IRU and Partners to Enhance East-West Connectivity, Call for Sustainable Routes

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by KnowESG

As trade along the transcontinental Middle Corridor between Asia and Europe continues to grow, the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and other development partners are working to enhance east-west connectivity.

The Middle Corridor, which links China and Central Asia with the Caucasus, Turkey, and Europe via the Caspian Sea, is seeing a surge in trade despite the complex geopolitical environment, which is rapidly reshaping supply chains.

The TIR system is the foundation of the Middle Corridor, and IRU has been working with its members and customs authorities to optimise its effectiveness and security. IRU's transport operator network has proven its capacity to put new routes into operation and provide expanded services and opportunities to its customers.

In a seminar organised by the European Commission and involving IRU as an expert speaker, the EBRD presented a study on sustainable transport connections between Europe and Central Asia.

The study identifies the most sustainable corridors and recommends critical corridor development initiatives. It highlights the need for identifying sustainable corridors and investing more in "soft" solutions that can increase connectivity quickly without requiring "hard" infrastructure investment.

Tatiana Rey-Bellet, IRU’s Director of TIR and Transit, said: 

"While it’s hard to overestimate the importance of the Middle Corridor, the diversification of routes as well as an effective combination of transport modes is crucial for sustainable supply chains. 

“Partners from the public and private sectors need to work together to better support new connectivity and routes. It is important to fully mobilise international harmonised instruments, such as TIR and CMR, which are used in all countries along the Middle Corridor, to ensure the security and transparency of transit movements and reduce costs for businesses.”

Digitalising harmonised instruments, such as TIR, would also significantly improve the security and flow of goods. Dedicated green lanes at border crossings, relying on harmonised transit instruments, especially their digital equivalents, could handle the growing flow of goods without compromising security.

Source: IRU

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