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Release Date:
Release ID: 6130

First ever border crossing to use e-CMR electronic consignment note

Today, the first ever border crossing to use electronic consignment notes marks the launch of e-CMR between Spain and France. Part of a wider strategy to digitise trade facilitation systems, it offers increased efficiency and reduced operational costs.

IRU Secretary General, Umberto de Pretto said,
“The ultimate purpose of the electronic consignment note is to further improve the quality of the supply chain, with improved efficiency and visibility. The more member states using it, the more appealing the system becomes, as countries which accept e-CMR will enjoy mutual benefits.”

The e-CMR launch, jointly organised by IRU, ASTIC (Asociación de Transporte Internacional por Carretera) in Spain and Fédération Nationale des Transports Routiers (FNTR) France, starts in Huelva and travels to Perpignan, crossing the border at Le Perthus. The 1300km journey involves the transportation of oranges.

The paper based CMR consignment note is an official document on shipments between senders and transporters. It provides a paper trail of the logistics transfer and is the sole document held by the driver of the truck in relation to the load carried.

With e-CMR, transport operators will be able to input electronically, store logistics information and exchange data, in real time.

Joaquín del Moral, Director General de Transporte, Ministerio de Fomento (Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure), Spain, commented,
“As one of the first countries to ratify the e-CMR protocol, Spain is in favour of the electronic consignment note – and therefore fully supports this initiative to test and analyse the benefits. It represents the future of logistics operations.”

The timely recording of data means that agencies instantly receive information on the goods being transported, so any required subsequent actions, such as initiating legal processes, invoicing or even accident response procedures, happen faster and at less cost.

The move also reduces the environmental impact of global trade, using less paper and minimising archival requirements. It limits the potential for human error and can adopt multi-language platforms for seamless international application.

The launch, facilitated by TransFollow, is an important new milestone for the e-CMR innovation, proving that it works and is simple to implement and use. It is likely to prompt other countries to join – therefore increasing the potential for common benefit.

Alain Vidalies, Minister of State for Transport, France, remarked during his closing speech at FNTR’s 71st Congress,
"The French Government’s accession to the additional protocol to the CMR Convention in January 2017 sends a powerful message to the goods transport industry. It shows a strong commitment to encouraging more fluid supply chain operations, and in turn to the promotion of growth and competitiveness. We are looking forward to seeing – in practical terms – the benefits that e-CMR will bring to the logistics industry in France. It is the first step towards fully digital transport operations that we intend to deploy in the coming months.”

Rules for transporting goods internationally are covered by the United Nations Convention for the carriage of goods, the CMR (Convention relative au contrat de transport international de Marchandises par Route). Transport operators, drivers and those receiving shipments use a CMR consignment note, which contains information about the shipped goods and the transporting and receiving parties. Until recently, CMR notes were only issued in paper form.

In February 2008, a protocol was added to the CMR Convention concerning the use of the electronic consignment note. This protocol entered into force on 5 June 2011, and to date eleven countries have acceded to it. Just last month France acceded to e-CMR and other countries that have already joined include Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland.

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