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IRU - International Road Transport Union
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About the TIR System

‘TIR’ stands for Transports Internationaux Routiers (International Road Transport) and is an international harmonised system of Customs control that facilitates trade and transport whilst effectively protecting the revenue of each Country through which goods are carried.

What is the TIR System?

‘TIR’ stands for Transports Internationaux Routiers (International Road Transport) and is an international Customs transit system. TIR is the only universal transit system that allows the goods to transit from a country of origin to a country of destination in sealed load compartments with Customs control recognition along the supply chain. This minimises administrative and financial burdens and Customs duties and taxes that may become due are covered by an international guarantee.

Origin

The TIR system was created to facilitate trade and transport whilst implementing an international harmonised system of Customs control that effectively protects the revenue of each Country through which goods are carried.

In 1949, shortly after World War II, the first TIR Agreement was concluded between a small number of European countries and led to the elaboration of the TIR Convention in 1954 under the umbrella of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

TIR system today

At the beginning of 2010 the TIR System has 68 Contracting Parties (including the European Union) on four continents. Many more countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America have demonstrated their interest in acceding to the system in the near future (See TIR geographical coverage).

Over the past 10 years the number of TIR Carnets issued per year was around 3 million.

The TIR System has proved to be extremely successful and is the only global Customs transit system in existence. This popularity can be explained by the special features of the TIR regime, which offers transport operators and Customs authorities a simple, flexible, cost-effective and secure system for the international transport of goods across frontiers.

In summary TIR is the materialisation of the multilateral approach:

  • Access to 58 TIR operational countries
  • Management of a low cost, high value guarantee
  • Intermodality
  • Security in the supply chain
  • Reduced delays and costs for the international transit of goods
  • Trade facilitation: goods move across international borders with minimum interference
  • Encouragement of international trade
  • Economic benefits for individuals and nations

What is TIR

What is TIR?

For a simple introduction to the TIR System, the IRU has developed TIR Information Leaflets in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Farsi, Chinese and Turkish. 

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