The consignment note (CMR) in the transport of goods

In France and elsewhere, regulations govern the practices of road hauliers. Among the various documents that a driver must be able to produce in the event of an inspection, there is always the consignment note – or CMR. This is designed to formalize the official contract between the various parties (principal or customer, carrier and any intermediaries). In France, this consignment note is governed by the law and article L.132-8 of the French Commercial Code. CMR is also regulated in the member states of the European Union. The acronym “CMR” refers to the Convention concerning the International Carriage of Goods by Road, which was created in Geneva in 1956 and came into force in 1958.

What information should be included in the consignment note?

The consignment note can be designed in any way: French legislation and European CMR regulations do not impose any specific format. In all cases, however, the document must include a certain amount of information:

  • The date
  • Carrier’s name and address, SIREN number or intracommunity number
  • The date the merchandise was picked up
  • Type, quantity and weight of merchandise
  • Sender’s name and recipient’s name
  • Address of loading and unloading site

All parties involved in the road transport of goods are able to draw up this consignment note. In practice, it is often built by the company providing the road haulage service.

The role of consignment notes in MRT

The purpose of a consignment note is to formalize and formalize the contract between the various parties involved in the shipment (consignor, consignee, freight forwarder, any intermediaries). It specifies not only the conditions under which the service is provided, but also the terms of payment. It’s a guarantee for both carrier and shipper: the guarantee of being paid on time on the carrier’s side, and the guarantee of having a service that meets the expressed need on the shipper’s side. All parties involved in the relationship must have a copy of this consignment note or CMR.

What are the risks of not having a consignment note?

In Europe, article 4 of the CMR convention specifies that this consignment note is not mandatory. However, it is widely used by transport companies, with a view to prevention and protection of the various parties involved. In France, the consignment note was made compulsory by the law of February 6, 1998.

If there is no consignment note on board the vehicle, it can be immobilized immediately if the authorities find a serious breach of safety or regulations (notably on driving time and rest periods for drivers).


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