Introduction to TIR
For over 70 years, IRU has driven economic growth, prosperity and safety.
Today, it stands as the global leader in road transport, trade and transit facilitation, representing the interests of more than 3.5 million transport operators in over 80 countries.
At its inception in 1948, IRU’s goal was to breathe new life into the war-torn trade and commercial links across Europe by facilitating transit of people and goods. To that effect, it formed an alliance of national passenger and freight road transport associations from eight European countries, which ensured the industry’s representation at the then newly created United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, tasked with putting in place the legal frameworks for a new, post-war Europe.
In the context of unstable borders and fragile geopolitical relationships, lay the need for a solution to re-establish inter-European trade, to help economies and communities recover.
IRU addressed this need by creating TIR – a customs transit system enabling goods to flow across borders.
The idea was to make trade easier and faster by allowing goods to be shipped from a country of origin, through transit countries, to a country of destination in sealed load compartments controlled by customs in a multilateral, mutually recognised manner.
Recognised for its leadership position in road transport, trade and transit facilitation, IRU was mandated by the UN to administer TIR, which has over the last 70 years developed into the only globally applicable international customs transit and guarantee system.
77 Contracting Parties now use TIR, with approximately one million TIR carnets issued every year to over 10,000 transport and logistics companies and 80,000 trucks operating under the system across the world on a monthly basis.
Today, trucks operating under a TIR carnet use one single international guarantee from a journey’s start to finish – even for intermodal transports. It is an easy, secure and reliable way to move goods across borders, be it straightforward bilateral transports between neighbouring countries or more complex multi-border journeys.
What’s next ?
Over the next generation, road transport is set to increase significantly, providing both alternative and complementary options to rail, air and sea freight solutions. TIR will be one of the key enablers of this development, and a cornerstone of a clean and sustainable road transport network long into the future. As its administrator, IRU will continue, in partnership with the UN, the work of bringing on board new contracting parties to expand its base of knowledge and scope of action. IRU remains, with more than 70 years of experience in mobility and logistics, the global expert in border crossing.
“The TIR system offers a solution for harmonised processes at borders across the region and we should now see cross border transport and transit become much more streamlined and secured.”
Director General Transit Trade, Pakistan Customs
Ready to join TIR?
Questions? Other requests? Get in touch with our TIR department