Living lab #17 - e-CMR/eFTI Information Model

  • Posted on: 7 April 2022
  • By: rhemeleers

The EU eFTI regulation becomes fully applicable on 21 August 2025

The EU 2020/1056 eFTI regulation that will be fully applicable as from 21 August 2025 mandates the EU 27 Member States (MS) to be able to receive transport information in an EU harmonised electronic format. #eFTI is not mandatory for economic operators, but if they want to share information electronically, then they must do this through a certified eFTI platform, eventually certify their own platform.

Data is shared at the source

As a Luxembourg based advisory firm, 51Biz has a focus on road transport that is part of multimodal supply chains integrating air-cargo and inland navigation. As such, 51Biz participates in EU funded initiatives such as FEDeRATED and the I4Trust e-CMR Data Hub. 

The "e-CMR/eFTI access point and OneAPP/API for Authorities" living lab LL#17 implements the key FEDeRATED principle in the context of global supply chains whereby logistics actors share and update the data at source. A federated data sharing infrastructure that is trusted by economic operators and authorities to share information in an electronic format needs interoperable API and EDI building components.

Interoperability in a global context

Especially for Benelux companies, it is important to design and implement data integration solutions that are globally interoperable. It is also important that the same information, structured in internal ERP and Transport Information Systems (TMS) is used for commercial (invoice, packing lists,..), transport (consignment notes,..) and regulatory (customs, certificates,..) purposes.

This is the key reason why we are currently finetuning a logical information model that must provide interoperability between global (WCO Customs, UN/CEFACT, IATA OneRecord, GS1, ..) and EU (eFTI, DTLF/FEDeRATED) semantics and ontologies.

A simple logical information model

The logical information model of the EU-Gate e-CMR/eFTI access point and OneAPP/API for Authorities living lab aims to be simple and it aims to be logical. Independent from data presentation standards such as (for example) XML, JSON-LD, RDF Semantic web.

Today's 2022 version is not really different from the one of 1988 when I joined Cargolux Airlines providing its customers with a one-stop service proposal including global air and EU-wide road feeder services. I am still thankful to have had the opportunity with some of the world's visionary business experts to acquire the insight how to structure multimodal data for route and network profitability analysis, forecasting and simulation.

The logical information model also includes the insights of the initial Luxembourg and Singapore Single Window projects, whereby we chased the objective to create a data model that is compliant with the WCO Data Model and later on with the UN/CEFACT Multimodal Transport reference Model. Insights that we used within a joint effort of UN/CEFACT and IRU to create the UN/CEFACT e-CMR road consignment specification.

The context of the logical information model

The logical information model must support a number of use cases. The most important one is to provide the logical relationships between transport milestone events, such as the arrival of a truck, barge or aircraft, and the individual shipments and house waybills.

To provide semantic interoperability, these logical relationships can be mapped to the UN/CEFACT specifications (BRS) of the global BuyShipPay (BSP) model and the UN/CEFACT MMT.

Let's have a dive and look at some of the most important ones.

The movement of the goods

  • From the perspective of eFTI, the transport order (consignment) is the most important one as it records an agreement between the sender of goods and the transport service provider to move goods, eventually using multiple modes of transport, between a place of loading and a place of unloading. Example: a house waybill can include an air waybill and a road consignment note (CMR)

The movement of the transport means

  • Transport service providers typically plan and operate their network through transportitineraries whereby a transport means ( truck, barge, airplane, train, maritime vessel) operates a sequence of transport movements (flight legs, road trips, barge voyages, ..) between places of loading and places of unloading. To be complete, also add technical and rest stops. 
  • The most important generic transport events are (1) arrival at a place of loading, (2) loading, (3) Departure, (4) pre-arrival notification, (5) arrival at place of unloading, (6) unloading, (7) goods are available for pickup (often after customs release).
  • The transport segment of the LL#17 data model is the equivalent of the cargo manifest including a list of consignment items that have a common place of loading and place of unloading within a particular transport itinerary. A transport segment can have multiple manifests, for example in the case when transport service providers and transport operators are different (code-sharing)

The goods movements (consignment items)

  • Within the e-CMR/eFTI living lab #LL17, goods movements (consignment items) are -the- binding links between transport orders and the transport itinearies.

The role of unique identifiers

The simple logical data model illustrates the importance of unique identifiers for shipments, transport orders, transport means and transport itineraries. Especially when a federated data sharing infrastructure can provide a trusted environment to share data at the source. 51Biz has a close working relationship with the global and BeLux GS1 expert teams to explore the role of unique identifiers and self sovereign identifiers (SSI) in the context of the Australian-led UN/CEFACT "Verifiable credentials for cross border trade" project team.

Two examples

  • the e-CMR and/or e-Cargo Manifest, presented by an air-cargo road service can include linked data to the master and house waybills that could each have their own origin and final destination.
  • the shipping manifest, presented by a barge operator sailing between Strasbourg and Antwerp with 100 containers can include a list of linked data (maybe QR codes) to the shipment information, eventually stored in an inland or maritime port operator system because the information was used for customs purposes.

Next step: Interoperability between global and EU semantics

In part-2 of this article, we will use two real-world multimodal use cases ("Roses for Valentine" and "From Strasbourg to Antwerp") to explain the event-centric ontology that is developed by the EU funded FEDeRATED consortium within a global context. The logical information model is key important.


The 23 FEDeRATED living labs. coordinates living lab LL#17 

The i4Trust e-CMR Data Sharing experiment. The "OneAPP for Authorities" application, delivered by the FEDeRATED living lab LL#17 is configured to access e-CMR that presented by one of the participating e-CMR service providers

The pilot project of IATA OneRecord Our focus on using OneRecord for Road Transport

The UN/CEFACT specifications (MMT, e-CMR,..) You can download them free of charge.

Attachments and Links