Schengen visas, digitalisation, decarbonisation and the TIR system topped the agenda today as IRU’s Secretary General and the President of IRU member the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye (TOBB) reviewed road transport facilitation challenges and opportunities.
Türkiye sits at the heart of east-west trade. This has never been more true than today, with the war in Ukraine having significantly shifted east-west trade to routes south of the Black Sea.
IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto and TOBB President, Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, started their meeting by underscoring the critical role of road transport and drivers, the unsung heroes of the road, in trade and economic prosperity.
Umberto de Pretto and Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu also agreed on concrete action to advance the implementation of TIR and its IT toolset in Türkiye and neighbouring countries, including Iran and the latest party to accede to the TIR Convention, Iraq.
Turkish operators, which were instrumental in the recent devastating earthquake that rocked the country, are also working to comply with challenging decarbonisation policies and digitalisation trends.
Umberto de Pretto and Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu further reaffirmed that the industry needs to be a leader in the transition phase and turn digitalisation and decarbonisation challenges into business opportunities by applying tailored solutions such as eTIR, eco-trucks, driver training, e-CMR, e-Permits, and e-Visas.
The bureaucratic hurdles of the Schengen visa system are a major issue for Turkish transport companies and drivers.
The process is both lengthy and costly, especially for the majority of road transport companies which are small and medium-sized companies with razor thin margins.
Driver visa challenges severely undermine trade and economic prosperity. IRU will strengthen its actions at the international level to significantly improve the situation.
Umberto de Pretto and Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu concluded their meeting by exploring the potential of hosting an IRU 75th anniversary regional event, as well as activities related to the first UN World Sustainable Transport Day.