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Electronic CMR consignment note for transportation of goods by road

Decree No. 413 dated June 03, 2019 issued by the Ministry of Infrastructure entered into force in Ukraine on July 12, 2019. This decree allows using electronic CMR consignment notes (further “e-CMR”) which gives rise to the following questions: What information should be specified in e-CMR? Who should sign e-CMR? Why print a paper copy?

You will find the answers to these and other questions below.

  1. e-CMR form. The following details must be included in CMR together with any information that the parties deem necessary (Item 11.1 Shipping Rules):
    • Document name and date;
    • Full name (surname, name, patronymic) of the carrier and/or freight forwarder, customer, shipper, cargo recipient;
    • Cargo name and quantity, its main characteristics and signs;
    • Vehicle (make, model, type, registration number), trailer/semi-trailer (make, model, type, registration number);
    • Loading and unloading points with full address;
    • Position, surname and signatures of persons in charge for shipper, cargo recipient, driver and/or forwarder.
  2. e-CMR issuance. Shippers issue e-CMR (the same as for paper CMR).
  3. e-CMR signing. e-CMR must be signed only with the electronic signature of the driver and/or forwarder, the persons in charge for the shipper, cargo recipient.
  4. Paper copy. When using an e-CMR, the customer (shipper) prints, signs and provides the driver (forwarder) with an e-CMR paper copy for submission to people authorized to control road transport. The driver (forwarder) then signs the e-CMR paper copy thereby confirming receipt of cargo for forwarding. With e-CMR, it is unnecessary to print 3-4 or more CMR copies for each cargo recipient.
  5. Supporting documents. Depending on the type of cargo and its specific properties, certificates, licenses, etc. may be attached to the main documents. In such case, all supporting documents should be submitted in electronic form.
  6. In case of transshipment of cargo, it is necessary during the transportation to another vehicle to draw up a free-from “Act” which must specify:
    • Full name, location (for legal entities) or surname, name, patronymic, place of residence of vehicle owner who took on the cargo;
    • Surname, name, patronymic of the driver who took on the cargo;
    • Vehicle registration number of the carrier that took on the cargo;
    • Vehicle registration number of the carrier that delivered the cargo.
      The “Act” is drawn up in two copies and signed by the representatives (drivers) of both carriers (one copy for each).
  7. e-CMR registration. It is not required to register e-CMR with any institution since this is in fact a usual exchange of electronic documents between counterparties like any exchange of other primary documents.
  8. e-CMR storage. Law of Ukraine No. 851-IV “On Electronic Documents and Electronic Documents Circulation” dated May 22, 2003 sets out general requirements for receipt, storage, processing, use and destruction of electronic documents, and these general requirements also apply to e-CMR.

However, all the downsides of e-CMR should be taken into account before issuing them. Not two but three parties (shipper, carrier, cargo recipient) and sometimes four (shipper, carrier, forwarder, cargo recipient) are involved in their signing and exchange, and each of them should get an e-CMR. Moreover, all parties should have an electronic signature to exchange electronic documents (not only managers, but also any authorized persons such as, for example, drivers, the person who ships and accepts goods), so we recommend weighing the pros and cons before using an e-CMR. The choice is yours!