The Freight Logistics Action Plan was launched by the European Commission, amongst a number of policy initiatives, to help Europe address key transport challenges including:
| · Sustainable Quality and Efficiency
· Simplification of Transport Chains
· “Green” Freight Transport Corridors
· Urban Freight Logistics
· Vehicle Dimensions and Loading Standards
The 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.
In this context, the notion of e-Freight was introduced as a means to support electronic exchange of information in business to business and business to administration relations. e-Freight is also part of the Action Plan for the Deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in Europe.
"e-freight", denotes the vision of paperless freight transport processes where an electronic flow of information is linked to the physical flow of goods. Specific objectives include:
· Administrative simplification across transport modes.
· Standardisation of information exchanges relating to location and other cargo information.
· Development of secure ways of making supply chain information (including “en route” information on the location and condition of transported goods) available on-line to customs, other regulatory authorities and businesses.
· Development of practical ways of using positioning and communication technologies (e.g. radio frequency identification - RFID, Dedicated Short Range Communication - DSRC, and applications of the EGNOS/Galileo satellite positioning system).
· Improved integration and interoperability of computer applications used by different stakeholders involved in freight transport
· Synergistic development with the e-Maritime and other related EU initiatives.
e-Freight 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 key issues to be addressed include:
1. To enable transport users (shippers, freight forwarders, etc) to identify and use direct or combined transport services most suited for their purpose we need open freight transport e-market places. This is dependent on transport service providers publishing their services in the internet in a manner that can readily be used by independent web based transport management systems.
2. To achieve efficient use of the different transport modes on their own and in combination (co-modality), stakeholders need improved means to strategically manage networks, plan shipments and to control the implementation of such strategies and plans. For this, transport stakeholders need to establish common end-to-end transportation processes incorporating regulations compliance and ‘intelligent’ monitoring and control.
3. A prerequisite for the development of a European network of integrated transport chains, linking road, rail and waterborne resources in an optimum way is the simplification and harmonisation of regulatory requirements across modes and EU States. For this solutions for the Single Transport Document in line with the Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan are needed . Further Next Generation Single Windows  need to be developed to streamline cargo and traffic information exchange between authorities and between authorities and other stakeholders and to support improved European capabilities to protect the environment as well as the security of freight transport networks.
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