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Trade in ECO region hindered by border crossings

Istanbul, Turkey: Trucks waste 30% of their time waiting at border crossing points while ‘unofficial payments’ at crossings account for 28% of transport costs according to preliminary results of a joint study by the International Road Transport Union (IRU) and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

An initiative to monitor trade via international road transport confirms the need to urgently implement key UN multilateral trade and road transport facilitation instruments the report says.

These significant barriers reduce the average speed of trucks to a staggering 14.5 km/h across the ECO region, which dramatically hinders the development of trade in and between ECO countries.  This loss is ultimately borne by the ECO economies and their citizens.

Such compelling findings clearly confirm the need to urgently implement the key UN trade and international road transport facilitation instruments such as the Harmonization and TIR Conventions, increase cooperation between ECO transit States, introduce an ECO multilateral transport permit system, and provide multi-entry and transit visas for professional commercial drivers.

Launched in June 2011 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, the ECO study aims to collect and analyse data on the current conditions of international cargo deliveries by road transport in the ECO region in order to identify the main impediments and non-physical barriers to its international road transport.

The ECO/IRU final report and recommendations for National Action Plans of the ECO Member States will be published in April 2012.  The ERCO member states include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.