CMR goes digital: getting the kinks out of the Supply Chain

05/31/2022 | 8 min

Electronic signature a game-changer for the logistics industry

We’re going to get straight to the point and say what needs to be said: e-CMR is a passport to a better logistics world. The CMR is the single most important document when moving cargo across borders by road in Europe, with several hundred millions of paper CMR documents issued each year. So wouldn’t an electronic version be a game changer for you?

One that allows you to have information immediately updated and that lets you take faster action based on these updates. The e-CMR puts an end to the classic paper-intensive CMR processes through a simple and streamlined digitized solution. Now that’s a stamp you want on your most important logistics travel document. Get ready to cross the border into a place where the paper version is totally replaced by an electronic version. Sound like the tropical oasis for the transportation industry? It is. Welcome to the future. Enjoy your stay.  

e-CMR as valid and legal as CMR

This electronic version of the standard CMR document is something to write home about using your finest quill pen or Moleskine smart pen. It enables shippers, carriers and those receiving cargo to create and exchange CMRs digitally. But perhaps more important is the fact that the e-CMR is just as valid and legal as the paper version. Already ratified by 26 EU countries, and with more in the process of ratifying, this is definitely going to be the future of shipment paperwork. Our solution makes it possible to process CMR documents using an electronic signature with sign-on-glass (SOG) technology, if or when advanced electronic signatures can’t be provided by the signatory. And not only can the e-CMR be set up as part of a customer-specific real time workflow (RTW), it also works in the standard ways in combination with our Real Time Visibility (RTV). And here’s where we get really fancy: you can even forgo the signature altogether and go with a GPS stamp. Furthermore, we will also provide a solution for an advanced electronic signature by the end of 2022.

e-CMR: the background

In 2017 Transporeon started working on the e-CMR and in 2018 we sent our e-CMR solution to the National and International Road Transport Organization (NIWO) in the Netherlands to have it given the seal of approval. NIWO approved us as e-CMR solution provider for the e-CMR pilot project in BeNeLux in August 2018. This meant that our products and processes met all the e-CMR requirements. We were quite happy to secure that pride of place as it meant that all Transporeon transportation management platform users could start enjoying this feature. We were so happy, in fact, that we popped our finest bottle of bubbly, something we just happen to have on hand for esteemed moments. Cheers to that. 

Benefits to business: e-CMR helps you save on time and cost

It’s pretty safe to assume that everyone in the transportation management industry has the same goal: efficiency. e-CMR cuts down on the time it takes for shippers and carriers to move goods from A to B, which in turn reduces costs. Ever stood for a long time in a customs line while someone looks for their immigration paperwork in their bags? e-CMR puts an end to that.  

  • Reduction in handling costs
    With the e-CMR, administration is faster because there’s less data entry and invoicing is a much smoother process. There’s no longer any need to push paper through a fax machine, or scan it, and then scan it again because it’s upside down, too dark/light or half of the document slid off the machine when you closed the lid. And there’s no need to archive anything as it’s all saved automatically. Paper CMRs can now retire to the land of paper airplanes. Hooray.
  • Less room for human error
    Paperless signatures mean less hassle and mistakes during (un)loading processes. It’s much easier to forget a piece of paper on a loading pallet or crate than a weighty piece of technology that’s always on hand. With e-CMR, it’s fool-proof: there’s only one place to sign. What’s more, there’s better information available for incident management and all-round data accuracy.  
  • Reliable and secure data exchange
    Paper blows away in the wind, gets soggy in the rain, and ends up ripped/torn or haphazardly folded into origami-like shapes. e-CMR ensures there’s no data loss and no reason for people to claim that the dog ate their CMR documentation. Data is clear. Misinterpretation is essentially impossible, even when the font is doctor’s scrawl. 
  • Transparency and traceability
    Digital CMR allows a shipment to be monitored throughout the supply chain, which gives you greater control over your processes. There’s real-time access to information and proof of pick-up and delivery. Now you can incorporate consigner and goods recipients updates in your status workflows. So in addition to ETA, position and geofence, you can get live updates throughout the supply chain on good deliveries with supporting documentation.

Having CMR in digital format means you can let all the important logistics VIPs know what’s happening, on time, in real time. Everyone involved can be updated about what’s going on: when things are picked up, signed and delivered. Transporeon Visibility Hub provides GPS events of each truck, indicating when it arrived and left the destination, and Transporeon creates the arrival note for customers. Because regardless of their status or title, people in the transportation management world deserve to be informed, and for this information to pass as seamlessly as possible. Read more about the Transporeon e-CMR solution here.

Transporeon Transportation Management Platform

The Transporeon Transportation Management Platform is fully equipped to meet modern supply chain needs. Our robust capabilities include, market intelligence, freight procurement, matchmaking & transport execution, dock scheduling, yard management & visibility. To further support this 360° approach to transport procurement and execution, we also provide settlement, payment and audit capabilities. All of this is fully deployable across the globe for continent-spanning multi-modal coverage that can handle any load.

With over 1300 industrial shippers, more than 100 large retailers, and more than 130,000 carriers on our digital freight platform, we are driven to provide industry best digital process efficiency in logistics. Our goal is to help all stakeholders to see benefits in their sustainability, resilience, innovations and growth. At Transporeon, we are bringing your transportation in sync with the world.

About the author

Stefanie Bergfeld is the Real-Time Visibility Tribe Lead at Transporeon and draws on over 15 years experience working in the Logistics industry working with global shippers, carriers, 3pls and software companies. Stefanie is a big believer in data driven decision making and brings this approach to solving problems throughout the supply chain so all stakeholders achieve what they want.

10 questions on Digital Transport Documents

In today’s world, PDF documents just don’t cut it. Summon the courage to switch to true digitalisation and gain a thorough understanding of how this technology enriches information sharing, cuts time and expense, and keeps everyone smiling.

Shortlisted from our Transporeon NEXT product launch event back in March 2023, logistics influencer and analyst Adrian Gonzalez is joined by Gerry Daalhuisen, Tribe Lead Dock Scheduling & Yard Management, Transporeon for a succinct session on how a revolutionary solution simply makes things more straightforward. From the definition of a true digital document to dispelling any uncertainty surrounding digital signatures and European regulations, discover how seamlessly this solution can be implemented across the whole supply chain, and why efficient sharing of enriched information is something you can’t afford to live without.  

Want to know more about how to digitise your CMR? Get in touch with us:

Our solutions for your transport and logistic needs.

Dock & Yard Management Hub

Digital Transport Documents

Digital Transport Documents
  • Paperless management of the consignment note through all involved parties
  • Easy usage due to conveniently comment and signing of the eCMR on a mobile device
  • Provide the eCMR in real time via Transporeon platform plus additional communication channels

Dock & Yard Management Hub

Time Slot Management

Time Slot Management
  • Full transparency of delivery and pick-up times for all parties 
  • Efficient use of resources due to the even and predictable distribution of loadings and unloadings
  • Reduction of waiting times for trucks by up to 40%
  • Audit-proof and legal compliance through fully documented processes
  • Quick response and operational optimization through fast communication and real-time data

Dock & Yard Management Hub

Real-Time Yard Management

Real-Time Yard Management
  • Improve overall visibility and ability to predict changes.
  • Combine yard, transport, and warehouse management.
  • Automate arrivals, check-ins, and call-offs.
  • Avoid costs and fees caused by idle and inefficient processes.
  • Monitor, measure, and improve KPIs.