What is CMR?
CMR stands for “Convention relative au contrat de transport international de marchandises par route” which translates as “Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road”. It was devised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and was brought into UK law by the Carriage of Goods by Road Act 1965.
When does CMR apply?
It applies to every contract for the carriage of goods by road in vehicles for reward, when the place of taking over of the goods and the place designated for delivery, as specified in the contract, are situated in two different countries, of which at least one is a contracting party to CMR.
The current contracting countries are: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan.
It doesn’t apply:
(a) To movements between the United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland, The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man;
(b) To carriage performed under the terms of any international postal convention;
(c) To funeral consignments;
(d) To furniture removal;
(e) To movement of your own goods.
What does it mean to me as a same day courier?
Surprisingly enough, given all the fuss that people make over it, it means very little to you. It simply provides a standardised set of Conditions, which you’re not permitted to contract out of, which replace your own Terms & Conditions (if any) when carrying out deliveries to which CMR applies.
The two main issues that concern same day couriers are paperwork and the issue of insuring for liability under CMR.
What about Liability and ‘CMR Insurance’
Under CMR your liability for loss or damage to a load is strictly limited to 8.33 SDRs (Standard Drawing Rights) per kilo, unless you’ve chosen to offer your customer a higher level of liability. That’s currently (11th July 2008) equal to £6.87 per kilo of damaged, lost or stolen goods, or the actual value – whichever is lower. While that’s a higher rate than standard FTA or RHA limits of liability (£1.30/kg) it’s still less than that offered by most couriers’ standard Terms & Conditions.
Despite what you may have been told ‘CMR Insurance’ is NOT compulsory by law, in fact there’s no such thing as CMR Insurance – it’s just Goods In Transit insurance that meets your liabilities under CMR. Since your liabilities under CMR are usually more limited than your liabilities under UK Common Law, or most couriers’ Terms & Conditions, then this issue of ‘CMR Insurance’ shouldn’t really exist for same day couriers; it’s only the ‘Territorial Limits’ of standard GIT cover that make it an issue.
Of course if you’re carrying out work for another transport company then they’ll probably consider that you have to have ‘CMR Insurance’ in order to protect their interests. You may also feel that your chances of theft or damage to your load are increased when travelling abroad, particularly during the often unavoidable overnight stops.
Paperwork – the ‘CMR Note’
Again, despite what you may have been told, it’s not compulsory to have a ‘CMR Note’ of the ‘standard’ design in a 4 part NCR set etc. However, the law does stipulate that certain details must appear on the consignment note and that observations & remarks should be entered in the appropriate places.
Given that foreign officials (and the consignee) will be more familiar with the standard design of CMR note it would probably be foolish not use it.
A downloadable 4 part CMR Note from the IRU Website is available through the link here http://www.deliver-it.biz/couriers/useful-sites-and-tools/ and guidance on completion is available at http://www.iru.org/index/en_services_cmr – although you’ll need to register to access it.
The full text of CMR is available at http://www.unece.org/trans/conventn/cmr_e.pdf and the Carriage of Goods by Road Act 1965 which enacts it in UK law is available at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1965/cukpga_19650037_en_1