CMR in Logistics: A Brief Overview

Nowadays, CMR is a buzzword in the freight forwarding and logistics industry. Also known as the CMR consignment note, It is an international agreement to control road freight traffic. The Convention, which strives to maintain legal difficulties connected to road freight transportation, has been ratified by most European countries. This post will give you an overview of the CMR Convention, its history, and how to complete it for shipping processes on roads.  

What Is CMR in the Logistics Industry?

CMR is an acronym for “Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Road.” The Convention is a United Nations treaty that establishes international rules for the carriage of goods by road. 

The CMR provides a legal framework for the international carriage of goods by road. It establishes rules and regulations regarding the responsibilities of the carrier, the shipper, and the consignee. The CMR also sets liability limits for the carrier in the event of loss or damage to the goods.

The Convention covers the international carriage of goods by road. This includes the carriage of goods between two points within a single country and the transport of commodities between two locations in different countries.

The CMR’s History

CMR in the Logistics Industry

The agreement was signed under the auspices of the United Nations in 1956. Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland were among the founding states. In the interim, the agreement has been signed by all European countries, numerous Central Asian and Middle Eastern states, and two African ones (Morocco and Tunisia). Fifty-eight states have ratified it as of January 2022.

What is a CMR Note, Exactly?

The CMR note is the international standard carriage contract for goods delivered by road. It is, in fact, a consignment note that substitutes individual businesses’ terms and conditions with a standard set of transportation and liability requirements. 

The note certifies that the goods have been received by the carrier (i.e., the road haulage business) and that the merchant and the carrier have engaged in a carriage contract. Unlike a bill of lading, a CMR note is neither a document of title nor a declaration, yet it is treated as such in some states. Although some insurance is offered, a CMR note does not necessarily guarantee its bearer and/or the carrier’s rights of ownership or custody of the goods.

How to Fill Out a CMR Note

You can complete a CMR note yourself or have it done by a freight forwarder or a carrier. However, you are still responsible for the CMR note’s accuracy.

A CMR note must include the following information:

  • The date and location where the CMR note was signed
  • The sender’s name and address, carrier(s), and consignee’s name and address (the person to whom the goods are going)
  • A description of the items and their packaging procedure that is acceptable to both the consignor and the consignee (however, for security reasons, you do not always want the carrier to be able to identify valuable goods)
  • The products’ weight
  • Any taxes associated with the goods, such as customs duties or carriage fees
  • Customs instructions and any additional requirements, such as information on risky items

Please keep in mind that the list above is not exhaustive.

While the carrier is liable for any loss, damage, or delay to a shipment until it is delivered, the trader is accountable for any loss or damage to the carrier due to incorrect details in the CMR note.

The Maximum Number of Copies of a CMR Note

A CMR note will usually come in four copies: one kept by the trader, one owned by the carrier, one that travels with the goods to their final destination, and one retained by the administration.

What Is CMR Waybill?

CMR in Shipping

The International Road Transport Union (IRU) produced a standard waybill based on the CMR. The CMR waybill is available in three different languages. The text is printed in three languages on the back. This makes it easier for the waybill to be accepted and recognized across Europe. A transport document, checked by customs and police, must be present when the shipment is carried. The document itself is not prescriptive; nevertheless, the CMR must contain a minimum amount of information. Further information is required if hazardous materials are transported, as outlined in the ADR.

The sender is responsible for completing this shipment. Only a ballpoint pen, typewriter, or computer should be used to complete the load. The driver who transports the consignment should be familiar with both the consignment and the waybill and should be able to explain the importance of the various topics on the waybill to the recipient.

It is also feasible to utilize an updated electronic consignment note – eCMR – as of May 27, 2008, according to an additional protocol to the CMR convention. Several options are available as of February 2017. The eCMR waybill was developed by ITD, the Danish Trade Association for Road Transport of Goods. In France, Spain, and the Netherlands, the eCMR is also on the market. 

On January 19, 2017, ASTIC (Asociación de Transporte Internacional por Carretera) and FNTR (Fédération Nationale des Transports Routiers) facilitated the first cross-border use of eCMR between Spain and France. Subsequently, the UN confirmed its support for eCMR on February 24, 2017.

How Does CMR Waybill Work?

The sender and the carrier must both sign the carbon copies of this transportation paperwork. The first copy is given to the sender as verification that the items have been delivered to the carrier. The commodities are accompanied by the other copies of the consignment note until they are delivered to the unloading location. The recipient acknowledges receipt of the goods and hands over a countersigned CMR waybill to the carrier as proof that the goods have been delivered. The CMR also governs transportation damage responsibility.

Wrap Up

The CMR Convention establishes a unified legal framework for international road freight transport. This allows trucking companies to operate more confidently and efficiently across borders. The Convention also specifies minimum criteria for goods carriage, assisting in consumer protection and ensuring the safety of commodities in transit.

FAQs

What is CMR for Shipping?

CMR stands for “Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Road.” The Convention is a United Nations treaty that establishes international rules for the carriage of goods by road.

What is a CMR Note?

A consignment note that substitutes individual businesses’ terms and conditions with standard transportation and liability requirements.

What is CMR Waybill?

It is a standard waybill based on the CMR in three different languages.

How does CMR work?

It sets out the rights and obligations of the shipper, the carrier, and the consignee. It also provides the carrier’s liability in the event of loss or damage to goods during transport.

How many copies of a CMR note are needed?

A CMR note will usually come in four copies: one kept by the trader, one owned by the carrier, one that travels with the goods to their final destination, and one retained by the administration.

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