The UK government has ratified the Electronic Customer Relationship Management (e-CRM) protocol, allowing national and international transports from and to the UK to be achieved with digital consignment notes.

The agreement comes after a successful international pilot project with Dutch e-CRM platform TransFollow, West Yorkshire-based haulier Brian Yeardley Continental under the supervision of the UK Ministry of Transport and industry associations such as the FTA.

By agreeing to the protocol, the UK will allow the use of e-CMRs as 'a fully-accepted alternative to paper consignment notes for national and international transports'.

The digitalisation of the consignment note allows users to increase supply chain visibility with real-time insights for all business partners and continuous status updates of the e-CMR, TransFollow said.

It also aims to reduce the time spent on administrating and archiving each document, saving administrative costs and offering further optimisation of the supply chain.

“With the ratification of the e-CMR protocol by Portugal in September, the UK is the 24th country to sign, enlarging the area to use digital consignment notes and adding important players to the potential digital network," explained Hans Lip, international sales manager at TransFollow.

"International companies, especially from the Netherlands, who are currently seen as front runners on using digital consignment notes, can start on digitising transports with yet another country straight away.”

Lip added that domestic and international users would profit from simplified processes in border-crossing transports within and outside of the EU. The TransFollow e-CMR can, for example be used as reliable proof on intra-community transports to apply the VAT zero tax rate and other administrative tasks occurring on international movement.