Electronic trade and transport documents and data

As part of the high-profile multi-agency United Nations Development Account project Transport and Trade Connectivity in the Age of Pandemics, UNECE has developed a segment focusing on the harmonization of standards for the digitalization of data and document exchange in multimodal transport and trade. The objective is to use the standards of the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), a UNECE subsidiary body, notably the UN/CEFACT Multimodal Transport Reference Data Model, to provide for interoperability and data exchange between documents, modes of transport and sectors. This will allow for seamless exchange of information, for example in digital corridors, and will limit person-to-person contacts in the supply chain. The use of United Nations standards and modern IT tools, provided as international public goods, helps improve the efficiency and safety of international transport and trade in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The segment is producing, step-by-step, a package of standards to be used in the digitalization of key documents accompanying goods transported by various modes: maritime, road, railway, air and inland water transport. If the data sets in these documents are interoperable with the United Nations standards, this will allow for interoperability along transport and supply chains. The objective is not to impose solutions (ready electronic documents) to the various stakeholders, but to provide solutions for interoperability, including the use of such modern technologies as XML and JSON API. Initial pilot implementation cases have started, such as the digitalization of the multimodal Bill of Lading of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) or a pilot test of the concept focusing on the exports of wood products from Belarus to Central Europe, using road, railway, river and sea transportation (a Dnieper – Danube pilot test).


Dnieper – Danube Corridor Pilot Dataset Alignment to International Standards and Data Models and Documents Implementation Prototypes for Use in Eastern Europe

Fulfilling the recommendations of the 2019 and 2020 UNECE “Odessa” seminars to support the development of digital multimodal transport corridors, with a view to increasing the harmonization and standardization of data exchange in international transport, trade and logistics to encourage electronic data exchange and thereby to reduce person-to-person contacts during the COVID-19 crisis and in the post-pandemic recovery, using relevant UN/CEFACT standards, a pilot project under the overall UN Development Account project “Transport and Trade Connectivity in the Age of Pandemic: United Nations solutions for contactless, seamless and collaborative transport and trade produced the following results:

  • Analysis of data and documents transported via the Dnieper – Danube route (as a pilot implementation project);
  • Development of electronic document equivalents for Inland Water Transport using the DAVID forms of the Danube Commission for inland waterways;
  • Analysis of the feasibility of using API in this corridor;
  • Test for interoperability.

The aim is to foster the harmonization of electronic data sharing using global (UN/CEFACT) standards for transport, trade and logistics, and to prepare standards for e-documents based on the UN/CEFACT semantic standards and reference data models. The focus will be on the development of electronic document equivalents for the documents mentioned above, using UN/CEFACT tools in the countries developing a digital multimodal transport corridor.

DD Pilot Dataset Alignment