Digital transformation: FNTR (French National Federation of Road Transport) – en route to new perspectives
Are new technologies transforming road transport?
We have been working with new technologies for a long time. All vehicles are connected to corporate IT systems using GPS technology, geofencing, rounds management, driving time management and maintenance monitoring. Self-driving vehicles are also on the horizon.
However, the exchange of paper documents still plays a key role in our profession and is a potential source of error. When operators take a shipping order by telephone, they write down information on the consignment note for national transport or on the CMR for international transport. These documents are important in our sector as they constitute our contract of carriage. Numerous players add to them at each step in goods transport, further increasing the risk of error.
We have recently finished working on an electronic consignment note, rolling out paperless procedures in compliance with the standard messages approved by UN/CEFACT to ensure interoperability with other solutions that comply with this standard. We have also worked with international organisation GS1 to ensure that these standards apply to all economic sectors in France and internationally. There is now a finished and usable electronic version of the national and international consignment note, created with the company Transfollow. All we need to do is convince clients to use this paperless version. We are integrating industry solutions, such as Trimbble and Transix to facilitate adoption. And we have been working with MGI to integrate the Transfollow electronic consignment note into Ci5, the Cargo Community System that is replacing AP+.
Blockchain, vital for data exchanges
We have been working on Blockchain for just over a year, with the aim of creating a secure data tunnel. To this end, we have partnered with MGI and the French Ministry for Transport, carriers, start-ups, digital businesses, insurers, bankers and shippers. Our consignment note already constitutes a mini-blockchain as information is exchanged in real time between the shipper, consignee and the initial and successive carriers who handle collection, transfer and delivery. Blockchain technology will secure and automate transport processes and document or information exchange between stakeholders or between an administrative body and other stakeholders. On delivery, the consignment note is signed and the information is sent to all stakeholders, informing them that the operation has been completed. With a paper document, the carrier needs to return to base to hand over the signed consignment note before the operation can be invoiced. And in the event of disputes or reservations, photos are sent in real time to the carrier and shipper. Thanks to the Blockchain and its smart contract, we will be able to automatically generate the electronic consignment note and process all events (invoicing, payment follow-up, management of disputes, follow-up of disputes in real time, secure transfer of documents to administrative bodies for controls, etc.) associated in any way with a transport operation. We are currently working with MGI on proof of concept.
What role do ports play in road transport?
Road transport has long suffered from a lack of recognition from the port community. We have worked hard with the Marseille-Fos Maritime and River Federation and Jean-Yves Astouin, our representative in the PACA region, to change this mindset. Our members are now recognised as an integral link in the port transport chain and are fully involved in CCS development, particularly for the mobile version of Ci5.
Interview with Thierry Grumiaux, Head of the Committee for Transport, International Trade, Customs, Logistics and New Technologies at the French National Federation of Road Transport.
By Marie Pavesio, Marketing and Communication Manager at MGI.
Since 1933, FNTR has represented road transport companies and forwarding agents. It now counts four thousand five hundred companies of all sizes, representing over two hundred thousand employees, making it the leading trade association in the sector.
FNTR defends the interests of its members before ministries and administrations in France and Europe, meets the short- and medium-term expectations of carriers, and supports businesses in preparing for changes to the profession. It has strong grass-roots support in all French regions and is also well represented in the European Union with a permanent representative in Brussels. The federation is also a founding member of the International Road Union (IRU), which works in around one hundred countries in Europe, the USA and Latin America, with members representing their national trade associations.
This post was written by Sandie Hili