Testing of the digital trade route from Estonia to Poland will start on Thursday, during which the Estonian Tax and Customs Board and the Police and Border Guard Board will try to use real-time freight information to reduce paperwork in the logistics sector in the future.

During testing, it will no longer necessary to stop the vehicle to check its contents as this can be done by entering the truck and trailer registration number into a new system.

DIGINNO-Proto project manager Inna Nosach said the digitalisation of the consignment notes is beneficial for both companies and authorities.

Nosach explained: "The operator will be able to work more efficiently in the future thanks to the fact that transport information only needs to be registered once and can then be shared electronically with the necessary authorities in neighbouring countries or with business partners. At the same time, the authorities will have the opportunity to perform their procedures quickly, conveniently and remotely."

During testing, the partners can see in practice how the e-CMR - a mandatory international transport document - issued in one country is visible in the information systems of another country. The truck should only be physically stopped if there are any visible deficiencies, or in case the documents are not available for digital inspection.

Lauri Lusti, head of the TIR Department at the Association of Estonian International Road Carriers, said that the coronavirus pandemic showed the need for cross-border digitalisation of transport documents.

"If so far we have seen the advantage of digitizing transport documents mainly from reducing a lot of costs, then in today's situation it is necessary to make the entire transport chain contactless as well," Lusti added.

"In the future, we could avoid people-to-people contacts and unjustified downtime, for example at borders, by making all cargo and transport documentation remotely observable and controllable for both cargo handlers and control bodies. The digitalization of the consignment note is only the first step in this direction," said Lusti.

Until now, freight companies have been able to monitor shipments in real-time and control the transport temperature of their goods. The CRM is now being tested in the electronic delivery and acceptance process, to reduce the bureaucracy of paper documents.

"European regulation on electronic transport (eFTI) has started life as EU law from 20 August 2020. After four years, the information flow between business and authorities will become mandatory in the EU", said DIGINNO-PROTO project manager Inna Nosach.

"In close cooperation with neighbouring countries, already today we can offer a workable data exchange model, based on innovative blockchain technology. We believe that based on the prototype, we can make better-considered decisions for eFTI implementation in the BSR region and our experience will be interesting to other Member States facing similar challenges", she added.

From Estonia, the Tax and Customs Board and the Police and Border Guard Board have been involved in testing from the public sector. Also, from the private sector, Via 3L and Ospentos have agreed to help. The technology solutions are offered by MobiCarnet, Qstep and the Digilogistika Keskus (Logixdigi).

Testing is part of the DIGINNO-Proto pilot project launched under the leadership of the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

DIGINNO-Proto brings together partners in both the public and private sectors in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The contractual partner for the development of the prototype is the Lithuanian company FITEK EDI. The result of the project will be available as free software to all interested parties.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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