The Digital Transport and Logistics Forum, DTLF, is an expert group of the European Commission bringing together public and private stakeholders from various transport and logistics communities to support the European Commission in promoting the digital transformation of the transport and logistics sector.
The DTLF’s main areas of work include the provision of technical assistance for the implementation of Regulation (EU) 2020/1056 on Electronic Freight Transport Information and the development of Corridor Freight Information Systems for interoperable data sharing between all types of actors in multimodal freight transport and logistics chains.
About the DTLF
Since 2015 the Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF), provides a platform for structural dialogue, provision of technical expertise, cooperation and coordination between the Commission, Member States and the transport and logistic sector. Its goal is to assist the Commission in the development and implementation of the Union’s relevant activities and programmes, in particular those targeted at full-scale digital interoperability and data exchange in a shared, secured and trusted transport and logistics dataspace. Details of the objectives, scope and functioning of the DTLF are laid out in the decision establishing the expert group.
Digitalisation changes profoundly the way we produce, consume, transport and organise our supply chains. Businesses start to interact differently with new business models and services appearing, based on collaboration and sharing economy principles and enabled by data and advanced digital technologies.
These developments can help in finally bringing into reality the vision of a seamless European transport system. Digitalisation facilitates cooperation between supply chain actors, enables better visibility and real-time management of cargo flows, leads to the reduction of administrative burden, and allows for a better use of infrastructures and resources. All of this makes transport and logistics operations more efficient, not least by allowing easier integration of the different transport modes. By that, digitalisation will contribute to decouple economic growth from transport growth; smart logistics solutions will help meeting environmental sustainability targets. The DTLF was established to support this process.
The DTLF’s overall objective is full-scale digital interoperability and data exchange in a shared, secured and trusted transport and logistics dataspace. For this purpose, the DTLF splits currently into two strands of work organised under two subgroups.
The DTLF played an important role in the preparation of the proposal for the EU Regulation on electronic freight transport information (eFTI)and continues to have an essential contribution to the related implementation work (Subgroup1).
Beyond the eFTI Regulation, the DTLF strives for building a common data exchange framework connecting easily and in a collaborative and trusted environment the existing transport and logistics data sources and platforms (Subgroup 2).
The DTLF is composed of more than 100 experts representing EU Member States' authorities, other public entities, as well as private organisations and individuals operating in the transport and logistics business.
Organisations and individuals can only become regular members of the DTLF on the basis of public calls for applications, of which so far two have been organised back in 2015 and 2018. In the absence of such a call, the Commission may invite experts on an ad hoc basis or grant an observer status to an interested party, in case additional expertise for the Forum’s work is needed.
EU Member States' authorities and other public entities directly nominate their representatives to the Forum, in line with the requirements specified in the calls for applications.
More information on the
The first mandate of the DTLF ended in 2018. The end of mandate report and recommendations are available on the website of Register of Commission Expert Groups.
Since 2018, under its second mandate, the DTLF continues to discuss and build consensus on the necessary technical, organisational and legal principles. For this purpose the DTLF works in subgroups and convenes at least twice per year in Plenary. Subgroups are dedicated to specific topics defined in work programmes and will be discontinued and/or replaced once completed.
The DTLF also contributes to the development of the Mobility Data Space, being one of the sectoral initiatives in the framework of the European Common Data Spaces proposed in the European data strategy.
Subgroup 1 – Paperless Transport
In an age where information is recorded digitally first, paper has become an inefficient means for exchanging information. Yet paper documents and plastic cards (such as the driver’s licence) remain the norm for proving compliance with transport rules and with contractual agreements in most transport operations within the EU. Rendering transport paperless is a main objective of the DTLF work.
During the first DTLF mandate (2015-2018), within the framework of Subgroup 1 on “Paperless transport”, the experts focused on the legal and technical barriers preventing trusted, efficient and secure exchange of information between the operators and authorities. The subgroup assisted the European Commission in defining and implementing initiatives that would replace the use of (paper) documents with electronic information exchanges for proving compliance with transport rules.
Currently, the DTLF experts are assisting the Commission in exploring and preparing options for the implementation specifications of the eFTI Regulation, in four dedicated teams under the framework of Subgroup 1 “Paperless transport”:
- “Data” Team – aims to contribute to the definition of the common eFTI data set and eFTI data subsets, in line with the information requirements established in the EU and national legal acts that fall under the scope of the Regulation.
- “Functional” Team – aims to provide input to the preparation of the functional specifications for the implementation of the main elements of the future eFTI environment architecture: the common rules and procedures for the authorities to access and process the eFTI data, the eFTI platforms where the economic operators will make the information available to the authorities, and the eFTI service providers.
- “Technical” Team – aims to provide advice on the technical aspects of the implementation specifications, namely the functional and technical architecture of the future eFTI environment.
- “Implementation and Certification” Team – aims to assist with setting up the rules for the certification of the eFTI platforms and eFTI service providers.
Register of Commission expert groups and other similar entities.
Subgroup 2 – Corridor Freight Information System
Lack of interoperability and fragmentation of various data sharing systems is an important challenge for stakeholders operating in supply and logistics. Therefore, a dedicated DTLF Subgroup 2 “Corridor Freight Information Systems” was established to create a common framework for information sharing in multimodal transport and logistics chains. This dataspace will integrate existing or emerging platforms into a federated network, allowing all private and public players to easily connect and share data in a neutral and trusted environment. The idea is to enable full supply chain visibility, thus triggering innovation, supporting cost reduction, and contributing to societal challenges like safety, security, and sustainability.
