Italy will soon introduce the electronic consignment note. Its establishment in Europe and beyond aims at a more cost-efficient and transparent documentation of road transports. From 2026, the so-called eCMR is to become mandatory throughout the EU. We take a look at the current state of development for you.
Anyone who orders something privately online knows the flood of emails that results. In a mixture of relevant information and further marketing impulses, but also with regard to legally secure processing, the person placing the order receives a huge amount of mail. Here, digital business activity already shows itself at a qualitatively high level that does not yet exist in many places in logistics. But legislators and the industry are working hard to improve this - for example with a view to introducing the electronic consignment note for paperless documentation of cross-border road freight transport.
Italian often sounds pleasant to English native speakers because of their cultural imprint. So the headline "La rivoluzione dell'export sempre più vicina grazie all'e-CMR" of a logistics portal based there recently promised nothing less than a revolution. This spring, the government set the course for the introduction of the electronic consignment note in the country south of the Alps. But first, let's take a brief look at the past of this topic:
Facts about the International Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road:
Quality leap expected
Fewer documents to be physically carried are certainly just as tempting for many forwarding companies and their drivers as saving paper from an ecological point of view. In view of the susceptibility to errors of classic consignment notes, which has been repeatedly identified in studies on a random basis - for example, when it comes to completeness or legibility - all those involved, from the shipper to the consignee, are hoping that the eCMR will not least improve the standard of international transport handling.
Main reasons for the introduction of the eCMR (according to industry lobby IRU):
For 2026, the responsible authorities are planning the mandatory introduction in all member states of the European Union. By this time, Germany, which has not yet finalised this step with legal effect, would also have to follow suit at the latest. The digital consignment note (additionally) has already been used intensively in this country since its approval in April 2022, as a bitkom study found out at the end of last year. Still the final ratification of the eCMR protocol is still pending.
Optimised view of the supply chain
From the perspective of even more digitalised supply chains in the future, in which silo thinking is overcome and every participant in a transport order receives the information it needs correctly and promptly, the electronic consignment note represents another important variable in such a success equation. With the precisely analysed treasure trove of data that this provides, scheduling processes can be further improved so that the flow of goods will be even more efficient in the years and decades to come. Then the phrase "rivoluzione", i.e. revolution, will once again fit perfectly.
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