Saudi Arabia to implement TIR, boosting trade links with Gulf neighbours

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 16, 2019

Left to right: Rami Karout; Rani Wehbe; Umberto de Pretto; Dr Nabil Al-Amudi, Minister of Transport; Sultan Al Hudaithi, chairman of Sata, and Riyadh Almalik, president of Sata.

Saudi Arabia has announced that it is in the final stages of operationalising the TIR system, strengthening the strategic position of the Kingdom as a regional trade and transit logistics hub.

The Governor of Saudi Customs, Ahmed Alhakbani, made the announcement at the Saudi Logistics Conference in Riyadh.

During his speech, Alhakbani detailed the benefits of the TIR System, how transport operators and freight forwarders can join it, and the nine customs offices across the country that will be open for TIR during the first phase of the system being operational.

By implementing TIR, Saudi Arabia becomes an important connecting hub for three continents – Europe, Africa and Asia – and will join a globally applicable customs transit and guarantee system with 76 member countries worldwide. Managed by IRU under UN mandate, trucks transporting goods under coverage of the TIR system use one single international guarantee from a journey‘s start to finish, while information is exchanged electronically between all stakeholders. This makes the system an easy, secure and reliable way to move goods across borders.

IRU member Saudi Automobile and Touring Club (SATA) will be guaranteeing TIR in Saudi Arabia. 

“Today‘s announcement is a momentous occasion for Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Middle East, and the rest of the world,” said IRU secretary general Umberto de Pretto. “By implementing TIR, Saudi Arabia will become part of the only global customs transit system, and by driving efficiencies and cutting costs, the Kingdom will significantly boost international trade and prosperity.

“Saudi Arabia is now part of a trade network that stretches from Western Europe all the way to Eastern China, and into Africa. IRU will be working closely with officials and our member organisation in Saudi Arabia to ensure it is in a position to implement TIR effectively – for the benefit of its transport operators, the Saudi economy and its many trading partners around the world.”

Speeding up border waiting times for operators, TIR saves time and money – cost savings that make economies more competitive and goods cheaper for consumers around the world. TIR‘s cargo seal system has guaranteed truck load security for over 70 years, while the greater efficiencies involved in journey times are helping the industry address its CO2 reduction responsibilities. 

With more than 30% of global trade crossing the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia is a major economic powerhouse. However, bilateral trade with Arab countries is currently below 10%, and only 5.8% of Saudi exports go to its GCC neighbours. By implementing TIR, Saudi Arabian companies and transport operators will now be in a position to boost bilateral trade ties with immediate neighbours in the GCC, while also improving the region‘s credentials as a trading hub between Asia, Europe and Africa.