e currently find ourselves in a key moment for the logistics industry. Every stakeholder within the global supply chine is searching for innovative solutions that would contribute towards their efficiency in order to become more competitive in this dynamic market. In addition, the governments of European states are carefully observing how companies’ needs are changing while the markets are developing in order to provide appropriate legislative solutions in order to support domestic firms. The last instance which portrays this tendency of a state contributing towards a positive change within the transport sector is Germany, who, as of the 5th of April, adopts the digital waybill – E-CMR, becoming the 31st government which has implemented the E-CMR Protocol of the CMR Convention.
The Causes 🗺️
“The benefits of the digital waybill are obvious. It will contribute towards a faster and more efficient supply chain, all the whilst making life easier not only for logistics companies, but for every individual client.” confirms Andreas Schauer – Germany’s minister of transport and digital infrastructure after having adopted the E-CMR Protocol. In reality, digital waybills offer additional comfort for all stakeholders in two fundamental areas – decreased expenses and clear-cut transparency during all important steps starting from the commissioning of a transport mission until its execution.
The administrative expenses related to the conventional paper waybill will drastically decrease. The removal of costs related to printing, informational updates and physical data storage will lead to a significant decrease in costs for logitistics firms given the volume of documentation that paper-waybills create. On the other hand, it is crucial to acknowledge the time that different companies along the supply chain must currently dedicate in order to enter, update and transfer information on paper. This obligation costs valuable time which can be instead invested for commercial progress given the dynamic transport and logistics market.
The ability to track and update information in real time provides more visibility and transparency for everyone along the supply chain. As such, every stakeholder can remain calm because they will benefit from a fast and easy access to all necessary information during the transport mission. Moreover, when an action related to a claim or an invoice is necessary, firms can enjoy the advantage of being able to act switfly and appropriately according to the circumstances. This will improve the effectiveness of every party’s work while at the same time decreasing the risk of delayed payments and mistimed communication.
Therefore, the digital waybill is becoming an invaluable tool for senders, carriers and freight forwarders as it allows them to enjoy a more effective workflow, smaller costs, and more available time for expanding and optimizing their business – three objectives which Claims Trans focused on during our previous analysis of the topic.
Why is it important that precisely Germany has adopted the E-CMR Protocol?
According to major transport organizations and unions, Germany’s absence from the E-CMR Protocol, which regulates the implementation of digital waybills, is the main cause which has prevented a more significant development of digital waybills towards more widespread use in Europe. On the one hand, Germany’s strong export economy implies that a significant portion of European carriers and forwarders have long-standing partnerships with German companies who export their products within the European internal market and abroad. On the other hand, Germany is a transit state for almost half of the land freight in Europe. This positions Germany and its domestic firms as key stakeholders for many of the transport missions completed in the European market.
By actively engaging with the digital revolution, which the E-CMR promotes, Germany showcases its clear intentions to support domestic firms by creating an efficient and calm commercial environment as far as the optimization of the supply chain, regardless of its size, is concerned. This development provides valuable insights for European transport companies who either have German clients and carriers as partners, or who frequently use Germany as a transit country during their transport missions. Therefore, a timely and prompt reaction to this change by the other European firms in the logistics industry will not only ensure them a more efficient and calm workflow – but it will also fortify and improve their commercial relationships with clients and partners.
A Look into the Future 👀
At Claims Trans, we believe that the latest digital innovations in the industry indicate that the logistics industry indeed finds itself in a key stage of its development. The needs for more effective work through suitable automatization and digital solutions are becoming more visible and the transport companies are showing an increasing willingness to explore the different methods of becoming more competitive. This development is evident on a European-wide level as, in a decision from November 2019, the European Parliament certifies its desire for digital waybills to progress towards mass use in the European Union, expecting that the E-CMR would be mandatory by the year 2026. In fact, digital waybills are becoming the tool which can allow the transport sector to experience the necessary innovations which will improve the processes for all stakeholders along the supply chain.
Therefore, it is important for all stakeholders to undertake appropriate strategic actions now, in order to ensure their adequate positioning in the future of this ongoing digital (r)evolution of the transport industry.
 Germany signs up to e-CMR digital consignment note protocol. , accessed on the 5th of April 2022 at:
 Digital Transformation: ECMR – A digital future for the CMR document. , accessed on the 5th of April 2022 at:
 Germany goes paperless with e-CMR , accessed on the 5th of April 2022 at:
 Impact Assessment for Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on electronic freight transport information. , accessed on the 5th of April 2022 at: