The China-Russia pilot trade caravan has achieved its objective to successfully test the 2,200km overland trade route between China, Mongolia and Russia, ahead of the upcoming implementation of the TIR System in China.
It completed its journey in Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Russian Federal Republic of Buryatia, where the caravan was warmly welcomed at a closing ceremony by the Deputy Transport Minister of the Buryat government and delegations from Russia, China and Mongolia.
The pilot caravan was an important milestone in preparations for the implementation of TIR in China, which will facilitate trade between Asia and Europe. The world’s only universal customs transit system, TIR has been in operation in Russia for over 30 years and in Mongolia for more than 10 years.
China’s recent ratification of the UN TIR Convention will significantly increase the potential volume of international trade in the region and provide new trade routes with access to the sea for Mongolia and other landlocked areas in Russia and Central Asia.
The caravan, organised by the transport ministries of the three countries and supported by IRU, comprised of nine trucks travelling together over the so-called ancient tea route.
A roundtable in Ulan-Ude at the end of the journey brought together over 80 participants from public authorities and business to evaluate the caravan and to plan ahead for future cooperation between the three countries.
Increased collaboration and information exchange between China, Mongolia and Russia on customs, administration, transport and technical needs will help continue the necessary harmonisation in transport regulations and processes that IRU has long championed to improve mobility, trade and economic development.
It was agreed at the roundtable that the trade route is already operational and adequate for future TIR transits. Some improvements in road infrastructure in certain areas were identified and would be improved. Launching a working group comprised of representatives from the three governments and possibly private sectors would help to further develop communities and economies along the route.
Dmitry Cheltsov, who leads IRU’s work in Eurasia, highlighted during the roundtable that “IRU will work closely with the Chinese government to help make TIR operational there, supporting new efficient and faster transport routes between China, Russia and Europe.”
Pengcheng Qu, who leads IRU’s work in China and South East Asia, said “TIR has been used for more than 60 years in many countries and has been proven to reduce transit time transport considerably. We look forward to seeing these benefits in China and its regional trade partners.”