The logistics world is one that is evolving very fast. Digitalization and environmentally friendly alternatives are hot items. The E-CMR, an electronic version of the consignment note, is an important digital evolution in transportation.

E-CMR? Yes of course!

E-CMR has a lot of advantages. When using the E-CMR, both the shipper and carrier gain a lot of time. The shipper is around 3,5 times faster and the carrier around 1,8 times faster. There is no need to wait for the driver to drop by the office and hand over the CMR. When the goods are delivered, invoicing can start automatically. It is even possible to attach other documents or pictures of the cargo to the CMR.

Track and trace possibilities will be upgraded as well. As soon as the driver digitally signs the CMR or scans a QR code, dispatch will know he can continue his journey.  On the other hand, when a cargo has been unloaded, the shipper will know it as well. He can be sure the delivery has been completed. The invoice department can start invoicing much faster, which gives the carrier the benefit of receiving his money sooner.

In the long run we can say that it will be cost effective and nature is happy with the paper savings.

E-CMR? Hold on…

Although we see a lot of benefits, still there is a long way to before actual implementation. Currently there are a few providers for this E-CMR software, and they are not all compatible. Some providers already have an agreement to fine-tune this, to be synchronized when a shipper and carrier are using different software from different providers.

To use the E-CMR it is of course needed that all transited countries ratify the E-CMR, and this is not the case at the moment. For example, Germany didn’t ratify it yet, and that makes shipping to Eastern Europe impossible. Clear guidelines on European level are currently missing, but work is in progress.

Moreover, implementing the E-CMR will be an extra cost in the beginning. Not only the software needs to be purchased, there will be need for training to use the E-CMR as well.

Absolutely the way to go

The E-CMR can be a powerful tool in the logistics landscape and it must be fully worked out. Studies already proved that there are a lot of benefits. Automation and digitalization are far too important to neglect. We always need to stay two steps ahead.

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