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Digitalise to boost Central Asian connectivity, IRU stresses at UN forum

28 Nov 2023 · Prosperity

IRU’s TIR and Transit Director has urged Central Asian countries to accelerate the digitalisation of transport and trade to better manage the growing volumes of goods flowing through the region.

Ever-growing trade volumes along Trans-Caspian corridors demand greater digitalisation, IRU stressed at the recent expert-level United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The Forum, “Transforming the SPECA Region into a Connectivity Hub with Global Outreach”, explored the rising significance of connectivity along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor (Middle Corridor) in light of new challenges and opportunities.

IRU Director of TIR and Transit Tatiana Rey-Bellet said, “The region is bursting with untapped potential. Despite the growing number of trade hubs in Central Asia, we are only scratching the surface. With increasing volumes of goods transiting the region, it’s becoming a necessity to accelerate the digitalisation of trade in the region. That’s how we can transform the region into a connectivity hub with global outreach.

“Digitalisation doesn’t only facilitate trade; it makes it more secure and transparent. We already have the tools. It’s just a matter of implementing them. TIR is one such tool, ensuring harmonisation and boosting the efficiency and security of trade. eTIR takes the benefits even further.”  

TIR is supported by existing digital mechanisms and IT tools which connect private sector actors and allow operators to send advance cargo information to customs for risk management. 

“As the next and immediate step, all countries in the SPECA region need to complete interconnection with the eTIR system,” added Tatiana Rey-Bellet.

As a result of the Forum, participants will help prepare a set of conclusions and expert-level recommendations on how to transform the SPECA region into a digital and sustainable trade and transport hub with global outreach, delivering on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Current SPECA participating countries are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Digitalise to boost Central Asian connectivity, IRU stresses at UN forum