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Facilitated and Seamless International Road Transport Drives Trade and Economic Development
Statement by Martin Marmy, Secretary General, International Road Transport Union (IRU)
Road transport is instrumental in interconnecting every business in every region to every major world market through its high quality, flexible and unique door-to-door services. It is the backbone of strong economies and dynamic societies, drives trade, creates employment and ensures a better distribution of wealth.
Growth in BRIC countries directly results from innovation and investment in production tools, and in particular in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), such as road transport companies, that generate some 85% of employment.
Policies from OECD and EU countries differ in that they increasingly restrict the activities of SMEs and the road transport industry with new regulatory and fiscal burdens. Governments of OECD countries must recognise that the further facilitation of international road transport, hence trade, is key to restoring and expediting economic growth in 2012, as it has been the case in BRIC countries.
In the spirit of public-private partnership, and based on its 60 years of well appreciated experience, the IRU has provided tried and tested effective solutions for facilitating international road transport, such as the revitalisation of seamless trade along the Silk Road through the development of international road transport. It should be known that while several countries are landlocked to sea transport, NO country is landlocked to international road transport!
Launched in 2008, the IRU’s New Eurasian Land Transport Initiative (NELTI) Project has been monitoring the commercial deliveries of goods by truck on various itineraries along the Silk Road. The results show a competitive potential for the development of trade on the NELTI routes, but highlight that over 40% of transport time along the Silk Road is lost at borders due to inappropriate procedures.
Streamlining these customs procedures can be easily achieved by simply ratifying and effectively implementing the key UN multilateral trade and road transport facilitation instruments, in particular the Harmonization and TIR Conventions.
The facilitation and security provided by these UN global conventions is further complemented by, on the one hand, the IRU Border Waiting Times Observatory (BWTO), an IRU web-based application enabling customs authorities to report on waiting times at their borders, free of charge, anywhere in the world and, on the other hand, by the IT TIR risk management tools, such as TIR Electronic Pre-Declarations (IRU TIR-EPD) and Real Time SafeTIR (RTS) developed by the IRU in fruitful partnership with the national Customs authorities of more than 25 countries.
These tools simplify customs formalities at borders by improving trade security while reducing waiting times by ensuring that customs procedures take place at origin and destination as called for in the Harmonization Convention. These effective facilitation tools, based on UN Conventions, can be applied not only on NELTI routes, but everywhere on continents where trade and international road transport operators are confronted with the same barriers affecting global trade and economic growth.
By effectively implementing the key UN Conventions, which have proven to be effective in numerous regions for more than 50 years, and according to the IRU’s motto “working together for a better future”, we can drive progress, prosperity and ultimately peace throughout the world!