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Eurasia | Geneva

TIR and trade digitalisation top Eurasia’s transport connectivity agenda

16 May 2023 · Prosperity

IRU's Liaison Committee to Eurasia (CLEA) brought together members from across the region to discuss the latest trends, challenges and opportunities facing transport and logistics.

At a physical meeting in Geneva on the eve of IRU’s General Assembly and special 75th anniversary event, CLEA members addressed the latest situation along traditional and evolving routes as trade and transport links continue to be impacted by the war in Ukraine.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, freight flows through traditional routes have fallen by 50%, while increasing by just as much along evolving transit corridors – or even doubling in some areas.

Digitalising trade

CLEA members are strongly advocating for a swift digitalisation of trade and transit documents.

Several countries have already shown concrete progress in digitalising TIR processes and establishing TIR Green Lanes.

TIR Green Lanes (express lanes at border crossings), which can cut border crossing times from 2-3 days to 8-9 hours, optimise transit flows with strong risk management mechanisms, and elevate transit security and digitalisation to a new level.

The TIR system, a key topic at all CLEA meetings, continues to play an important role in facilitating trade and transport, while maintaining the security and transparency of cross-border shipments. The CLEA region accounts for nearly half of all global TIR issuances.

The region is also rapidly growing in e-CMR accessions, with Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan being the latest countries to join the e-CMR Protocol, steering closer to fully digital transport operations with electronic consignment notes.

Over 75% of countries in the CLEA region are landlocked, easing transit with facilitated border-crossing procedures and increasing the average speed of transport along major corridors are key to supporting trade within Eurasia. 

Joint action plan with think tank

The access of Eurasia’s landlocked countries to global markets depends on transit through neighbouring countries. 

To help CLEA countries overcome geographical constraints and improve transport connectivity, CLEA members unanimously adopted the 2023-2024 Joint Action Plan between IRU’s Liaison Committee to Eurasia and the International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries (ITTLLDC).

ITTLLDC, based in Mongolia and established by the Multilateral Agreement for the Establishment of an International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries, is supported by a UN General Assembly resolution.

Driver shortages

CLEA members also discussed the preliminary results of the 2023 IRU driver shortage survey, as well as best practices to retain drivers and improve the image of the profession.

About CLEA

The Liaison Committee to Eurasia, also known by its French acronym, CLEA, focuses on the promotion of TIR, sustainable transport, infrastructure development and transport links between Europe and Asia, bringing together industry leaders, professionals and experts from IRU members in the region.