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Computerization of the TIR customs transit procedure to enhance efficiency and transparency of global transport of goods

Published: 06 October 2017

The computerization of the customs transit procedure under the TIR Convention will boost international transport and trade by improving the efficiency and security of customs procedures through enhanced data management.

The full transition to an electronic TIR customs transit procedure will be supported by a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further strengthen cooperation between UNECE and the International Road Transport Union (IRU), signed today. 

The TIR Convention (1975), which facilitates the transport of goods between countries, is the only global customs transit system in existence. Hosted by UNECE, it has 71 Contracting Parties covering the whole of Europe, and reaches out to Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. The TIR Convention is expanding rapidly, with Pakistan, China and India, home to almost 40% of the world population, acceding to the Convention within the last two years alone.

The MoU builds on two successful bilateral “eTIR” pilots; between Georgia-Turkey and between Turkey and -Iran (Islamic Republic of), undertaken from 2015 to February 2017.  

UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova welcomed the MoU, stating that "the computerization of the TIR system will enhance the speed, efficiency and transparency of the TIR customs transit procedure. Increasing interest in the TIR Convention means more and more countries will benefit from these improvements. Through this MoU, UNECE and IRU reaffirm their commitment to a common vision for the long term sustainability of the TIR system."

The Secretary General of IRU, Umberto de Pretto, commented, “We look forward to a strengthened partnership with UNECE on expanding and upgrading the TIR system to improve trade and spur economic growth, with further eTIR pilot projects and regular coordination on the use of digital transport, customs and transit tools.”

The MoU will support the hosting of an international platform for the secure exchange of TIR related data between customs authorities (the “TIR international system”). It will also assist countries in the computerization of the TIR procedure at the national level, and allow transport operators to submit data electronically to the competent authorities. The MoU is accompanied by a Contribution Agreement, according to which IRU will contribute more than 1.5 million US$ over the next five years.

The MoU also establishes an agreement on financing activities  towards the computerization of the TIR procedure through a public-private partnership, detailing yearly work plans and expected achievements.

Objectives for 2018 include facilitating the participation of interested customs administrations, scaling up pilot projects, and the introduction of the full synchronisation of IRU/UNECE databases.

Note to editors

The computerization of the TIR system will ensure the secure exchange of data between national customs systems related to the international transit of goods, vehicles or containers according to the provisions of the TIR Convention. It will also allow customs to manage the data on guarantees, issued by guarantee chains, to holders authorized to use the TIR system.

In addition to replacing the current international functions of the paper TIR Carnet (i.e. the proof of existence of an international guarantee and the exchange of information between customs administrations), the computerized system will provide further benefits such as the systematic availability of advanced information that would allow stakeholders to conduct risk assessments prior to the arrival of cargo. This automation will speed up the TIR procedure and allow all actors to significantly reduce their administrative burden and maximize the benefits of integrated supply chain management. Additionally, the exchange of customs information in a secure environment will prevent false submission of customs declarations.

The Turkey-Iran “eTIR” pilot tested a fully computerized TIR system along one transport corridor, involving four customs offices. The pilot project was conducted during the period from December 2015 to February 2017, during which time 84 electronic TIR guarantees were issued and 64 computerized TIR transports were successfully conducted. 


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