Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have acceded to e-CMR, committing to fully paperless goods transport and reinforcing their transition from landlocked to landlinked countries.
Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, two countries at the heart of east-west and north-south trade, have acceded to the e-CMR protocol, which will further digitalise goods transport, boosting trade and connectivity.
By eliminating paperwork, e-CMR lowers handling costs, eliminates administrative and invoicing delays, and reduces discrepancies at delivery sites. The protocol also enhances transparency and security across the entire logistics chain, providing more accurate data to trace shipments with real-time access to pick-up and delivery information. Given that e-CMR is digital, transport companies can easily integrate it with other services.
In place since 2008, the digital version of the United Nations convention for the carriage of goods (the CMR Convention) has been ratified by 34 countries so far.
With this milestone event, four out of five littoral Caspian countries are now contracting parties to e-CMR, demonstrating their strong intention to benefit from harmonised standards and digitalisation, while maintaining the security and transparency of transport operations. Acceding to e-CMR will help Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, two regional transit hubs, to effectively manage the growing flow of goods and transit along evolving routes.
Turkmenistan’s accession to the e-CMR protocol follows the reopening of its borders for transit and bilateral transport in November 2022, which further raised the country’s importance as a key transit artery connecting east and west and north and south.
Azerbaijan – a vital part of the International North-South Transport Corridor and the Asia-Europe Middle Corridor – acceding to e-CMR is of equal significance. The country’s ever-growing transit role has been accompanied by concerted digitalisation efforts.
Implementing e-CMR – the way forward
On 2 February 2023, the Organization of Turkic States, IRU, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe will host a virtual workshop on the CMR convention and e-CMR in the region.
IRU had also held a workshop on the implementation of e-CMR with regulators and industry members in October 2022.
What is e-CMR?
Rules for transporting goods internationally are covered by the United Nations Convention for the carriage of goods, known as the CMR (Convention relative au contrat de transport international de Marchandises par Route).
This Convention has been ratified by most European states, as well as several other countries. 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, and IRU is now advocating for a move to an electronic format.
In February 2008, a protocol was added to the CMR Convention, which requested that CMR could be managed electronically, via ‘e-CMR’. This protocol entered into force on 5 June 2011, and to date 30 countries have acceded including: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Iran, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Moldova, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey.
e-CMR officially launched in January 2017 with the first ever border crossing to use electronic consignment notes between Spain and France, proving that the system works and is simple to implement and use. It is likely to prompt other countries to join – therefore increasing the potential for common benefit.
CMR brings many benefits, e-CMR brings more
In its paper-based format, the CMR consignment note brings many benefits: it harmonises contractual conditions for goods transported by road and helps facilitate goods transport overall. A global e-CMR solution would retain all these benefits, but would make the system more modern, by removing paperwork and handling costs. This is why IRU supports its members and the wider industry in adopting e-CMR.
Some of the key benefits to e-CMR include:
- Handling costs can be up to three to four times less expensive
- Faster administration with reduced data entry, no paper handling, no fax/scan/letter exchanges, no paper archiving, etc.
- Faster invoicing
- Reduction of delivery and reception discrepancies
- Data accuracy
- Control and monitoring of the shipment
- Real-time access to the information & proof of pick-up and delivery
Because of its digital nature, e-CMR can also be easily integrated with other services used by transport companies, e.g. customs declaration or transport & fleet management services. By moving to an electronic format, the three parties involved in each shipment benefit from increased overall efficiency of logistics, resulting in increased economic competitiveness. A final benefit, is greater road safety, as e-CMR can be linked to eCall, a system for trucks that automatically dials emergency services in the event of a road traffic accident.
///nCa, 16 January 2023 (in partnership with IRU)