e-CMR, Electronic consignment notes become a reality and a real competitive advantage for you!

11 May 2017

The digital transformation in transportation becomes a reality and e- is an essential part of this. What is e-? Which countries are involved? What are the main benefits? What are the GEFCO projects involved in this subject? Jean Marc ORS, customer IT program manager for the GEFCO Group answers our questions.


What is e-CMR? Which countries are involved in this digital evolution in transportation? 
Jean Marc ORS- GEFCO: The e- is the electronic transportation consignment notes The governs the rules for transporting goods internationally which is covered by the United Nations Convention for the Carriage of Goods.
In February 2008, a protocol was added to the- Convention, which requested that could be managed electronically, via ‘e-CMR’. This protocol came into effect on 5 June 2011, and so far, 13 countries have ratified this new electronic system. These include Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, France, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany. Since January 2017, a few pilots have been running between France and Spain and in Belgium (domestic transportation and cross border transport with the Netherlands).


What are the main benefits of the e-CMR? 
JMO: The first and most important benefit, is administrative cost reduction. Indeed, the e- removes all paper documents and therefore reduces processing costs (data entry, no paper handling or archiving, reduction of delivery and reception discrepancies...). The e- improves the CO2 footprint through the total removal of paper. Furthermore, the e- accelerate information exchange between all the supply chain players. Last but not least, the e- increases transparency all transportation operations allowing all players to access the information and all the associated documents: Proof of collection (POC) and Proof of delivery (POD) in real time. Flow synchronisation becomes a reality and allows all actors to react effectively if something unexpected happens. But above all, and because of its digital nature, e- can also be easily integrated with other services e.g. customs and tax declarations.

In summary, the e- benefits are:

  1. Reducing administrative costs (less paper, faster invoicing, less delivery and reception discrepancies to manage …) 
  2. Faster and more accurate data exchange 
  3. Increased supply chain visibility 
  4. Increased transportation accuracy with real time monitoring 
  5. Making Customs and tax procedures smoother and easier 
  6. An improved CO2 footprint

The e- becomes a real competitive advantage for the shipper by cutting costs, improving visibility and agility.


What are the main requirements to deploy the e-CMR? 
JMO: According to the additional protocol to the convention on , it required the two neighboring countries that have signed this protocol to meet the requirements of this convention (security and accessibility of data).


What are the GEFCO projects involved in this subject?
JM0: We are setting up a POC (proof of concept) for cross border and domestic transportation flows. The process is: the transport order is transmitted in real time to the driver via his smartphone. To finalise the collection, both the driver and sender digitally sign onto the phone. The POC (Proof of collection) is then available with all the associated information. Throughout the transportation, the driver can at any time, during a check by the authorities, produce the necessary legal documents directly on his phone. It's as simple as checking your e-ticket when you take your flight! 
For the delivery, both the consignee and the driver sign onto the phone making the POD (Proof Of Delivery) available in real time for all players. In addition, we plan to be able to photograph the stamp in case of any issues! 

Is the e-CMR really secure?  
JMO: Regarding the proof of collection and delivery, the e- is more secure than the paper version as it is available in real time and it includes both the signature and the GPS positioning. In a situation whereby there is no GPS coverage at the time of signature, the application takes into account the last geo positioning of the device. Data security is guaranteed from end-to-end. We have deployed a robust IT system to protect the networks and archive the collected data. All the data is available on a web portal, by or via an API.


When will the GEFCO pilot be validated? 
JMO: The pilot will be validated before the end of 2017. We will be ready to deploy the e-CMR from 2018. In the meantime, if you have any questions concerning the e-, the GEFCO teams are at your disposal.