The CMR consignment note has been in use in international logistics for over half a century. This document plays a crucial role in the carriage of goods by road across Europe and within countries that are party to the CMR Convention.
But what is a CMR consignment note? Who issues it, and what purpose does it serve? Read on to learn all you need to know about the CMR consignment note.
Understanding the CMR Consignment Note
A CMR consignment note, also known as a CMR waybill or CMR document, is a standard transport-related document that validates the international carriage of goods from a CMR-ratified country to another that may or may not be CMR-ratified. This document is only applicable if transportation occurs by road across state borders and if at least one of the countries is a party to the CMR Convention. Most European countries are signatories to the CMR Convention, as well as a few Asian and Middle Eastern countries and two African countries.
The CMR consignment note was instituted in Geneva in May 1956, following the CMR Convention. This convention is where the CMR meaning and guidelines originated. The term “CMR” stands for “Convention relative au Contrat de Transport International de marchandises par route,” which translates to “Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road.”
Functions of the CMR Consignment Note
The CMR consignment note serves three essential functions. They are:
- To Inform
This document identifies the goods in the freight and the parties involved. It also provides information on the quantity and nature of items in transit and the responsibilities of each party involved.
- To Act as Legal Proof
The CMR consignment note functions as proof of the condition of goods in transit. It denotes that the goods were dispatched in good condition and in the correct quantities, and also specifies the party to be held liable in case of damage, loss, or delay. According to the CMR Convention, the carrier is responsible if anything happens to the goods while in transit.
- To Function as a Receipt
The CMR consignment note acts as a receipt for the transit process. It shows when and where the goods changed hands and identifies the party currently holding the goods. For example, once the consignee signs this document, it shows that he received the goods and is currently holding them. The CMR consignment note, however, does not imply ownership of the merchandise.
Who Issues the CMR Consignment Note?
The CMR consignment note is signed by three parties, the consignor, carrier, and consignee. The consignor is the company or individual exporting the goods. The carrier is the company mandated to convey the goods from the consignor to the consignee, while the consignee is the company or individual receiving the goods. Each party should have a copy of the CMR note.
Under the CMR Convention protocol, the CMR consignment note should be produced by the carrier, who then issues it to the consignor. The consignor can either fill the document or request the carriage company to fill it in on his behalf. The consignor shall, however, remain responsible for the accuracy of the details. The consignee is the last party to sign the CMR note once he confirms and receives the goods.
The CMR consignment note is a document that unifies and standardizes international road transportation within CMR-ratified countries. This document not only identifies the nature and quantities of goods in transit. It also highlights the parties involved and the responsibilities of each party. For this document to be applicable, transit should be occurring by road and outside international borders. The countries should also be parties to the CMR, meaning they should have ratified the CMR Convention protocol.