eCMR in Spain, regulation and time horizons

Detailed guide to electronic CMR regulations

22 Mar 2024
eCMR España, regulación y horizontes temporales

The eCMR or electronic consignment note is an essential solution to further drive the digitization of road freight transport.

Although it is an essential solution, its implementation is not widespread due to regulatory uncertainty, the absence of a leader to initiate change and the culture of change rejection that has traditionally accompanied the road.

What is CMR and eCMR?

The CMR or consignment note is a road transport document that formalizes the contract for the shipment of goods. In other words, this document proves the existence of a contractual relationship between a shipper and a transport company and sets out the terms of the contract.

In line with the digital transformation, the CMR has evolved to its paperless version, giving way to the electronic consignment note or eCMR.

This version has the same functionality as the traditional version and, although it is not yet mandatory, the eCMR in Spain is much more advanced than in other European countries.

Background of the electronic consignment note or eCMR in Spain

The CMR was born in 1956 in Geneva with the signing of the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR).

However, the CMR in Spain was not created until May 13, 1974, when Spain’s Instrument of Accession to the Convention was approved.

Although digitization seems to be a trend born a few years ago, it was in 2008 when the Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road, relating to the electronic consignment note, i.e. the eCMR, was adopted in Geneva.

The electronic CMR in Spain arrived with its accession in August 2011 to the aforementioned Additional Protocol. As stated in the text, “any consignment note issued in accordance with this Protocol shall be deemed equivalent to the consignment note referred to in the Convention, and shall therefore have the same evidentiary force and produce the same effects as the latter”.

In this way, the eCMR in Spain was legally protected and progress was made in the digital transformation of road freight transport.

eCMR Protocol in Spain

The consignment note, in both its traditional and digital versions, must be issued in three original copies, signed by the sender and the carrier. As stated in the CMR Protocol in Spain, the first copy will be sent to the sender, the second will accompany the goods and the third will be retained by the carrier.

In the digital version, the costs of issuance and custody of this transport document are eliminated as all the agents involved receive the eCMR on their devices.

Example of electronic CMR

As stated in the Instrument of Accession of Spain to the CMR Convention, the consignment note, whether in paper or electronic format, must contain the following information:

  • Place and date of drafting.
  • Name and address of sender.
  • Name and address of the carrier,
  • Place and date on which the goods are taken over.
  • Name and address of the addressee and place of delivery.
  • Description of the nature of the goods and the method of packaging, as well as the normal description of the goods if they are dangerous.
  • Number of packages, their particular marks and numbers.
  • Quantity of goods, expressed in gross weight or otherwise.
  • Transport costs (transport price, ancillary costs, customs duties and other costs arising from the conclusion of the contract up to the time of delivery),
  • Instructions required by customs and other formalities.
  • Indication that the carriage is subject, even if otherwise stipulated, to the regime established by this Convention.

The eCMR Protocol in Spain also establishes that other indications may be added if required, as well as any other information deemed appropriate:

  • Express mention of prohibition of transshipment.
  • Expenses borne by the sender.
  • Amount of the reimbursement to be received at the time of delivery of the goods.
  • Declared value of the goods and the amount representing the special interest in the delivery.
  • Instructions from the shipper to the carrier concerning the insurance of the goods.
  • Agreed time within which the transport is to be carried out.
  • List of documents delivered to the carrier.

New regulations for eCMR in Spain

The regulations for CMR and eCMR in Spain are alive and well and, as new needs are detected, new modifications to the original regulations are approved.

Economic sustainability measures in the field of transportation

The eCMR Protocol in Spain underwent a new regulatory modification with Royal Decree-Law 14/2022, of August 1, on economic sustainability measures in the field of transport.

This regulatory text stipulated the obligation to formalize a consignment note if the price of the transport exceeds 150 euros, with the aim of shielding the transport contract in an evidentiary manner.
In this case, the bill of lading must include the following mandatory statements:

  • Name or company name, VAT number and address of the shipper and, if applicable, of the sender.
  • Name or company name and NIF of the actual carrier.
  • Place, date and, if applicable, time of receipt of the goods by the actual carrier.
  • Place, date and, if applicable, estimated time of delivery of the goods at destination.
  • Recipient’s name and address.
  • Nature and mass of the goods.
  • Agreed transportation price. The price and charges related to the carriage shall cover the total actual individual costs incurred or borne by the carrier for its provision.

Modification of the ROTT

On May 22, 2023, an amendment to the Regulations of the Land Transport Management Law (ROTT) was published.

Specifically, with regard to the characteristics that must be met by the supports and computer applications of the control documentation to be completed electronically.

Electronic signature for eCMR in Spain

Thus, the eCMR in Spain will only have legal and juridical validity when the data recorded are accessible to any person authorized to do so; the storage of data and the sending of documents is guaranteed; and they have the electronic signatures of all those involved with the following characteristics:

  • The signature must be linked only to the signatory.
  • It must allow the signer to be identified.
  • It must have been created using means that the signatory can maintain under his sole control.
  • It should be linked to the data being submitted so that any subsequent changes to the data can be detected.

Electronic control documentation

The latest amendment to the ROTT also clarifies the system of control of transport documentation in electronic format by the agents of the road transport surveillance forces.

This modification estimates two control systems:

  • By means of a code in numerical format which is transferred to the driver to be shown to the authorities, so that they can view the content of the document, in PDF format and no larger than 4 MB, deposited in a cloud repository of the ministry’s web application.
  • By scanning a QR code containing the URL where the document is stored.

Sustainable Mobility Law

The Sustainable Mobility Law will make the control document in digital format mandatory.

In its 8th transitory provision, it stipulates that “the administrative control document required for the performance of public road freight transport must necessarily be digital as of September 1, 2024”.

In other words, eCMR in Spain should be mandatory as of the third quarter of 2024. However, the delay in the approval of the Sustainable Mobility Law means that this date is no longer valid and must wait for its final approval, scheduled for December 2024.

Regulation (EU) 2020/1055

This European Regulation determines the ways to submit the documentation to the authorized agents in charge of transport control in the Member State.

The text states that during the roadside check, the driver will be authorized to contact the head office, the transport manager or any other person or entity in order to provide the electronic consignment note. However, it does not establish a clear time horizon for its entry into force.

eFTI Regulations

The eFTI Regulation, Electronic Freight Transport Information, will also affect eCMR in Spain.

This Regulation establishes a legal framework for the electronic communication of regulatory information relating to the carriage of goods on the territory of the Union between the economic operators concerned and the competent authorities.

According to the text, from 2025 all administrations will be obliged to accept transport documentation in electronic format. However, it is not until 2029 that the mandatory use of electronic documentation, such as the eCMR, could be approved for all stakeholders.

eCMR in Spain with full legal guarantees

With all of the above, it is of vital importance that the eCRM system implemented in a transport company, in a loading company or in a logistics operator meets all the regulatory requirements set out in the previous points.

In this regard, the SeamLess eCMR by FIELDEAS Track and Trace is the only one on the market that offers full legal guarantee by having the capacity to include all the required information depending on the type of transport and to include the advanced digital signature in the processing of the documentation, as well as to guarantee the integrity of the information in the custody of the document.

In addition, the FIELDEAS Track and Trace solution allows cargo information to be verifiable by the FFCCS, either through a numerical code or through a QR code.

eCMR Spain_full legal guarantee
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Lola Hurtado

Marketing Manager at FIELDEAS

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