After years of campaigning ECG finally welcomes the adoption by Germany of the e-CMR protocol following the approval by the Bundesrat on 17th September. Although Germany had previously allowed electronic documentation for transit journeys this change means that the largest automotive market in Europe will finally also accept electronic consignment notes for movements that are loaded or unloaded within its borders.
For the Finished Vehicle Logistics industry and ECG this marks the end of a seven year long campaign and will mean that the paperless carriage of vehicles can be extended from a relatively small number of road transport movements, such as between France and Spain, to encompass the vast majority of vehicle movements in Europe. The environmental impact alone is significant with many ECG members estimating that they will now each eliminate the printing of up to two million paper documents every year!
Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure in Germany said "The time has finally come - the e-waybill is coming! The advantages are obvious. At the same time, it enables logisticians and customers to get real-time information about the status of their deliveries. The result is overall a more efficient and faster supply chain. This not only makes life easier for logisticians, it ultimately benefits every single customer!"
The original e-CMR protocol was signed by the members of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in 2008 and came into force in 2011. Since then European countries have slowly been individually acceding to it. From the beginning Germany, as the most important market for automotive shipments, has been a block to car carriers benefiting from the improved efficiencies the protocol allows. As long ago as 2016 ECG published, with the International Road Transport Union (IRU), a joint statement calling on Germany to adopt the protocol and so we celebrate this significant milestone in Europe on the path to achieving truly digital and paperless supply chains in our industry. We now look forward to the last few countries ratifying and accepting e-CMR as well as the eventual implementation in the German market.