The term CMR comes from the French, Convention relative au Contrat de transport international de marchandises par route. It describes the agreement of all participating states on the contract for the international carriage of goods by road. All arrangements can be read in detail in the consignment note. In principle, this is handed over to the carrier before the transport.

The CMR consignment note (see diagram) is used if, for example, the location at which a good is accepted and the place at which a good is delivered are located in two different countries. However, at least one of the two states must have agreed to the Convention. Members are automatically all member states of the European Union as well as other non-EU countries such as Iceland, Russia or Turkey. Non-EU states must first contractually recognise the agreement and, when applied, override national law. In Germany, the consignment note has been in force since 05.02.1961. As the regulations exclusively affect international transport, the German Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch, HGB for short) applies to road freight transport within Germany.

CMR consignment note

The contractual prerequisite for the consignment note: The document must be available to the respective contracting parties either in English or French. The agreement, according to CMR, is exclusively an international contract and does not apply within national borders.

Consignment note in intralogistics

In terms of intralogistics, the freight is picked in the warehouse and, usually on EU pallets, moved to the goods issue department. From there, it is further transferred through external logistics. Only after the loading deadline, the creation of the consignment note is triggered. In modern warehouse management systems, this is often done automatically from the collected data directly from the material flow process. See also the point “Most important regulations of the consignment note”. If the goods leave the warehouse by truck, the consignment note serves as evidence of the documented contents and as a receipt of acceptance by the carrier from the time the freight is accepted.

Main provisions of the consignment note

  • If a situation is not sufficiently regulated by the CMR, national law also applies.
  • The consignment note regulates transport damage and other liability issues. See “Structure of the CMR consignment note – Chapters 2 + 4”. At the national level, on the other hand, HGB and insurances would apply.
  • The consignment note is intended exclusively for the loading of road vehicles. It does not include individual containers or swap bodies. The vehicle itself must also be loaded.
  • Necessary details in the consignment note are consignor, consignee, enclosed documents, type and quantity of goods to be transported, vehicle number plate and carrier.

Structure of the CMR consignment note

  • Chapter 1, Article 1 – 2 CMR: Scopes of application
  • Chapter 2 + 4, Articles 3, 17 – 29 CMR: Liability rules for carriers
  • Chapter 3, Article 4 – 16 CMR: Provisions relating to the conclusion of the contract of carriage
  • All other chapters or articles deal with the complaint and with different carriers (driver change).

For further information on this topic, please read the articles “The transport network” and EDIfact: the international and cross-industry standard for electronic business data exchange.

Article source: Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR)

License: Graphic CMR consignment note (CC BY-SA 3.0) / Graphic consignment note (large)

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