Prepared and sponsored by the Project: “eCMR in ND region”, Project ID: NDPTL Project 001-2021
Reimagine the cross border mobility in Europe and beyond with European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI)! Imagine B2B, B2C, B2G exchange of data using a common standard – wallets as digital interfaces and blockchain as the trusted technology infrastructure. Imagine a new digital economy enforced by secure, resilient and easy to manage information exchange. That is the vision stakeholders in transport and logistics seek to achieve and deliverable leads in NDPTL Project 001-2021 eCMR analysed as one of the technical options for eCMR and eFTI development.
eCMR is a platform that works together with the transport and logistics sector. It aims as allowing the service providers to index their active eCMR and the controlling institutions to check the availability of CMR transport documents of the foreign road carriers driving through their territory in a secure and trustable way. NDPTL Project 001-2021 eCMR in Northern Dimension region focused on the analysis of technical possibilities for use of the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) with eCMR. The Project team defined functionalities of eCMR tool by consulting economic operators to understand business needs and operations, analysing and assessing available information on eFTI platform functionalities and requirements, analysing roles and exchanges defined in eFTI Regulation as well as analysing DTLF guidelines and materials released to the public and experts involved in the Project.
In order to understand if EBSI is aplicable with eCMR, it is necessary to understad the way of working of the eCMR as a tool. Using eCMR application creates PDF format documents displayed on a tablet computer instead of paper documents. eCMR information can be viewed, updated or deleted, but user can only add or update information in predefined eCMR fields. After eCMR is activated, relevant metadata is accessible through eFTI network. Once delivery is completed, finished eCMR document and metadata can be sent to intended recipients: carrier, consignor or consignee. In order to manage editing and access rights, a secure solution for verifying identities and credentials is needed. European Blockchain Partnership’s vision is to leverage blockchain to create cross-border services for public administrations, businesses, citizens and their ecosystems to verify information and make services trustworthy by using digital wallets as applications that allow interactions with the EBSI ecosystem. It is a tool to let users manage their account and all documents on the network. With EBSI conformant wallet, users are able to store, verify and share information across Europe. This wallet was considered as one of the options for securing access to eCMR documents and metadata.
Within the framework of NDPTL project, assessment was carried out based on technical documentation provided with EBSI use cases, consultations with IT experts and with support and expertise from project partners. Concept of eCMR tool, as well as functional and non-functional requirements were defined by the Project team and the opportunities to comply eCMR requirements with the variety of digital wallets has been analysed.
Use of digital wallets requires digital literacy and sufficient skills to identify oneself. This may pose challenges to users with basic digital skills. Nevertheless, the benefits are significant in countries where electronic identification (eID) options are limited. More than that, by adopting open-source code, electronic identification systems can leverage the collaborative efforts of a global community of developers and programmers to improve the functionality and security of eID solutions. Furthermore, centralised certification of such systems can ensure consistent and robust implementation across different regions and applications.
According to Ms. Ieva Markucevičiūtė-Vinckė, the Researcher and NDPTL Project Deliverable Lead, there are two cases for applying Blockchain based solutions in eFTI – for storage of metadata and to identity verification. Due to relatively short and dynamic lifecycle of eCMR, storing even small quantities of metadata of eCMR documents would require significant amounts of capacity and energy as information must be synchronised across all 27 EU Member States’ EBSI nodes. “More feasible application of EBSI would be storing IT certificates related to eFTI platforms, that are relatively static and only need to be accessed for validation”, says Ms. Markucevičiūtė-Vinckė.
It is already a common knowledge, that eFTI is a game changer in freight transportation in Europe and beyond. Already in 2025 national authorities will be obliged to be able to receive the data in an electronic format as the eFTI Regulation will get into force. Event though, eFTI Regulation is not mandatory for the private sector, it is important that the economic operators would work in line with the preparation to connect to the eFTI environment as soon as it is launched.
There is a huge work that is being done by Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF) for the preparations to deliver all the leading documents for the eFTI Regulation. Referring to the topic of this article, the EBSI topic is on the DTLF agenda and it goes in line with the findings of the NDPTL Project 001-2021 eCMR. DTLF’s vision is to use EBSI for registry of trusted eFTI platforms providing governance for technological and regulatory solutions and the deployment of the EBSI infrastructure and its use cases. There is a need to leverage blockchain to accelerate the creation of cross-border public services and their ecosystems in this way supporting the certification processes of eFTI platforms.
Even though, we are now aware that EBSI is not the best case for the eCMR tool, benefits of the EBSI usage for eFTI platform certifications are very much clear. Using EBSI we could build the trust chains, which are easy to manage, easy to verify anywhere, anytime and at the same time resilient and tampering-proof. This is a way of rebuilding the existing way of working and moving towards a decentralised services that simplify the life of the economic operators and all the EU citizens.
The article has been prepared based on the “Analysis report of possibilities to use EBSI on eCMR and its compatibility with eFTI”.