Electric Consignment Notes Trialled In West Europe

A PILOT project grouping France, the Netherlands and the UK was handled in February and March involving Transports FIOLET in France, International Road Ferry in the Netherlands and Brian Yeardley Continental in the UK, under the supervision of FNTR, FTA, TLN/Beurtvaartadres and the UK Department for Transport.

It marks the use of e-CMR with the first ever border crossing with multiple countries on mainland Europe, using the electronic consignment notes on this route, all part of a wider strategy to digitise trade facilitation systems.

The paper based CMR consignment note provides a paper trail of the logistics movement and is normally the sole document that the drivers of the trucks have in relation to the load they carry.

With e-CMR, shippers or transport operators will be able to electronically input, store and exchange logistics data, in real time, within the logistical chain. The timely recording and exchange of logistics data means that users instantly receive information on the goods being transported, so any required subsequent actions, such as initiating legal processes, invoicing or even accident response procedures happen faster and at less cost.

Switching to digital solutions also reduces the environmental impact of global trade, using less paper and providing data to optimize the logistical chain. It minimises the potential for human error and can adopt multi-language platforms for seamless international application.

The next step is for the UK to evaluate the Convention and once decided, ratify with the United Nations the e-CMR protocol which could be in effect by the end of 2019, suggests the Freight Transport Association.

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