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The future of TIR is digital

The future of TIR is digital

The new legal framework for the full digitalisation of the TIR system (the so-called eTIR) entered into force on 25 May 2021, opening eTIR to 77 countries across five continents.

This landmark change allows for completely paperless cross-border transit of goods, under the customs guarantee of the TIR system.

The eTIR international system (customs to customs) will ensure the secure exchange of data about the international transit of goods, vehicles or containers according to the provisions of the TIR Convention between national customs systems and allow customs to manage the data on guarantees, issued by the guarantee chain to holders authorised to use the TIR system.

For more than 70 years, TIR has made trade faster, easier and more secure. The legal framework for digitalisation – the new Annex 11 of the United Nations TIR Convention – will reinforce and expand TIR benefits for global multimodal trade.

As global trade gradually transitions to using digital solutions, eTIR represents a unique solution for the 21st century - by harnessing new technologies, it has the capacity to help digitalise road and intermodal transport.

Originally designed as a paper-based solution, the TIR system now offers fully digital capacities, making international freight transits even faster, more efficient and more secure. 

A number of TIR IT tools are available allowing transport operators, IRU and national associations to exchange data with customs, provide advance cargo information and track TIR-related matters such as the guarantee and claims procedure status.   

Functioning on a real-time basis, these digital TIR tools enable multidirectional data exchange between TIR stakeholders and provide a robust and secure communication platform for all parties involved in TIR transports—helping to promote trade, boost economic growth and make communities stronger.

The high level of TIR digitalisation is paving the way for the transition to eTIR.

Watch the video below to learn more about our fully eTIR pilot project:

TIR IT tools

The TIR IT tools in use offer full digital capability and enable multidirectional data exchanges between TIR stakeholders, including TIR transport operators, associations, customs’ IT systems and IRU.

Various messages are exchanged throughout the process with the use of the TIR IT tools by the TIR stakeholders to ensure real-time management and logging of TIR transports. They provide a robust and secure communication platform for all parties involved.

Customs IT systems

Almost all customs administrations use IT systems, including the TIR Customs Portal, to manage their procedures and exchange information in real-time with fellow national agencies, with trade actors or with international partners (customs or organisations such as UNECE or IRU).


TIR Electronic Pre-Declarations (TIR-EPD), developed by IRU, enable TIR operators to send advance cargo information and exchange messages with multiple customs authorities throughout a TIR transport, in full respect of all national customs requirements and the format of information to be submitted. This application is used widely by transport operators and their representatives. It saves border waiting time and reduces transport operator costs, while allowing customs to do proper risk assessment.

Real-Time SafeTIR

The Real-Time SafeTIR system (RTS), developed by IRU, allows customs officers to verify the status and validity of each TIR guarantee at any moment in real-time. Besides the status, the tool provides information to customs concerning the holder and the name of the TIR guarantee issuing association, as well as a wide scope of customs messages already exchanged by other customs throughout the transport. It is an effective risk management tool in the automation of the customs routine related to TIR operations.

Furthermore, thanks to RTS, information confirming the proper termination of TIR operations is made available quickly and electronically to all stakeholders involved.


AskTIRWeb is the IRU online tool for use by TIR national associations for managing TIR related matters such as issuing guarantees, claims procedure, reconciliation procedure, or the management of TIR transport operators and their vehicles and permits.

The full life cycle of a TIR guarantee, from its issuance by IRU to its termination, is digitised and controlled in real-time with the use of TIR IT tools.

Benefits for hauliers

Benefits for associations

Benefits for customs

Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, UNECE

“The digitalisation of the TIR system will enhance the speed, efficiency and transparency of the TIR customs transit procedure. UNECE, IRU, the TIR Contracting Parties and the private sector all recognise this potential.”

Olga Algayerova

Executive Secretary, UNECE

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