IRU Joins Forces with SCO to Drive Transport Digitalization Across Asia

Senior figures from Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) transport ministries, customs administrations, and national TIR and road transport associations met with IRU experts last month on road transport digitalization. 

With a primary focus on how the digitalization of commercial road transport documents can alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on transport and trade, the meeting counted participants from the eight SCO member states, including China, India and Russia, as well as ten other Asian and European countries.

Efforts to maintain the integrity of supply chains while limiting physzation in transport. Digital trade facilitation tools eTIR and e-CMR have received widespread recognition, including from the UN Secretary-General, for their key role in keeping goods moving during the pandemic.

“Digital tools such as eTIR and e-CMR help us to keep transport links open, while reducing physical contact at borders, so that essential goods including food and medical items can get to where they need to be,” said Umberto de Pretto, IRU secretary general.

Meeting participants also noted that TIR and eTIR, along with CMR and e-CMR, will smooth implementation of the agreement of SCO member states on international road transport facilitation.

A joint call with key recommendations was adopted at the meeting to digitalize commercial transport and customs documentation. The call to action is aimed at national governments and international organizations and recommends ratifying and making use of existing UN instruments, including the TIR and CMR conventions.

The recommendations also cover ensuring stable transport flows during emergencies by establishing green lanes for commercial vehicles, facilitating visa procedures and working towards the harmonization of weights and dimensions regulations.

“The recommendations drafted by IRU are very concrete and relevant to the current regional and global situation. We look forward to organising joint events on a regular basis to the benefit of transport and transit throughout the SCO region,” said Vladimir Norov SCO secretary general.

SCO member states include China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. SCO dialogue partners and observer states include Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cambodia, Iran, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.