A Carrier’s Responsibilities and Liabilities Under CMR


What is CMR and the meaning behind its existence? The CMR note is the key document for road transport throughout Europe. It acts as a standard contract between the relevant parties: the sender, forwarder, and receiver. If you are a carrier, make sure you’re fluent in your responsibilities and liabilities as defined under the CMR Convention.

Carrier’s Responsibilities

A carrier needs to check and confirm that the details on the CMR note accurately denote the condition of the goods transported. This means checking on the number of packages, their contents, and even their packaging. Should there be any doubt leading to the carrier being unable to confirm the accuracy of the CMR note, a note goes into the “Reservations” column. If that column is empty, it means that the goods are in full and good condition.

If the carrier cannot carry out the contract according to the CMR note, they will request for instructions from the party with the right of disposal (sender or receiver). If no instructions arrive within a reasonable time, the carrier has the right to sell the goods. 

Carrier’s Liabilities

Under CMR, the meaning of the carrier’s liabilities is clear. It’s liable for delay and damages or loss to the goods, whether partial or total, between the time of collection and delivery. However, if the carrier is able to prove that the loss, damage, or delay was due to an act or omission by the carrier, the liability will transfer to another party.

The carrier is also not liable under certain circumstances, including where the sender is at fault and when the goods or packaging contain existing defects.

Each Party Is Liable and Responsible

The CMR Convention upholds the liability and responsibility of the parties involved. The beautiful thing about the CMR note is that it is standard across most of Europe, making it one of the most important documents in the shipping industry.


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