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eCMR

Standards, standards, standards: The eCMR is becoming compatible - finally!

Taking into account established templates and international standards, the eCMR will allow companies to uniformly create, edit, save, forward and archive shipping documents in a human- and machine-readable format.
Icon Electronic Transport Documents

Milestones

Define typical eCMR use case and typical deviations

Set-up technical infrastructure including local eCMR instance and blockchain node with at least 4 companies

Pilot for the cross-platform exchange of eCMRs
Pilot for one platform with several guest exchanging eCMRs
Ensure acceptance of legal implementation and governance model based on pilots
Define and implement basic functionalities for common open source solution

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Starting Situation

Before 2021, all freight and transport information had to be written and forwarded on paper. The consignment note for international road freight transport (CMR), for example, has been paper-based since 1956. The structures that have grown through decades of use have resulted in high administrative costs with numerous manual activities, a multitude of different formats, media disruptions and transmission errors. Meanwhile, shipping documents for international carriage of goods by road (CMR) may be electronic. There have been attempts in recent years to make these types of documents available in different electronic formats; however, these formats are not compatible, resulting in media discontinuity, transcription errors, and tedious manual rework. Against this background, the companies of the Open Logistics Foundation community have set up the eCMR project.

Practical approach

The work is based on the results of the eCMR project, which was carried out at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML as part of the “Silicon Economy”. The electronic consignment note relies on the generation, storage and transmission of digital consignment notes in human- and machine-readable format, taking into account established templates and international standards. In the meantime, the eCMR can be found as a reference implementation in the repository of the Open Logistics Foundation and is being used by pilot companies. As a common data source, the eCMR is also intended to serve as an “enabler” for further digital processes, such as automatic billing and payment.

All developed components are made available to companies in the Open Logistics Foundation repository.

Technical details

The authenticity and integrity of the transport information is guaranteed by a digital signature, a revision history that includes all changes, and the storage of the hash value – a digital fingerprint, in a blockchain. During implementation, emphasis is placed on the use of the following existing standards (excerpt) to ensure interoperability:

  • UN/CEFACT data standard
  • CMR template of the International Road Transport Union IRU
  • ECDSA signature procedure

The first implementation is available and initial tests have been carried out with two platforms communicating with each other. Several logistics companies are currently participating in the test.

  • Reference implementation with a focus on single instances is available
  • Reference implementation has been tested based on different use cases
  • 4 Blockchain nodes in stable operation (4 companies)
  • eCMR instance running in 2 companies
  • Legal questions regarding signatures on the eCMR are clarified by the Legal Product Owner
  • Agree on a governance model for the blockchain components
  • Present and discuss eCMR solution with national authorities
  • Obtain feedback from pilot implementation for possible improvements
  • Connect more stakeholders to the test network
  1. Pilot for the cross-platform exchange of eCMRs
  2. Pilot for one platform with several guest exchanging eCMRs
  3. Define and implement basic functionalities for a common open source solution

More time at hand?

Listen to the BVL Podcast episode (#135) on the topic of eCMR. Andreas Nettsträter and Ingo Müller talk about the importance of “Open Source in Logistics and Supply Chain”.

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Project details

Working Group
Electronic Transport Documents

Project started
October 2022

Status
in progress

Project lead

Ingo Müller
Department Head Prototyping & Testing
DACHSER SE

Jonas Kassan
Team Lead Global Project Management Office & EDI
Rhenus SE & Co.KG

Maintainer

Maximilian Schellert
Fraunhofer IML

Patrick Becker
Fraunhofer IML

Regular Meeting:

every Friday from 11:00 – 12:00

Meeting with a legal focus:

every first Friday of the month from 14:00 -15:00 (the earlier appointment is cancelled on this day)

If you are interested to see how we work in the working groups you can visit one of the regular meetings. Please contact us and we will help you with further information.