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TIR old truck history

How TIR works

TIR enables goods to transit from a country of origin to a country of destination in sealed load compartments that are controlled by customs via a multilateral, mutually recognised system.

History of TIR 

IRU launched the TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) system in the late 1940s, helping a war-torn Europe to rebuild devastated trade and commercial links. By 1959, the success of the system led to the United Nations TIR Convention, still in place today with more than 70 contracting parties – including nations and multinational bodies.

Five main actors 


UNECE (The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) oversees the application of the TIR Convention. UN TIR bodies composed of the contracting parties consider any proposed amendments, examine national measures for compliance and provide support in the application of the convention.


As the world road transport organisation, IRU manages the TIR international guarantee chain, distributes TIR guarantees through its member associations, and oversees IT and administration processes. IRU also develops new and innovative resources and services that work with and alongside TIR to facilitate trade and goods transport.

Customs authorities

Customs authorities implement TIR at national level, including border controls, approvals of national TIR operators and vehicles. They can also contribute to amendments to the TIR Convention.

National TIR guaranteeing associations

An authorised association in each country issues TIR guarantees to approved transport operators. Associations work with their national customs authority to settle any irregularity arising in their territory.

Transport and logistics companies

After being approved by their member association and customs, transport and logistics companies can purchase guarantees and start making TIR transports.

TIR training 

Thousands of drivers, shippers, transport managers and customs officials use TIR every day. IRU’s training team provides a range of services designed for associations, companies and authorities using TIR.

Whether you’re a TIR road transport association, customs official or a transport operator using a TIR guarantee, IRU will help you gain the right knowledge and ensure you’re working to the required standards.

Ready to join TIR?

Questions? Other requests? Get in touch with our TIR department