New NDPTL project on digital solutions in transport launched and well under way

Panel discussion during the NDPTL project session at the 2022 Transport Innovation Forum, Vilnius (20.10.2022).

After a break of over six years, a new NDPTL Support Fund project “Northern Dimension Partnership goes Real Time Economy”, started its activities in September 2022 -and is now well under way. The project consortium led by INFOBALT, a Lithuanian association of digital technology companies, and involving nine partners (from Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland) will by its reporting in autumn 2023 identify and propose innovative digital solutions to exchange of transboundary shipment data in the Northern Dimension region.

According to its project plan, the new project will map and solve legal and ICT infrastructure challenges of the participating countries concerning the implementation and use of the standardized digital version of the international consignment notes (the e-CMR protocol) -as well as solutions related to the EU Electronic Freight Transport Information (eFTI) regulation. The 2008 e-CMR protocol of the UNECE Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR Convention) provides for an international framework for mainstreaming a digital version of the standard CMR consignment notes. A closely related European development is the 2020 eFTI Regulation of the EU, aiming for a deployment of interoperable digital transport document exchange systems between authorities and operators within the EU.

The NDPTL eCMR project will perform studies on legal and ICT readiness of the participating countries for these legal frameworks and technologies, on opportunities for the use of the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) as well as push for a regional implementation roadmap and declaration on the theme. In addition, the project will develop further the existing eCMR software prototype developed within earlier projects Diginno, DinnoCap and DinnoProto. This eCMR prototype will be provided with new functionalities, including considering the use of European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) and self-sovereign identifiers (SSI), and a new, more user-friendly, GUI. The plan is to pilot the updated prototype in trials within the NDPTL countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia).

Finally, via outreach and dissemination activities, the Project will highlight the advantages of eCMR and eFTI for a wider audience. This includes organizing a Hackathon for young teams and startups on developing Business to Business (B2B) solutions around the eCMR solution prototype. Moreover, the Project will facilitate compatibility and linkages between Nordic-Baltic, pan-Baltic and national digital initiatives by providing concrete eCMR as well as eFTI solutions for regional consideration -and pave the way for collaboration between industry and governmental agencies.

As a first step in its dissemination and outreach activities, the project hosted a dedicated panel “NDPTL goes real time economy” at the 2022 International Innovation Transport Forum in Vilnius 20th October 2022. This international live and online event discussed the legal and ICT infrastructure challenges, including transboundary compatibility, enabling, and mainstreaming eCMR document exchange within, and beyond the NDPTL region.