With shifting trade routes increasing pressure on corridors crossing Central Asia and the Caucuses, IRU unpacked the challenges and solutions at a recent forum with the private and public sector.
The Middle Corridor – which connects China and Central Asia via the Caspian Sea with the Caucasus, Türkiye and Europe – is experiencing rapid growth in trade, as freight volumes have shifted from other corridors.
In 2022, the Middle Corridor experienced record growth in transit volumes, increasing by nearly threefold compared to 2021.
The growth in trade volumes is putting pressure on already congested borders, markedly slowing down cross-border transport operations.
IRU General Delegate Permanent Delegation to the Middle East and Region Erman Ereke outlined measures to streamline border crossings at the Organization of Turkic States’ Multimodal Transport and Logistics Forum, “Borders are not ready for such high volumes.
“During our visits to borders in the region, we saw firsthand all the challenges that transport companies and drivers tell us about every day: insufficient capacity, lack of joint control, repetitive and unnecessary customs controls, the list goes on. These lead to time losses, additional costs, and terrible working conditions for drivers who are stuck at borders for days.”
“We have tried-and-test solutions at our disposal, such as the TIR system. We need to use them to improve the situation at borders. The submission of advance cargo information with TIR-EPD and the use TIR Green Lanes make a big difference at borders,” he added.
Erman Ereke also emphasised the benefits of TIR digitalisation. “With the record growth of transit volumes along the Middle Corridor, it is becoming increasingly urgent to digitalise international transit to further improve the efficiency and security of trade and border crossings.”
“We are working with UNECE to accelerate the implementation of eTIR in the region. Moreover, eTIR should be accompanied by e-CMR, e-Visas, and e-Permits, all of which provide significant benefits and the ability to enhance the secure and transparent flow of goods,” he added.
“The lack of electronic truck queueing systems and safe and secure parking areas in the region are other common problems that we need to tackle right now. It’s also very important to remember that border investments need to be done jointly with neighbouring countries, with both sides working in coordination,” Erman Ereke concluded.
The Multimodal Transport and Logistics Forum, organized by the Organization of Turkic States in collaboration with TRACECA and leading transport and logistics companies, brought together 300 participants in Istanbul, Türkiye.