Since 22 February 2019, the digital waybill (e-CDP) and the e-CMR have been formalized by the Regulation of Land Traffic Management (ROTT)and are legally equivalent to their paper analogues.

This modification of the ROTT represents an important step forward for the digital transformation of land transport through digital connectivity. However, there are still many doubts about the short-term viability of using these documents in their digital format. We clarify some of the most important points about its implementation and use.

What is e-CMR and what are its advantages?

The WRC is not a document itself, but a protocol ratified by the UN and adopted by each country. The CMR standardizes the information that must exist in a transport contract between the shipper, the carrier and the consignee. Its electronic version, the e-CMR, accommodates the same information in a digital document that is available on a common platform.

"The e-CMR allows a forwarding agent to receive an acknowledgement of receipt in real time, facilitating greater agility in the administrative management of shipments".

Senior Consultant _b firstin bytemaster

The great advantage of e-CMR is the availability of information in real time. Natalia Erhardt, senior consultant at _b firsten bytemaster and specialist in land transport, comments: "Today, in order for a freight forwarder to be able to bill for a service, it must receive the signed CMR from the carrier. If the carrier takes two days to return, it is two days that a service takes to be billed. With the e-CMR, a forwarding agent could obtain the acknowledgement of receipt in real time, allowing more agility in the administrative management of shipments. This is undoubtedly a major competitive leap for the transport sector."

On the other hand, according to Natalia, there is the veracity and precision of the data. "A digital format forces the parties to complete in a legible and correct way all the data of a CMR, thus facilitating the reading, management and traceability of the contents of the contract throughout the value chain. Certainly, it is an opportunity for logistics operators that is worth adopting with an ERP integration.

How does the e-CMR work?

The implementation of e-CMR entails the need for a partner who can act as a "trusted third party". This must guarantee the legal coverage of operations and ensure the veracity, security and traceability of the information contained and updated in the e-CMR throughout your trip. Thus, in Europe there are two relevant solutions that respond to this need: Transfollow Pionira.

Ramón Fernández, Director of Deployment and Operations at Transfollow for Spain, tells us that the advantages of using the e-CMR far outweigh the disadvantages that may currently exist. All e-CMRs are managed from a platform that acts as a "trusted third party". In addition, each reservation, modification and change of status is made by electronic signature of one of the parties through the same application. This ensures the legitimacy of the information at all times. In addition to granting legal validity to the information contained in the e-CMR, since the document is unalterable and unmanipulable.

How can it be implemented?

In particular, the Transfollow platform is relatively simple to implement. It integrates via API to the management systems of those involved and automatically builds the e-CMR into the platform for querying and processing. For a freight forwarder, the implementation consists of integrating the chosen application via API. This allows that, at the moment of generating a transport order from the ERP software, it is automatically generated in the e-CMR platform. Without printing anything. The carrier, connected to the platform, receives the e-CMR for the transport of the goods through his mobile device. While at the end point, the recipient receives the goods using his own integration with the platform.

An e-CMR management platform acts as a manager between the different actors in the land transport chain. The platform receives, updates and informs on all updates of the transport charter. Amendments are made by electronic signature to ensure their legitimacy.

What's missing for it to be operational

Although the implementation of an e-CMR solution is simple from a technical point of view, it requires the adoption of the maximum number of actors in the logistics chain in order to be useful. As with all clearing house platforms, the biggest challenge to the optimal functioning of an e-CMR management platform is adoption by the logistics sector and the public administrations involved. Logistic operators have to take the initiative, advising themselves with their technological partner in order to achieve a greater digitalization of their operations.