The deadline for the introduction of the electronic consignment note (e-CMR) is fast approaching. Meanwhile, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) is warning that 19 countries (out of 26) have so far ratified the introduction of the e-CMR, and the practice of its use is far from ideal. What are the obstacles to the widespread introduction of e-CMR?
Currently, one of the main obstacles to the use of e-CMR is the lack of interoperability between the parties to the service. The technology used by different providers does not always ensure communication between different systems. But the introduction of eFTI will make interoperability mandatory, comments IRU’s Raluca Marian, Director of EU Advocacy. To the IRU‘s knowledge, there is a lot of uncertainty among haulers and shippers about which countries allow and accept electronic waybills. And also whether road transport inspectors will treat the electronic waybill similarly to the paper waybill during inspections.
However, as Raluca Marian explains, the e-CMR regulations are very clear on the latter point. If an e-CMR is issued in a country that has signed the e-CMR protocol, the country where the service ends must accept the document. This is the case even if the country has not yet ratified the protocol. An important challenge with the use of the e-CMR – as yet unresolved – remains the issue of the confidentiality of the data made available in the system.
It is not yet certain what the public administration will be able to do with the data received, says Raluca Marian. – The eFTI regulation will only establish clear rules on this matter. Until this happens, many companies are reluctant to share data with control authorities. This is because the data to be shared is often commercially sensitive, he adds.