First cross-border use of e-CMR

In a pilot project in February and March of this year, TransFollow’s e-CMR digital consignment note has been used in practice for the first time on the route between the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands. The e-CMR is part of a broader strategy to digitize international trade to achieve increased profitability, more efficiency and better supply chain visibility.

Transport Fiolet in France, International Road Ferry in the Netherlands and Brian Yeardley Continental in the United Kingdom were all involved in the implementation of the pilot. It was carried out in cooperation with FNTR (France), FTA (United Kingdom), TLN/Beurtvaartadres (Netherlands) and the Department for Transport in the United Kingdom. The UK government supports initiatives to reduce the administrative burden on carriers and also recognizes the benefits of the digitization of waybills.

From print to digital

The printed waybill is an official document that serves as a contract between sender, carrier and recipient. It provides a paper trail of the logistics operation and is normally the only document that the driver has regarding the cargo to be transported. However, TransFollow’s e-CMR digital consignment note also enables shippers and carriers to enter, store and exchange logistics-related data electronically within their supply chain in real time.

This provides users with immediate access to information about the consignment so that all necessary follow-up actions – e.g. the initiation of legal processes, invoicing or accident prevention policies – can be done more quickly and cost effectively. Furthermore, digitization reduces the impact of global trade on the environment by using less paper and leveraging data for supply chain optimization, and it also minimizes the risk of human error.

Multilingual platform

The pilot project marks an important milestone for the implementation of e-CMR by demonstrating that the solution works and is easy to implement and use, including for cross-channel logistics to and from the UK. According to TransFollow, which is a multilingual platform for international use, the e-CMR protocol could come into effect by the end of 2019 if – following its evaluation – the UK decides to ratify it along with the United Nations.