What is the CMR Convention?

The CMR agreement takes its name from its English name Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road and is a contract of international transport The CMR Convention, which entered into force in 1956 in Geneva, was not affirmed in Spain until 1974.

This convention applies to all contracts of carriage of goods by road where there is an exchange of borders, i.e. the place of loading and the place of unloading are not within the borders of the same country. Provided that one of these countries must be a signatory to the CMR agreement, otherwise the document will not be validated.

What does this mean? This means that the legal framework regulates the contracts of international carriage of goods by road in our country.

10 points of the CMR Convention

  1. The CMR Convention is an international agreement governing the carriage of goods by road. This treaty applies to contracts for the carriage of goods across borders and has been in force in many countries since 1956.
  2. The main objective of the CMR Convention is to protect the rights and obligations of all parties involved in the carriage of goods by road, including consignors, carriers and consignees.
  3. In general, the CMR Convention sets out the conditions of carriage and the rights and obligations of the parties involved, as well as the legal responsibilities related to any loss, damage or delay of the goods.
  4. It is important to note that some types of transport are not covered by the CMR Convention, such as postal, private, funeral, removal or furniture transport, and combined transport with breakage.
  5. The CMR Convention contract is consensual and must be documented by means of a consignment note, a document that describes the details of the shipment, including origin, destination, nature of the cargo, among others.
  6. The CMR consignment note is a very important document for the carriage of goods by road. It is issued in three originals and can be electronic. It is necessary to transport goods by road.
  7. In addition to the consignment note, the CMR Convention sets out the rights and obligations of each of the parties involved. The consignor and the consignee have specific obligations under the CMR Convention contract.
  8. The carrier is responsible for the goods throughout the transport process, from collection to delivery. Loss, damage or delay of the goods are the responsibility of the carrier, unless caused by specific causes.
  9. On the other hand, the consignee also has powers related to the delivery of the goods, such as verifying delivery, making protests and making claims in the event of damage to the goods during transport.
  10. On the other hand, the consignee also has powers related to the delivery of the goods, such as verifying delivery, making protests and making claims in the event of damage to the goods during transport.

Are there any transports excluded from the CMR agreement?

Yes, the following transports are excluded:

  • Postal transportation
  • Private transportation
  • Funeral transportation
  • Moving or furniture transportation
  • Combined transports with load breakage, i.e. the goods are not handled, for example we want to carry goods from the Balearic Islands or Madrid, because it would have to be done by sea and rail transport, since if we use road transport, the goods could be moved and the load would be broken).

CMR agreement requirements

  • That it is carried out on behalf of another and for consideration, that is to say, that it has a cost.
  • That it is performed by vehicles such as trucks, trailers or semi-trailers as defined in the Agreement.

Formalization of the contract (Bill of Lading)

The contract reflected in the CMR agreement is consensual, i.e., by mutual agreement and is valid if it is entered into by word of mouth, although a consignment note must be documented, as it is an essential requirement for the existence and validity of such contract.

The CMR consignment note is issued with three originals to be signed by the shipper and the carrier.

  • First copy to sender
  • Second copy must always accompany the merchandise.
  • Third copy for the carrier

Today, the electronic consignment note is valid and certified by electronic signature.

Rights and obligations of the contracting parties

The sender

The sender has the right to dispose of the goods, to stop or halt transport, to change the intended place of delivery or to change the consignee. This right is only maintained before the goods are delivered to the addressee, i.e. once delivered, it cannot be modified, cancelled or anything of the sort.

The consignee has the same attributions as the sender when the bill of lading is formalized.

If the carrier is unable to carry out the instructions he has received, he shall immediately inform the person at his disposal so that no damage may be incurred and the goods or the proper completion of the journey may be prejudiced.

The sender has the obligation to provide the carrier with the necessary documents to clear customs without any irregularities. You should also indicate if you are delivering dangerous goods and what type of dangerous goods they are and how to take precautions against them.

The carrier

The carrier shall be liable for total or partial loss of the goods, damage to the goods and delay in delivery, unless caused by the following:

  • Fault of the party entitled to the goods
  • Merchandise defect
  • Unavoidable causes
  • Use of open vehicles
  • Absence or deficiency of packaging
  • Sender/recipient manipulation
  • Nature of goods (mold…)
  • Insufficient or imperfect package identification
  • Transport of live animals

Proof that the loss was due to one of these causes rests with the carrier.

The carrier shall also be liable in case of delay. The goods are considered lost when 30 days have elapsed after the agreed period, or 60 days since the carrier took possession of the goods if no period was indicated in the transport.

The consignee

The following powers are within its competence:

  • Request for delivery of goods and second bill of lading receipt
  • Disposal of goods according to circumstances
  • Exercises in own name against carrier in case of loss of goods or delay in delivery
  • Express statement on the condition of the goods or delay in delivery and claim for damages

Formulation of protests in CMR agreements

It is assumed that the consignee receives the goods in the condition indicated and described in the Bill of Lading as long as some of these assumptions are met:

  • Accept without checking
  • If, in the absence of packaging, you have no reservations at the time of delivery of the goods, the following conditions apply
  • If you do not express reservations about the packaged goods within seven days of delivery

Multimodal and successive transport in the CMR agreement

Multimodal transportation

The CMR convention applies to the entire shipment when the vehicle containing the goods is driven on different means of transport for part of its journey, without load breakage.

Successive transport

If a transport of goods subject to a single contract is performed by successive road hauliers, each of these hauliers will assume (by CMR agreement) the responsibility for the performance of the total transport.

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