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The CMR convention for international freight services

The CMR convention is a UN convention, a standard document valid since it was signed in 1956 in Geneva.  The convention includes the recommendations by the UN for standardised rules for transportation.  This is especially important for the member companies of the European network for logistics services, because by standardising the logistics service, the cooperation between the forwarders throughout Europe for offering the most suitable and price efficient solutions for the customers is easier.


Ratification of the CMR convention

The CMR convention which regulates the different legal issues of the international freight services has been ratified by all European countries which are all members of the convention and have to comply with its rules.  This includes all member countries of the EU. In addition, several countries outside of Europe are also members, such as Lebanon and Iran.  This facilitates not only the logistics services in Europe, but the freight forwarding between European and the other CMR convention members as well.

The CMR convention applies for international freight services between two countries, only one of which is a member of the convention.


CMR Waybill

The CMR waybill is a standardised document used for international freight forwarding. It is issued in three languages.  Its other side is in three languages too.  This facilitates the acceptance and recognition of the document throughout Europe. It is needed for customs and police inspections.  The information in the CMR waybill must include:

  • Sender
  • Recipient
  • Attached documents
  • Type and quantity of the goods transported
  • The vehicle registration plate number
  • The freight forwarder


The consignment (bill of lading) CMR


The consignment note is filled out by the sender of the goods or cargo.  It must be filled out with a pen, and not typed. The vehicle driver performing the freight forwarding service must be familiar with both the waybill and the consignment.


The information which must be included in the consignment includes:

  • The date and place at which the document has been completed
  • Information about the sender, the freight forwarder and the consignee – names and addresses
  • Description of the forwarded goods, their method of packing and their weight
  • Any charges for international freight forwarding – for the freight forwarder, customs and others

If the goods are dangerous, instructions for the customs must be included too.


The CMR convention and the transport modes used for the Europe-wide groupage transport service

The convention applies primarily for international transportation by land.  It applies for combined freight forwarding when the vehicles carrying the cargo are being transported by rail, sea, inland waterways or by air.

The combined transport services are becoming more popular and the demand for them is growing because of the advantages of the prices and the delivery terms. The CMR convention applies for the entire period of the combined transport.