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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


Restructure Project Setup

Authentication / user management based on interface

Updating the signing process

Guest Access

Operativ use of the eCMR on the first lines across several platforms and externals (guests)

Trust & security model

Ensure legal compliance

Onboarding of new members

@ iStock

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

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”.


Project news

Project details

Working Group
Electronic Transport Documents

Project started
October 2022

in progress

Project lead

Ingo Müller
Department Head Prototyping & Testing

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


Maximilian Schellert
Fraunhofer IML

Patrick Becker
Fraunhofer IML

Regular Meeting:

every Friday from 11:00 – 12:00

Meeting with a legal focus:

every four weeks 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.