What is a consignment note in international logistics?

CMR note serves as the standardized agreement for transporting goods internationally via road. Learn more about its uses and benefits in the blog.
What is a consignment note in international logistics?
In international trade, the movement of goods across borders is often complicated by the varying rules and regulations of each country. Recognizing this challenge, the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (Convention relative au contrat de transport des marchandises par route or CMR) was established in 1956.1 This convention serves as a standardized set of rules governing the transportation of goods by road internationally.

According to the convention, the transport of goods by road needs to be accompanied by a document or contract called a consignment note (CMR). In this blog post, we will discuss what a consignment note is, its function, benefits, and format.

What is a consignment note (CMR)?

A consignment note is a document that accompanies a consignment of goods being transported internationally by road. It outlines universally accepted transport and liability conditions. Upon delivery, the recipient signs the CMR note, providing confirmation of receipt. A CMR note includes the names and addresses of both the sender and receiver, as well as details about the goods, such as their weight. Moreover, it clarifies who is responsible for insuring the goods during transit.2

What is e-CMR?

In 2008, an aditional protocol on e-CMR was introduced to support electronic versions of the CMR note. Following this, in 2017, a project led by the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business developed a business requirements specification, core component e-CMR message structure, and XML message standard.

This electronic version of the consignment note, based on the Additional Protocol on e-CMR, streamlines the documentation process. Instead of manually inputting data from a paper document, which could lead to errors, the data can be automatically reused and integrated into subsequent processes.3

Who provides a consignment note?

Any goods transport agency offering road transport services via a goods carriage can issue a consignment note. The note must be provided to the recipient of the service.4

What is the use of a consignment note (CMR)?

A consignment note plays a significant role in international logistics. Some of its key functions are as follows:

1. Outlines and records the transaction

The CMR note outlines the terms of the transaction and the amount paid to the parties. It also acts as a record of the transaction in case the consigned goods are lost or stolen.

2. Serves as proof of contract

The CMR note acts as evidence that the carriage contract exists, and confirms that the terms and conditions of the contract have been accepted by both the sender and the carrier.

3. Enables customs clearance

Upon pickup, the CMR acts as a receipt from the shipper, confirming that the carrier has received the specified goods for transport. At the destination, it serves as proof of delivery, providing confirmation to the recipient that the goods have been received in accordance with the agreed-upon terms.5

Benefits of using consignment notes

Following are some of the benefits of using consignment notes in international logistics:

1. Provides legal protection

In case of a dispute between the shipper and the carrier, the CMR note can serve as evidence in court. It is crucial to accurately fill out and maintain this note to prove delivery of goods.

2. Ensures transparency and monitoring of products

The CMR note enhances transparency in the shipment process and helps in monitoring the progress of shipments.

3. Facilitates effective communication

The CMR note promotes effective communication among shippers, carriers, and intermediaries, ensuring smooth coordination throughout the transportation process.

4. Assures timely delivery

By including all relevant details about the consignment, the CMR note helps ensure the timely delivery of products.6

Contents of a consignment note (CMR)

A consignment note must include the following details:

● Date and place of issuance.
● Sender's name and address.
● Carrier's name and address.
● Pickup and delivery locations and dates.
● Consignee's name and address.
● Description of the goods and packaging details.
● Package numbers and distinctive markings.
● Gross weight or quantity of goods.
● Carriage charges, additional fees, customs duties, and other relevant expenses.
● Customs instructions.
● Acknowledgement of adherence to the provisions of the Convention On The Contract For The International Carriage Of Goods By Road (CMR).7

Additional particulars included in the consignment note (where applicable)

● Declaration against transshipment.
● Sender's assumed payment responsibilities.
● Charges for cash on delivery.
● The stated value of goods and any special interests in delivery.
● The senders’ instructions to the carrier on goods' insurance.
● Agreed timeframe for transportation.
● A list of documents transferred to the carrier.8

Format of the consignment note (CMR)

Here is the CMR note document template:
Format of the consignment note (CMR)

List of major countries who ratified CMR Convention

As of 2024, 58 countries have ratified or acceded to the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR). The convention has 9 signatories in total, including:

● Austria
● Belgium
● France
● Germany
● Luxembourg
● The Netherlands
● Poland
● Sweden
● Switzerland9


The CMR note provides a unified legal framework for international transportation of products via road. It sets minimum standards for product carriage and ensures the safety of products during transit.
E-commerce exporters who transport products by road must develop a thorough understanding of the CMR note to ensure safe and efficient exports. For more assistance on compliance and other aspects of e-commerce exports, exporters can leverage the tools and services offered by e-commerce export programs like Amazon Global Selling.

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Frequently Asked Questions

· What is the difference between an invoice and a consignment note?
An invoice is a commercial document that maintains the record of transactions between the buyer and the seller.10 On the other hand, a consignment note is an export document that serves as evidence of a concluded carriage contract. It describes the contents of the contract and serves as proof of delivery of goods to the recipient.11
· How many copies of the CMR consignment note are required?
The number of required copies for a CMR note can vary from place to place. Generally, four copies of the CMR note are required:
1. One administrative copy.
2. One that the trader keeps.
3. One that the carrier keeps.
4. One that travels to the final destination along with the products.12
· When is a consignment note required?
The consignment note is required for any consignment of goods being transported internationally by road.
· What type of freight requires a consignment note (CMR)?
Goods that are transported internationally by road must be accompanied by a consignment note.
Published on May 21, 2024.


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