UN reaffirms its commitment to the electronic consignment note (e-CMR) to enable industry-wide innovation.
Endorsing the digitalisation of road transport services, the UN today adopted a resolution which highlights the importance of e-CMR for bringing innovation to real life. Digital documents, including e-CMR, will enable more efficient transport, and will ultimately facilitate game-changing innovations such as autonomous vehicles.
Recognising the significance of road transport innovations in tackling global environmental challenges and realising the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the resolution invites more governments to accede to the e-CMR protocol.
Umberto de Pretto said,
“e-CMR frames the future of road transport. Without full digitalisation of road transport, the deployment of the latest innovations – that are set to revolutionise mobility – will be unrealisable. Put simply, driverless trucks require paperless logistics operations, offered by e-CMR, and we welcome the UN’s investment in the future today.”
This support comes soon after the successful deployment of e-CMR between Spain and France. A truck transporting fruit from Huelva to Perpignan, marked the first ever border crossing to use electronic consignment notes. Since the launch, numerous operators have contacted IRU members – Association of International Road Transport (ASTIC) in Spain and Fédération Nationale des Transports Routiers (FNTR) in France – to initiate operations.
With 11 countries now acceding to the e-CMR protocol, further cross-border deployments are expected to happen in the coming months. Seven additional European countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden) have also recently confirmed their forthcoming commitment to e-CMR through a common action plan together with France and Denmark.
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 an essential document held by the driver of the truck in relation to the load carried.
With e-CMR, transport operators will now be able to input electronically, store logistics information and exchange data, in real time via a mobile phone or tablet. The timely recording of data means that agencies instantly receive information on the goods being transported. Hence, any required subsequent actions, happen faster and at less cost.
The move towards e-CMR also reduces the environmental impact of global trade by increasing efficiency, 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 resolution was adopted today at the 2017 session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe’s Inland Transport Committee (UNECE ITC).
Notes to editors
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 including Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland.
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