So far, 17 countries (including Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia) have signed an additional protocol of the CMR Convention on the electronic consignment note. Germany is not among the signatories.
According to the information provided by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV), Germany has not yet ratified the protocol, because initially in 2008 the subject of e-CMR did not enjoy much interest either among the signatories of the convention or among business circles. In the meantime, the protocol has been ratified by a number of countries, and the digitization of business processes has gained in importance in the transport and logistics industry. For the sake of clarity, BMJV asked other ministries and industry associations whether Germany should join the e-CMR.
Germany joined a pilot project to test e-CMR
Everything points to the fact that the German government is not likely to sign the protocol quickly. However, Germany has recently joined the Czech Republic, Greece, Romania and Serbia to test e-CMR in cross-border transport as part of a project funded by the European Commission. The pilot program is planned to finish in August 2019. However, only one German company is involved in this project. Thus, conclusions may not be relevant for German decision-makers.
In addition, the Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection underlines in the reply sent to Trans.INFO, that the e-CMR protocol concerns only the civil law aspects of transport (freight agreement). Regardless of having an electronic freight bill, it will still be necessary to have additional paper documents certifying, for example, the working time of the driver.
At the EU level, however, a regulation is currently under discussion which would allow the introduction of an electronic form also for other documents (Proposal for a Regulation on electronic information on freight transport COM (2018) 279).
Perhaps only when digitization covers a wider range of documents related to transport operations, Germany will decide to implement solutions such as e-CMR.