Consignment notes

18. 05. 2022

A consignment note accompanies every consignment on its journey and ensures that it is transported in an orderly manner. We explain here why this document is so important and how it changes over time.   

A consignment note is on board for every freight transport service:

  • It documents the contents of the consignment, provides proof that the carrier has received the goods and that they have been delivered to their destination as scheduled.
  • In rail freight transport, a railway consignment note confirms that the carrier, i.e. the railway undertaking, has collected the freight for transport aboard a freight train.

The internationally standardised "CIM consignment note", which international railway undertakings have agreed on, has been in use since 2006. In addition to providing evidence that the goods have been properly dispatched or have reached their destination, one particular copy of the consignment note includes a right of disposition for the consignor to halt the goods, to return them or to hand them over to another consignee. This right expires when the goods have been handed over to the consignee upon arrival at the destination.

e-frachtbrief@ on the rise

Even consignment notes have arrived in the digital age: the paper document is gradually being replaced by its electronic counterpart. At RCG, we have predominantly been using the electronic transport document produced by the e-frachtbrief@ application in national and bilateral transportation since 2008. There are some exceptions in situations involving things such as customs, hazardous goods and accompanying documents. The electronic note benefits the environment in particular: In 2021 alone, almost 35 tonnes of paper were saved. This results in a saving of about two million litres of water and about 187 kWh of energy. The reduced paper consumption also prevents a forest the size of a football field from being deforested. 

Eco-friendly and economical

The paperless consignment note also offers economic advantages: Alongside the cost savings, we – and ultimately our customers – benefit from a significant reduction in the amount of bureaucracy involved. Because all stations involved in the transport of goods are also recorded electronically, we are able to provide our customers and partners with real-time information about the status of their consignments.