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The electronic CMR or e-CMR is the digital equivalent of the paper CMR (road consignment note) which is used and signed in 4 copies (consignor, consignee, carrier and administrative use). Its use implies adherence to the CMR Convention (Contrat de Transport International de Marchandises par Route – Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road) which regulates it.

The use of digital consignment notes or e-CMRs is becoming increasingly widespread in Europe. Drivers are no longer obliged to carry paper consignment notes on their international journeys. The digital CMR alone is sufficient as a legally valid document in most countries on the European continent. The implementation of the e-CMR is intended to make supply chains more efficient and to help save costs and red tape. This is recognised within the Electronic Freight Transport Information (eFTI) Regulation itself:

The use of paper documents represents a significant administrative burden for logistics operators and an additional cost for logistics operators and related industries (such as commerce and manufacturing), in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises, and has a negative impact on the environment.

Benefits of e-CMR

  1. Savings of up to 70%: in terms of the administrative management of all participants, as there are no paper documents and management time is reduced.
  2. Real-time tracking: as it is in electronic format, it makes it possible to obtain real-time information on the location of the goods, the start and end of loading and unloading, to know who the carrier is, etc. The electronic CMR makes it possible to create a document that acts as a delivery note.
  3. A more transparent supply chain: likewise, all the agents involved in the handling and transport of the goods are stored in this system, making it easier to detect where the errors come from and without the possibility of manipulation, since the data cannot be modified.
  4. Security: in addition to monitoring by the customer, the electronic consignment note model also makes it possible for the police to monitor the transport, so that they can act immediately in the event of an accident or similar situation.
  5. Fully complies with the law: it guarantees the parties that the transports carried out will be transparent and that the information remains available to all parties.
  6. Paperless: paper is eliminated from this process and greater transparency and traceability is achieved throughout the transport of goods.
  7. Transparency: As all the agents involved are reflected in the e-CMR, it provides total transparency of the supply chain, making it more efficient and competitive. It is unalterable and cannot be manipulated because each transaction records date, time and place and cannot be modified later.
  8. Various pick-up/drop-off and signature modes: includes up to 4 pick-up/drop-off modes and up to 6 signature modes.
  9. Route incorporation: allows the driver to incorporate en route, during loading or unloading, comments/incidents/reservations and to add photos or documents to prove the journey. It is also valid and accepted in roadside INSPECTION.
  10. Exact time and GPS position: records date, time and place and cannot be changed later.
  11. Immediate invoicing: as it is a digital document, it allows invoicing from the moment of signing the delivery acceptance at destination.
  12. Multilingual: the document can be read in 15 languages.
  13. Sender’s logo: the sender’s logo can be included in the document free of charge.

Current status of the use of e-CMR

As of today, in Spain, the use of the electronic transport documentation e-CMR is already accepted as documentary evidence in transport and from 1 September 2024, the Sustainable Mobility Law will make the use of the electronic control document compulsory for the transport of international goods. However, at the moment there are many companies that do not use it, mainly small companies and self-employed hauliers.
Despite all the advantages that the use of e-CMR brings, according to the Transport Digitalisation Observatory, 50 % of transport companies still prefer to use paper as a means of exchanging documentary information.

Sources: Autónomos en Ruta, Global Negotiator and Tacógrafo Inteligente.