road transport and economic growth

Economy

Road Transport: a global economic driver

How does road transport contribute to the global economy?

This industry may not seem like an obvious economic driver but, without transport by road, manufacturers wouldn’t have products and components, consumers wouldn’t receive goods, and businesses wouldn’t be able to trade internationally. Road transport plays a vital role in world commerce.

Without road transport and a safe, seamless, secure way to transport goods around the world, economies would soon collapse. The world relies on road transport to carry fuel to service stations, to take goods to supermarkets, to fulfil our online orders, to enable far-flung businesses to connect with the world, and get their goods to global destinations.

As the world body for the transport industry, IRU’s core mandate is to facilitate road transport, but we also do much more than this:

  • We help new countries to trade by road. We work with governments and chambers of commerce to address issues around infrastructure, open up new trade routes and make it easier to travel from one country to another.

  • We know that emissions are a key concern in the global conversation around climate change, and we want road transport to be part of the solution, not the problem. We partner with manufacturers and transport operators to create the greenest possible vehicles and keep carbon emissions down.

  • We want the road transport industry to be synonymous with safe, knowledgeable drivers who can transport all kinds of goods around the world. We also want these drivers and cargo businesses to be free from threat, danger and corruption. This is why IRU is the first port of call for the driving community, offering courses on safety, cargo handling and eco-efficiency through the IRU Academy, and ensuring that the road transport industry is a key player in stamping out corruption.

Read about some specific initiatives led by IRU that significantly contribute to growing economies:

China to Europe – re-opening the Silk Road

IRU has been working very hard to reopen the ancient Silk Road: the 50,000 kilometres that connects Asia to Europe. This route would interconnect every business to every major world market and bring the world closer to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals on the Eurasian landmass. Opening up road networks in this vast region will also ease congestion at maritime ports and enable landlocked countries to enjoy significant economic growth – a key factor in bringing about greater political and social harmony.

  • Read about the ECO-IRU Silk Road Truck Caravan
    The Economic Cooperation Organization and IRU have joined forces to further develop Euro-Asian road transport and strengthen trade and economic cooperation within the region and with the rest of the world. Seven ECO member countries (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan) are supporting the ‘From Islamabad to Istanbul’ initiative. 

Because corruption harms commerce: Anti-Corruption Initiative

IRU works hand-in-hand with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) to spearhead the global Anti-Corruption Initiative. Corruption and illicit practices harm international trade and make it harder for national economies to develop. Corruption increases legal and operational uncertainty, and adds additional costs to the entire logistics chain and, ultimately, end user products. Due to the hugely negative economic and political consequences incurred through corruption, fighting these practices has become one of the priority issues for governments and international organisations.

The World Bank estimates that USD 1.6 trillion is lost globally each year through corruption

  • More data about corruption along the world’s major road transport corridors is available in our 2014 study, which we shared with the World Economic Forum and the G8 / G20 Groups. 

  • An example on how we tackle corruption and what our Members can do is explained in our case study on fighting corruption in Eurasia

  • What can you do? Join the Anti-Corruption Group and get informed on the United Nations Global Compact website.

Anti-corruption initiative video

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