IRU secretary general: we have the tools to drive post-Covid trade, let‘s use them

In News2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 21, 2020

IRU secretary general Umberto de Pretto participated in two World Free Zones Organization (World FZO) panels on logistics and customs management recently. In one discussion, he expressed his views on post-Covid road transport alongside UPS chairman David Abney, Accenture’s Freight and Logistics director Christopher Logan, and DP World’s CEO, Sultan Ahmmed Bin Sulayem.

The secretary general emphasised that digital advancement would be essential to comply with social distancing measures and mitigate the impact of health measures on border waiting times.

He offered IRU’s support to countries wishing to implement the eTIR system, which has been identified by the United Nations secretary general as a fundamental tool to facilitate trade during and following the pandemic.

“Flexibility, adaptability and the use of digital solutions will be key to survive and remain competitive,” said de Pretto.

Another discussion, with KGH’s Lars Karlsson, UNCTAD’s Poul Hansen and Saudi Customs’ Loay Mashabi, had more than 3000 participants from 154 countries and examined the transformation of customs and border management during the pandemic. All speakers stressed the importance of implementing the global tools already in place to drive trade.

TIR is one of these tools. Its use in Saudi Arabia has already reduced border crossing times to the UAE from two days to just four hours. Taking the system fully digital by implementing eTIR and dedicated eTIR lanes will further reduce waiting times, cutting costs for operators, while facilitating and securing cross-border trade.