Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan

In 2007, the Freight Transport Agenda (EC, 2007a) was launched by the EC to broaden the focus on freight transportation policy through a set of policy initiatives. The first one among them was the Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan (FTLAP), which introduced a number of shortto medium-term actions aimed at integrating transportation modes (EC, 2007b). The most important among these actions were:

• Measuring performance of integrated systems: The plan suggested the identification and monitoring of operational, infrastructural and administrative bottlenecks, the establishment of a core set of generic indicators that would measure and record performance (e.g. sustainability, efficiency etc.) in freight transportation logistics chains, and the elaboration of a set of generic (dynamic and static) benchmarks for multimodal terminals.

• Exchange of information through interoperable ICT systems: The plan introduced the concept of e-Freight denoting the vision of a seamless electronic flow of information associating the physical flow of goods with a paperless trail built by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) regardless of transportation mode, and called for the development of an Action Plan for deploying Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in road transportation.

• Easing regulatory requirements for the exchange of information between

modes: The plan called for the assessment of establishing a single transportation document for all carriage of goods, irrespective of mode, of introducing within the EU of a standard (fall-back) liability clause and of establishing a single window (single access point) and one stop-administrative shopping for administrative procedures in all modes.

• Introducing 'green corridors': The plan introduced the concept of 'green

corridors,' denoting corridors of highly dense freight traffic and of relatively long transportation distances equipped with adequate transshipment facilities at strategic locations. Industry should be encouraged along these corridors to rely on co-modality and on advanced technology in order to accommodate rising traffic volumes, while promoting environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.

• Enhancing the urban dimension of integrated transportation solutions: The plan introduced a holistic vision paying attention to aspects of land use planning, environmental considerations and traffic management.

It is interesting to note that an action plan on transportation logistics concentrated solely on mode integration issues. In fact, two of the five actions listed above (green corridors and urban distribution) relate to cargo flows, two (exchange of information and administrative procedures) concern information flows, while the fifth one (performance indicators) applies to both.

The green corridors introduced by the FTLAP play a key role in this book not only because “... [they] are ideal environments for the development and introduction of solutions that help promote environmental sustainability and energy efficiency, so that they may become showcases of 'green' freight transport,” as stated by the Impact Assessment document accompanying the FTLAP (EC, 2007c), but because they comprise a vehicle that can address wider policy objectives of the EU, including modal integration, simplification of administrative formalities, internalization of external costs, and harmonization of safety, security and social legislation (Panagakos et al., 2013). Green corridors are studied in detail in Chaps. 3–6 of this book.

The e-Freight concept introduced by FTLAP also deserves special attention, as the exchange of information is a basic pillar of supply chain integration. It has a positive effect on, among others, demand planning, capacity and production planning, performance management, and inventory control. It is also vital in applications related to international safety and security. Information integration is considered as one of the most prominent future trends in supply chain management. Along this line, the e-Freight initiative of the EU aims at:

• enhancing interoperability between freight transportation information systems,

• enabling operators to enter information only once in the whole multimodal supply chain for planning, execution, monitoring and reporting purposes,

• developing interoperable information and booking tools (such as multimodal journey planners for freight) for an optimised use of multimodal transportation possibilities, and

• developing a structure for the use of information coming from tracking and tracing technologies as well as from intelligent cargo applications.

More specifically, the reference framework for ICT in transportation logistics that e-Freight seeks to establish would enable the provision of services like:

• a single transportation document, as an electronic waybill across modes,

• a single window for information sharing across modes, for business-to-administration, administration-to-administration and administration-to-business purposes at national, between national and at EU level,

• a standard description of transportation services and the issuing of transportation instructions.

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