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What Is the CMR Convention?

The CMR Convention, held in Geneva in 1956, helped unify road transportation throughout Europe and in many other countries that are signatories to this protocol. Before the convention, international road transportation across Europe was chaotic and complicated. There wasn’t a standard document that contracting parties could sign as evidence of the transit process. Each party would have its own consignment notes, making the signing process burdensome and repetitive.

The CMR Convention helped save time and reduce confusion by introducing a standard consignment note that all parties could work with during international road transportation. This document is known as the CMR note or the CMR waybill. The CMR waybill is available in three languages and applies to only those countries that have ratified the CMR Convention.

Understanding the CMR Convention

The CMR Convention is an international UN convention held and implemented in Geneva in 1956. The goal behind this convention was to standardize and regulate the carriage of goods by road outside international borders, where at least one country is a party to the CMR convention.

The CMR Convention was ratified initially by ten countries. Over time, more European countries became signatories, and later, states outside Europe joined the convention. As of January 2022, 58 countries had ratified the CMR Convention.

Contents of the CMR Convention

The CMR Convention contains eight chapters, divided further into 51 articles. The convention is also available in English and French, with one page highlighting English content and a consecutive page showing French content.

Where Does the CMR Convention Apply?

For the CMR convention is be applicable, a consignment needs to meet certain conditions:

  • The consignment should occur by road.
  • The dispatch location and cargo destination should be in different countries, where at least one of the countries is a signatory of the CMR Convention.
  • There should be a reward offered as compensation for the consignment.

The CMR Convention can also apply to other means of transportation, for example, water, if the goods remain in the same truck during transit.

Where Does the CMR Convention Not Apply?

The cases when the CMR convention does not apply are when a carriage is:

  • A postal cargo
  • A funeral consignment
  • A furniture removal or change of residence

Final Thoughts

The CMR Convention was signed and agreed upon in Geneva in 1956. This convention helped standardize road transportation across state borders in countries that are party to the protocol. It introduced a standard document called a CMR note or CMR waybill, which identifies the goods in transit and outlines the responsibilities of the parties involved. The CMR Convention applies only to carriage occurring by road and across international borders.


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