The European Freight Logistics Action Plan relies on co-modality and on advanced technology to provide a competitive European surface freight transport system whilst promoting environmental sustainability. The E-FREIGHT project denotes the vision of paperless freight transport processes where an electronic flow of information is linked to the physical flow of goods. Related developments are expected to lead in the future to "Intelligent Cargo", meaning that goods will become self-context and location-aware as well as connected to a wide range of information services, thus automating further the transportation management process.
The E-FREIGHT project is aimed at supporting, from a transport perspective, the pillars of European Policy. Namely:
- Strengthening of the internal market and competitiveness;
- Improving regulation to create a more dynamic business environment;
- Promoting sustainable development.
Specifically E-FREIGHT will contribute to the goals of the Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan (October 2007), and the ITS Action Plan (October 2008) pertaining to the development of:
- A standard framework for freight information exchange covering all transport modes;
- A European Single Transport Document for carriage of goods with all the necessary legislative support, irrespective of mode;
- A Single Window (single access point) for administrative procedures in all modes;
- Simple, harmonised border crossings for all modes of transport for EU member states;
- Simple procedures and the necessary infrastructure for establishing secure and efficient transport corridors between Europe, USA, and Asia.
The key issues that will be addressed in E-Freight are:
- Intra-European trade is complicated due to disconnected logistic chains. This hindrance conflicts with the legitimate ambition of achieving a European maritime transport space without barriers. Linked to these issues is the broader need for simplification and harmonisation of regulatory requirements and accelerated development of EU and National Single Windows to streamline traffic and cargo reporting to authorities particularly in the context of co-modal transport. Further, safety and security issues need special attention, particularly in establishing efficient collaboration between authorities and transportation stakeholders to improve the development of capabilities for proactive and remedial measures to protect the environment as well as the security of freight transport networks;
- Optimisation of road, rail, and waterborne transportation resources to achieve co-modality requires improved ways for transport stakeholders to establish co-operation and to integrate their processes. For this, the E-FREIGHT project will introduce Information Highways for Co-modality to denote solutions assisting transport operators to establish common end-to-end transportation processes incorporating regulations compliance and intelligent monitoring and control;
- In centrally managed networks prevailing in transportation services, coordination is achi
The project will provide an e-freight platform supporting the design, development, deployment and maintenance of e-freight solutions which will be validated in business cases and pilots involving representatives from all relevant stakeholders in surface transport including large and small businesses and authorities.
Importantly, the business cases evaluations will also provide feedback regarding scalability, robustness and dependability issues for emerging internet technologies.
The project outputs will be extensively disseminated and will be used to pinpoint legislation and standardization improvements that will support the adoption of e-freight by the European surface transport community. A key objective will be to demonstrate the long term sustainability of the project outputs.