Each day, distributors who want to deliver their goods to plants, supermarkets or construction sites use the services of freight forwarders. Such forwarding companies deliver thousands of cargos to specified addresses. Small deliveries as well as full loads reach the ordering parties only and solely due to exceptionally precise mechanisms. Forwarding companies must pay attention to the smallest details so that we can efficiently receive our orders and accept them in perfect condition. One such detail is a waybill. It would be hard to manage deliveries without this small document.

Waybill as an addition to a contract

A carriage contract contains all necessary data referring to cargo. It specifies weight, amount, information on the type of goods, measures applied to secure the cargo, etc. If the contract includes all relevant details, the ordering party can expect trouble-free fulfillment of the order.
A waybill is only an addition to the above document, yet a very substantial one. It provides information on the point of loading, unloading, weight and a contact person. If you have no experience with issuing a waybill, you can always count on the driver’s advice and do it properly with their help.

Waybill as a confirmation of a contract’s conclusion

A waybill is usually drawn up in four copies. It may seem like a lot. However, one must remember that the document constitutes a confirmation of a contract’s conclusion for each party. One copy, the so called duplicate, stays with the ordering party. The next three copies should be handed over to a driver – a set comprises an original, a shelfback and a cargo load list – these are later provided to the consignor and the consignee, and the last one stays with the driver.
Electronic waybills are gaining popularity, thus guaranteeing permanent access to the document, which can be sent electronically to a given address at any time.

Waybill and international carriage

Each shipment abroad must bear an international waybill (CMR).  It provides a customs service with grounds for appropriate inspection and enables charging a fee on a cargo’s value. However, the waybill is not enough and the consignor is still obliged to attach all documents necessary to complete customs formalities. The document must inform that transport is subject to convention on the international carriage of goods. It may also contain carriage-related regulations, e.g. ban on handling, assumed by the consignor, declared value of goods, carriage completion date, amount to be collected upon release of goods, costs, consignee’s instructions for the carrier concerning the freight’s insurance.

Changes in the waybill’s content

Amending the content of a waybill requires great caution. First, a driver should be excluded from a list of persons allowed to make such changes. In some countries it may be treated as a crime or at the very least a petty offense. This protects cargo against theft. A driver could use their right to modify a CMR waybill and introduce false information stating that particular goods were in fact missing from the very beginning. Therefore, one can say that a waybill has a sacred value in transport. Changes may be introduced only by a loader or a consignee and only if the information provided on a waybill differ from the factual state. The CMR document confirms the state of load at each stage of transport. That is why it is so important.

CMR: all in one

The CMR document is an indispensable element of national and international transport organization. It confirms that the forwarder delivered cargo according to contractual arrangements. Ordering party, consignee and driver sign the document to confirm the state of cargo. It is difficult to control the cargo without relevant signatures. In case any discrepancies arise, a driver should immediately inform a forwarder thereof. If a driver fails to provide such information, a forwarder and a client will learn about any deficiencies only when a driver delivers the document. By then, it may be impossible to remedy anything.

Each party should learn about the CMR document, what it refers to and what laws apply to it. Such a multi-functional document, handed over from one person to another, must be strictly regulated. Otherwise, the absence of any regulations would allow for easy manipulation with cargo and theft. A good forwarding company reminds the drivers to double check the CMRs.