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Why Does the CMR Waybill Matter in International Logistics?

If you are transporting goods via road from a CMR-ratified country to a country that may or may not be CMR-ratified, you will most likely need a CMR waybill. CMR waybills are standard transport documents used for international cargo transportation by road across countries that are signatories of the CMR Convention.

These documents contain important information about the transit process. They are filled according to the CMR Convention guidelines.

Functions of the CMR Waybill

But what purpose does the CMR waybill serve? Why should you obtain this document before transporting goods by road to or from a CMR-ratified country? This post will highlight the functions of the CMR waybill.

The CMR waybill essentially works as a contract between the carrier, consignor, and consignee for the carriage of goods by road and outside state borders, where at least one country has acceded to the CMR Convention protocols. It serves the following functions.

Identification of Cargo

The CMR waybill identifies the nature and quantity of merchandise in transit. It also discloses the weight, state, and dimensions of the goods.

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Identification of Concerned Parties

This document also reveals the parties involved in the freight. It recognizes the responsibilities of each party as per the CMR Convention protocol. For example, according to the CMR Convention, the carrier remains in charge of the merchandise during transit. If anything were to happen to the goods, the carrier would be liable.

Functions as a Receipt

The CMR waybill functions as a receipt that indicates the time and place the merchandise changed hands during transit. However, it does not declare ownership of the goods.

Functions as Evidence

CMR waybills also act as legal proof that the merchandise was dispatched and delivered in good condition and in the specified quantities.

Point of Reference

This document serves as the first point of reference in case a dispute arises. For example, if the merchandise gets damaged or stolen while in transit, the concerned parties will refer to the CMR waybill to confirm the quantities.


The CMR waybill is standard across all countries that ratify the CMR Convention protocol. It is issued, filled, and handled as per CMR Convention guidelines. The CMR waybill serves different purposes and is essential in the road transport of goods. It identifies the merchandise and concerned parties. It also functions as evidence and a point of reference in case a dispute arises. The CMR waybill does not, however, declare ownership of merchandise.

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