TALLINN – This week, a financing agreement was signed with which 14.2 million euros is allocated from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for the implementation of the eFTI4EU project led by Estonia.
Together with self-financing, a total of 28.3 million euros will be invested in the project to develop a system for the use of electronic freight transport documents in the European Union, the Ministry of Climate said.
According to a study by the European Commission, electronic freight contracts and consignment forms are currently used in less than one percent of the freight transport carried out in the European Union. In order to encourage the use of electronic freight documents, the member states of the European Union are obliged to accept electronic freight documents by road, rail, sea and air from the first half of 2026.
In the course of the eFTI4EU project, a prototype solution necessary for the functioning of the electronic freight transport information (eFTI) architecture will be created, with which data exchange will be tested both domestically and between countries.
"With the project, we want to be a pioneer in the digitalization of the European transport sector," Eva Killar, head of the mobility development and investments department of the Ministry of Climate and the leading partner of the project, said. "On the one hand, paperless freight transport helps to save the environment, but on the other hand, it also increases the competitiveness of companies -- thanks to electronic documents, companies can introduce new business processes and reuse data on digital transport documents in several other transactions."
Sirli Heinsoo, real-time economy sector manager at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, added that the introduction of digital freight documents is an important step that will help to simplify the business processes of companies.
"Instead of time-consuming administrative issues, companies can focus on their main business activities and on opportunities that actually create value and increase productivity. We are glad that we are serving as the compass in this field in Europe as well," she added.
The use of electronic consignment forms can reduce the administrative burden by an estimated 60 percent. In addition, the estimated administrative cost savings for European Union companies would total 27 billion euros over the next 20 years. The financial gain comes from the savings achieved in terms of the time spent on receiving, processing, transmitting information, making follow-up requests and archiving documents, as well as from a significant reduction in the volume of paper.
The leader of the initiative is the Minister of Climate of Estonia and the partner countries are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania and Portugal. The observers of the project are Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland and Inland Navigation Europe.
The financing agreement was signed by the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) and the pan-European consortium consisting of nine member states, 22 public and private sector partners and four observers.