Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, last week hosted the Eurasian Economic Forum for the first time. This major regional event, bringing together over 2,500 attendees, had an ambitious agenda with 35 sessions, panels and round tables covering various economic subjects, with transport as a core focus.
IRU joined transport ministers and deputy ministers from the region, as well as the Eurasian Development Bank and business leaders, to discuss challenges and opportunities for better connectivity across Eurasia.
IRU outlined the impact of trade and transport disruptions in the region as well as evolving corridors connecting south and north, east and west. Business driven initiatives are ready to operationalise new routes. Governments should therefore prepare new corridors to carry more trade volumes by leveraging facilitation based on security, such as the TIR system.
Moreover, with COVID-related emergency measures gradually being relaxed around the globe, IRU continues to call on countries to reopen their borders and relaunch smooth cross-border operations.
IRU’s emergency resolution on powering road transport, recently adopted by members, as well as key findings of the IRU global survey on driver shortage were also presented. Soaring fuel prices pose an acute challenge for transport companies. Operating on very low margins, road transport operators must pass on increased costs to users, or risk bankruptcy.
Participants broadly supported IRU’s Green Compact and its decarbonisation pillars, provided the countries have full access to the latest innovative fuel efficiency technology. IRU also gave an update on progress regarding e-CMR and digital TIR in the region, both helping reduce physical contacts and streamline border crossings. There was a strong consensus to intensify efforts at the national level to accede to the e-CMR protocol.