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Moving goods by road

This page explains how the standard contract of carriage for goods being transported internationally by road - the CMR note - works, and how to fulfil your responsibilities in completing it.

What the CMR note is

The CMR is a consignment note with a standard set of transport and liability conditions, which replaces individual businesses' terms and conditions. It confirms that the carrier (ie the road haulage company) has received the goods and that a contract of carriage exists between the trader and the carrier. Unlike a bill of lading, a CMR is not a document of title nor a declaration, although some states regard it as such. It does not necessarily give its holder and/or the carrier rights of ownership or possession of the goods, although some insurance is included.

How to complete the CMR note

You can fill in the CMR yourself, or you can have a freight forwarder or the carrier do it for you. However, you remain responsible for the accuracy of its contents.

A range of information needs to be covered in the CMR note, including:

  • The date and place at which the CMR note has been completed.
  • The name and address of sender, carrier(s) and consignee (the person to whom the goods are going).
  • A description of the goods and their method of packing. The description should be acceptable to the consignor and consignee. For security reasons, you do not always want the carrier to be able to identify valuable goods.
  • The weight of the goods.
  • Any charges related to the goods, such as customs duties or carriage charges.
  • Instructions for customs and any other formalities such as dangerous goods information.

This list is not comprehensive. For full details you can download a copy of the CMR Convention from the UNECE website (PDF, 60K) - Opens in a new window.

Generally there will be four copies of a CMR note. One will be kept by the trader and another by the carrier, while the third will travel with the goods all the way to their final destination. The final is the administration copy.

While the carrier is liable for any loss, damage or delay to a consignment until it is delivered, the trader is responsible for any loss or damage the carrier suffers resulting from incorrect details having been provided in the CMR note.

Subjects covered in this guide

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International trade

Transport options for moving your goods


Moving goods by road





The different road haulage vehicles

Current section

The CMR note: the key road transport document


Other documentation issues for transport by road


Transporting dangerous goods by road


Insurance for international road transport


Licences for international road transport