By 2022, the Subgroup 2 experts will develop technical specification for the data sharing framework and prepare relevant implementation guidelines from a public and private sector perspective. The experts are grouped in four teams corresponding to the building blocks of the future federated network of platforms:
- Plug and Play: to provide concepts and procedures that allow individual stakeholders to connect and share data according common agreements;
- Technology Independent Services: to produce the technology independent platform services supporting common processes, business interoperability and compliance of business with legislation;
- Federation of Platforms: to create (technical, functional, and business model) interoperability between different platforms, even when each platform is realised with different technology;
- Trusted, Safe and Secure: to establish a neutral governance structure ensuring trust, safety, and security for data sharing via multiple providers of platform services, including peer-to-peer solutions.
The work of the DTLF Subgroup 2 is supported by two EU funded projects: FEDeRATED and FENIX.
More information on the future framework for information sharing in transport and logistics can be found in the workplan and the records from its respective meetings, the DTLF SG2 Interim Report and the video hereafter.
Subgroup 3 - Electronic Freight Transport Information (eFTI) Delegated Acts
The implementation of Regulation (EU) No 2020/1056 on electronic freight transport information (eFTI), which entered into force on 20 August 2020, is one of the main initiatives for the digital transition in transport and logistics. Achieving smart mobility is a priority for the Commission, while paperless freight transport by 2030 is one of the milestones of the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy. The eFTI Regulation confers on the European Commission the power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Article 2(3), Article 7, Article 12(5) and Article 13(3) of the Regulation.
Sub-group 3 “eFTI delegated acts” expert group was established to consult experts designated by each Member State before adopting the delegated acts provided for in the eFTI Regulation, in accordance with the principles laid down in the Inter-Institutional Agreement on Better Law-Making and detailed in its annex “Common Understanding between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on Delegated Acts”.
To benefit the most from the already established framework, routines and practices of the DTLF, the Commission decided to hold consultation meetings on the draft delegated acts also in the framework of the DTLF. To that end, and in order to keep a separation with the wider preparatory work in the framework of the Sub-group 1 “Paperless Transport”, it established the “eFTI delegated acts” as a separate sub-group within the DTLF.
The membership of this Sub-group 3 of the DTLF consist therefore of experts designated by the Member States. A limited number of experts representing other stakeholders, selected on the basis of representability criteria from among the members and observers of the DTLF, may also become observers of this sub-group. Currently, there are 16 observers appointed to the sub-group, following a first call for applications. In accordance with the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union may also send experts to the meetings of this sub-group.
More information on the members, observers and meetings of the Subgroup 3 can be found on the Register of Commission Expert Groups.
eFTI – ‘electronic Freight Transport Information Regulation’
The new EU Regulation (EU) 2020/1056 on electronic freight transport information (eFTI) entered into force in August 2020, and will become fully applicable as of August 2025.
The eFTI Regulation establishes the legal framework for electronic information exchanges between the economic operators and the Member States authorities on the movement of cargo in the European Union. The information concerned is that required by the EU and national legislation to prove compliance with EU and national rules on the movement of goods by rail, road, inland waterways and air.
The Regulation will constitute a big step forward in the digital transformation of freight transport in Europe, with important benefits to both operators and authorities:
- reduced administrative costs in transport and logistics (the sector is expected to save up to EUR 27 billion over the next 20 years, according to European Commission estimates);
- improved overall efficiency of the logistics chain, as it will also facilitate the electronic exchange of information between the economic operators themselves;
- more efficient enforcement of freight transport rules in the Union, by facilitating risk-based controls and ensuring the availability of more data of high and standardised quality that could be used for monitoring and statistical purposes, among others.
The eFTI Regulation will complement other EU initiatives supporting freight information exchanges in electronic format, in particular the European Maritime Single Window environment and the EU Single Window Environment for Customs.
Projects deploying the concepts developed in the DTLF
FEDeRATED is an EU project for digital co-operation, aimed to deliver the foundations for a trustworthy and interoperable business and administrative data-sharing infrastructure for freight transport and logistics.
FENIX is an EU project developing a federated architecture for data sharing, serving the European logistics community of shippers, logistics service providers, mobility infrastructure providers, cities, and authorities in order to offer interoperability between any individual existing and future platforms.
DTLF II (2018 – 2023)
Commission Decision of 13.9.2018 setting up the group of experts on digital freight transport and logistics: the Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF)
Subgroup 1 “Paperless transport”
- Work plan of Subgroup 1
- Reports of Subgroup 1 (Intermediary reports, Final report)
Subgroup 2 “Corridor freight information systems”
- Work plan of Subgroup 2
- Reports of Subgroup 2 (Intermediary reports, Final report)
- Agenda, supporting documents and minutes for all DTLF II Subgroup 1, Subgroup 2 and Plenary meetings
The DTLF support projects
DTLF I (2015-2018)
Commission Decision of 9.4.2015 setting-up an expert group on Digital Transport and Logistics ('the Digital Transport and Logistics Forum')
Subgroup 1 “Electronic Transport Documents”
- Final report of Subgroup 1 (Executive summary, Full report)
- Mandate of Subgroup 1
Subgroup 2 “Corridor information systems”
- Final report of Subgroup 2 (Executive summary, Full report)
- Mandate of Subgroup 2
Benefits of eFTI Regulation
DTLF Sharepoint (for DTLF members and observers only)
European Maritime Single Window environment
Director-General Henrik Hololei