On March 2008, about 20 RUs committed themselves to implement on July 2009 the technical specifications to forward paperless transports.. A project team has been created with reporting to a steering board in which some delegates of CIT CIT International Rail Transport Committee and CER CER Community of the European Railways Customs working group and SGs from UIC are participating. RAILDATA has been tasked to work on the technical specifications including a message structure and the needed data catalogue, and the message flow.
With a prerequisite to insure the functional equivalence with the paper based consignment note, the project team has been facing a few challenges. One option taken by project team was to build up a version with a central system to allow a close cooperation with the RAILDATA members within ORFEUS.
The central project team has delivered in March 2009 a complete version of the technical specifications and at the same time RAILDATA succeeded to create An Electronic Consignment Note message.
However the economical crisis gets harder and harder for the project members some of them are making the first tests and launching pilots bilaterally. As 100% of the needed data by ECN are already available they plan an implementation in Autumn 2009.
The legal ownership of the project and the results (technical specifications and IT message) belong to UIC and his members. Basically the work done will be in free access and disseminated as far as possible to become a real standard.
Some open questions remaining for specific shipments like hazardous goods or exceptional consignments will be taken over by the IT SG in specific working groups