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First e-CMR electronic consignment note trials across multiple borders

Jun 18, 2019
A pilot project grouping France, the Netherlands and the UK took place in February and March 2019 involving Transports FIOLET in France, International Road Ferry in the Netherlands and Brian Yeardley Continental in the UK, under the supervision of FNTR, FTA, TLN/ Beurtvaartadres and the UK Department for Transport.

The pilot project took place in February and March 2019It marks the first use of e-CMR for border crossings between multiple countries on mainland Europe using the electronic consignment notes and is part of a wider strategy to digitise trade facilitation systems.

John Lucy, Manager of International Transport & Trade Procedures at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), which assisted in the pilot commented, “Digital technology has reshaped the way industries and governments operate for the last 20 years and international trade is no exception; efficiency, reliability and cost effectiveness of operations have been closely linked to the ongoing process of digitalisation. The anticipated increase in EU customs documentation requirements post-Brexit will accelerate this digital development; we are already seeing EU trials of e-TIR and e-ATA carnets to enable future frictionless cross border travel for freight. Underpinning this development will be the requirement for an electronic, internationally accepted consignment note; the e-CMR will be at the core of this process.”

The paper based CMR consignment note is an official document and contract between a consignor, carrier and addressee. It provides a paper trail of the logistics movement and is normally the sole document that the drivers of the trucks have in relation to the load they carry.

With e-CMR, shippers or transport operators will be able to electronically input, store and exchange logistics data, in real time, within the logistical chain. The timely recording and exchange of logistics data means that users 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. Switching to digital systems also reduces the environmental impact of global trade, using less paper and providing data to optimise the logistical chain. It minimises the potential for human error and can adopt multi-language platforms for seamless international application.

Photo: The pilot project took place in February and March 2019.

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