A significant step has been made towards transport digitalisation with the first eTIR pilot movements between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Trucks from Tashkent carrying household electrical items crossed the border into Kazakhstan, with customs authorities from both countries successfully handling the transit guarantees. This marks a milestone in a regional trade facilitation project led by IRU, with support from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), customs authorities and IRU members in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan - KAZATO and AIRCUZ.
Other countries in the region have expressed their interest in joining eTIR pilots, with a view to boosting trade and improving the resilience of supply chains. Driving digitalisation to facilitate road transport is particularly important to transform landlocked Central Asian countries into land-linked territories, with greater access to seaports and global markets. The use of eTIR in Central Asia will streamline border-crossing procedures, cutting transport times and costs for operators. The paperless nature of the system reduces physical contact between drivers and customs officials, facilitating compliance with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Hauliers participating in eTIR pilots also appreciate the fact that many procedures can be handled remotely without the need to go to an office of their local TIR association. IRU is working to support the wider implementation of eTIR, which has been recognised by the UN Secretary General as a vital tool to boost trade during and following the pandemic. Pilots play an important role in the long-term implementation of the system, ensuring that lessons are learned from practical testing in a variety of environments and situations.