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FAQs - IRU-TransFollow partnership

What is TransFollow?

TransFollow is a Dutch company, originally an initiative of IRU members TLN and EVO. It is now owned by Viatrans, a subsidiary of the independent IRU Geneva Foundation. 


What is IRU’s relationship to TransFollow?

IRU has a partnership with TransFollow to help develop and build new communities, platforms and standards for electronic consignment notes in Europe and beyond, with and for its member associations.

As with other companies and initiatives, IRU works in partnership with TransFollow to advance the transport sector and the benefits that mobility brings to economies and communities around the world.

IRU continues to encourage other initiatives that aim to increase the efficiency of freight transport through digitisation.


Is TransFollow independent of IRU?

Yes, TransFollow operates independently to IRU; its commercial and business decisions are made by TransFollow’s management.

TransFollow is owned by Viatrans, a subsidiary of the independent IRU Geneva Foundation. The IRU Geneva Foundation and Viatrans also operate independently of IRU. 


Is IRU neutral regarding electronic consignment services and digital freight platforms?

IRU does not favour any one e-CMR service or platform over another. IRU’s aim is to increase as rapidly as possible the take-up of electronic consignment notes and digital proof-of-delivery standards and processes all over Europe and beyond.


Does IRU sell TransFollow products?

No, IRU does not sell TransFollow products or services. IRU members however have the opportunity to help develop the TransFollow platform in their own territories, under a commercial agreement directly with TransFollow.


Will IRU develop TransFollow services or products?

No. TransFollow will make decisions on investing in new features and services as they further develop their e-CMR platform concept in the Netherlands and other countries, in conjunction with IRU member associations and other commercial partners.

IRU does not have a commercial interest in TransFollow, and thus will not invest in developing TransFollow products. IRU’s objective with this partnership is to accelerate the use of electronic consignment notes globally.


Will IRU support or form partnerships with other providers of e-CMR solutions?

IRU individually assesses all potential partnership opportunities, in all areas of mobility, on the basis of how they support IRU’s mission, IRU’s members, and ultimately how they will improve mobility for people and goods globally.

IRU therefore may develop additional partnerships on e-CMR or other digital processes for freight transport in the future.


What is Viatrans?

Viatrans is a Geneva-based company that develops and provides services to road transport operators and other users of mobility on a commercial basis.

Viatrans is wholly owned by the IRU Geneva Foundation, an independent not-for-profit foundation that was established by IRU’s members more than 20 years ago.

Viatrans’ services and the IRU Geneva Foundation’s operations are both in line with IRU’s broad vision and IRU’s role in fostering economic development, safety, strong communities and sustainable mobility. However both Viatrans and the IRU Geneva Foundation are independent of IRU.


What are eCMR and CMR?

The United Nations Convention for the carriage of goods, known as the CMR convention (Convention relative au contrat de transport international de Marchandises par Route) outlines global standards and rules for transporting goods internationally by road. The convention has been ratified by most European states, as well as other countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.

Goods companies, drivers and those receiving shipments use a CMR consignment note, which presents information about the shipped goods and the transporting and receiving parties. Until recently, CMR notes were only in paper form. IRU, the United Nations and others in the freight sector have been strongly advocating a move to an electronic format for many years.

After some years of negotiation, a protocol was added to the CMR Convention on managing CMR consignment notes electronically in 2008. This e-CMR protocol entered into force in 2011, and so far nine countries have ratified it including Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland.


Why is eCMR important?

Electronic consignment notes, underpinned by the global standards of the CMR convention, offer many benefits for economies and trade, as well as for the transport industry and its users.

Lower costs:

  • Handling costs can be up to three or four times less expensive
  • Faster administration, with reduced data entry, no paper handling, no fax/scan/letter exchanges, and no paper archiving
  • Faster invoicing
  • Reduction of delivery and reception discrepancies

Greater transparency and security

  • Data accuracy
  • Control and monitoring of the shipment
  • Real-time access to the information & proof of pick-up and delivery

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