About the CMR, Application of the CMR-Convention

“CMR” is the abbreviation of the French title for the “Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road”. This convention is an international treaty, which has the status of a law in Austria. That means that the convention has been incorporated into the Austrian legal system through an official announcement.

The scope of application of the convention is, pursuant to Art. 1(1) CMR, deemed to have been introduced if contracts on the carriage of goods on the street using vehicles for a fee (e.g. contracts of carriage or freight “forwarding contracts pursuant to Sec. 412 or Sec. 413 Austrian Enterprise Code (UGB)”) have been concluded and the location where the goods are accepted and the place of delivery specified in the contract are in two different countries, in regard to which at least one of said countries must be a contracting party of the CMR.

Art.1(2) CMR explicitly establishes what is to be understood by the term “vehicle”. “Vehicles” within the meaning of the CMR means motor vehicles, articulated lorries, trailers and semi-trailers.

Article 1
1. This Convention shall apply to every contract for the carriage of goods by road in vehicles for reward, when
the place of taking over of the goods and the place designated for delivery, as specified in the contract, are
situated in two different countries, of which at least one is a Contracting country, irrespective of the place of
residence and the nationality of the parties.
2. For the purposes of this Convention, ”vehicles” means motor vehicles, articulated vehicles, trailers and semitrailers as defined in article 4 of the Conventions on Road Traffic dated 19th September 1949.
3. This Convention shall apply also where carriage coming within its scope is carried out by States or by
governmental institutions or organizations.
4. This Convention shall not apply:
a) to carriage performed under the terms of any international postal convention;
b) to funeral consignments;
c) to furniture removal.
5. The Contracting Parties agree not to vary any of the provisions of this Convention by special agreements
between two or more of them, except to make it inapplicable to their frontier traffic or to authorise the use
in transport operations entirely confined to their territory of consignment notes representing a title to the
goods.

The meaning and purpose of the CMR is to uniformly regulate the international transport of goods on the streets of the contracting states. In this way, the conditions of carriage, liability and enforcement of rights share a common legal basis. For that reason, the CMR is termed a so-called “uniform law”. This means that the provisions of the CMR are, where possible, to be interpreted based on the Convention itself. The aim of uniform regulation is ultimately not supposed to be contradicted by a too extensive influence of national laws. Nonetheless, it may not be concluded that the CMR is interpreted in the same way in every contracting state where it comes into effect. This legal opinion is also held by the Austrian Supreme Court (OGH).

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