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Act on electronic consignment notes into force in April

Act on electronic consignment notes into force in April

Press release 14.02.2019 15.28 fi sv en

Stock photo. Act on electronic consignment notes into force in April. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Finland will accede to the international agreement on electronic consignment notes in April. In order to carry out the accession, an amendment will be made to the Act on the Convention for the Carriage of Goods by Road. The amendment is expected to enter into force on 11 April 2019. 

This means that in future an electronic consignment note may be used in international transport between the countries party to the agreement. Also other documentation related to transport may be in electronic form. 

A requirement for more extensive digitalisation of the logistics sector is the conversion of data into electronic form. The use of the electronic consignment note will make the processing of information more efficient and faster. Once the data is in electronic form, the services can be made more flexible and the transport services speedier.

The electronic consignment note can be used in transport between countries party to the agreement. Currently, the number of countries amounts to 18. In domestic transport, the electronic consignment note may be used by mutual agreement of the consignor and the consignee.

Legislation based on the UN Convention for the Carriage of Goods by Road

The legislation related to Finland's road transport agreements is based on the UN Convention for Carriage of Goods by Road. It specifies international rules for cross-border transport. These include details concerning consignment notes in road transport. For the sake of consistency, the same rules apply, almost as such, to transport within Finland, too.

The Act on the Convention for the Carriage of Goods by Road applies to the freight consignor and consignee. It is not binding on the authorities. However, the authorities may accept electronic consignment notes. For the digitalisation of the entire travel chain, it is important that electronic information can be used in transactions with the authorities. For now, this is based on the decisions of each authority.

What next?

The approval of electronic information in transactions with the authorities will be promoted in an EU regulation now under preparation. It will define the situations in which the authorities must accept the transport data in electronic form.

The introduction of the electronic consignment note will be promoted also at national level.  To serve this purpose, the Ministry of Transport and Communications established a network of logistics digitalisation in summer 2017.

The Government proposes that the President of the Republic approve the amendment and set its date of entry into force on 11 April 2019. The President of the Republic is expected to approve the bill on Friday, 15 February 2019.

The UN Convention for the Carriage of Goods by Road was concluded in 1956 and entered into force in July 1961.  In January 2018, the number of parties to it was 55. In Finland, the Convention entered into force in 1973 by the Act on the Convention for the Carriage of Goods by Road. The amendment to the Convention concerning the electronic consignment note was made in 2008 and entered into force in 2011.

Inquiries:

Tuomas Kaivola, Ministerial Adviser, tel. + 358 50 525 8367