Road Consignment Note (CMR)


The CMR consignment note plays a central role in the context of the UN Convention on the contract for the international carriage of goods by road (or CMR). Most European nations, along with various others, have ratified this convention. This document is a critical tool for companies, drivers, and recipients involved in the transportation process, containing essential details about the transported goods, as well as information about the parties responsible for transport and receipt.

Although CMR notes were traditionally paper-based, there’s a growing push from businesses and government stakeholders to transition to an electronic format (e-CMR).


The e-CMR is a proof of contract existence between the sender/consignor and the carrier under the CMR Convention. The e-CMR includes up to three different signatures as specified in the CMR convention (the sender/consignor, the carrier, and the consignee).

Parties involved:

  1. Transport services buyer (sender/consignor or consignee)—The buyer of transport services.
  2. Transport services provider (carrier)—The provider of transport services.
  3. Sender/consignor—The party consigning goods as stipulated in a contract of carriage by road (e-CMR) and referred as Sender in the CMR Convention
  4. Consignee—The party receiving a consignment of goods as stipulated in a contract of carriage by road (e-CMR).
  5. Carrier/subsequent carrier—The party which provides transport services as stipulated in a contract of carriage by road (e-CMR).
  6. Authorities—any supervisory or controlling government bodies that carry out activities to control the movement of goods or make notes in accompanying documents

Legal framework

Road transport service providers must use the CMR Consignment for the international transport of goods by road between two of the 55 countries that have adopted the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Geneva 1956 CMR convention.

The UNECE Geneva 2008 e-CMR Protocol addition defines the conditions when the e-CMR is equivalent to its paper version. Road transport service providers can use an e-CMR between two of the 33 countries that adopted the e-CMR Protocol addition.

National regulations define how the CMR and e-CMR can be used for sharing transport information with authorities for compliance purposes. From 2025, the EU 2020/1056 electronic Freight Transport Information (eFTI) regulation will harmonise how the CMR transport information can be shared with EU control authorities in an EU harmonised electronic format.


The CMR is one of the most important transport documents. It is estimated that the 27 EU Member States and the UK issue about 470 million CMR documents on an annual basis.

The road consignment note (CMR) has a significant secondary use as proof of delivery in the context of EU intracommunity delivery of goods when VAT is due as destination.

Key standards

UN/CEFACT, in close collaboration with IRU (International Road Union) has developed a business requirements specification (BRS) and XML standard for the e-CMR. The e-CMR Process covers the way information is exchanged between the parties of a consignment note for the renumerated transport of goods by road in compliance with the CMR and eCMR protocols.

The UNCEFACT e-CMR specification is a subset of the UN/CEFACT Multi-Modal Transport Reference Data Model (MMT-RDM), which is a subset of the UN/CEFACT Buy-Ship-Pay Reference Data Model.


Any platform could be used as a Business-to-business (B2B) and Business to government (B2G) data exchange.


The users of the CMR expect the digital adoption of the document to increase when:

  • regulations how to share the data with government authorities are harmonised.
  • the digital recording of the handing over of the consignment from the sender/consignor to a carrier as well as the proof of the delivery of the goods by the carrier to the consignee, or subsequent carrier is harmonised.