What is CMR?

The CMR Convention was signed at Geneva in 1956 and has been ratified by most countries in Europe. It was enacted into UK statute by the Carriage of Goods by Road Act 1965 and is therefore imposed by law.

CMR applies to all movements of goods by a road vehicle which crosses international borders where at least one of the countries is a signatory to or has acceded to the convention.

The convention has to some extent provided unified regulations within Europe for international road transportation of goods. However, the interpretation of the convention and the decisions of the courts in different countries are not always the same. This has led to an increase in what is called 'forum shopping' or bringing an action in a country where the most favourable outcome may obtained.

It may sometimes be difficult for the goods owner to determine when or where the loss or damage has occurred, especially if more than one carrier is involved. For example, the first carrier may take a trailer carrying goods to a loading port or frontier and a second carrier collect the goods and trailer from the discharge port or frontier. Under CMR the goods owner may claim against the first carrier, the last carrier or the actual carrier responsible for the loss. An action may therefore be brought in the courts of a number of countries.

CMR applies when:

The following are excluded from the CMR convention:

The carrier is liable for:

The carrier is relieved of liability if, the loss or damage was caused by: