On 26 February, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov met with Secretary General of the International Road Transport Union (IRU) Umberto de Pretto on the sidelines of the 82nd session of the Inland Transport Committee.
During the talks, Mr Norov noted that documents adopted by the SCO, in particular, the Programme of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation until 2035, the intergovernmental Agreement on Facilitation of International Road Transport, and the concept of collaboration between railway administrations (railways) promoted the well-balanced development of an effective transport infrastructure and the expanded use of digital technologies and smart systems in transport in order to provide for stable economic growth within the SCO space.
"The SCO Development Strategy until 2025 as well as the Qingdao (2018) and Bishkek (2019) declarations of the SCO Heads of State Council stress the importance of strengthening cooperation in transport, including upgrading existing transport corridors and creating new ones, building multimodal logistics centres and establishing a network of industrial clusters along transport routes. Multilateral cooperation between the SCO member states in road and railway transport is actively being promoted. For example, the Agreement on Facilitation of International Road Transport envisages putting into operation over 15,000 km of new high-speed roads for through and unobstructed traffic flow," the SCO Secretary-General noted.
Mr Norov informed Mr de Pretto that all the SCO member states have ratified the IRU Convention on the International Transport of Goods, which has been simplifying trade in transit related issues for many years. He emphasised that the right use of customs and transit procedures by relevant agencies, according to the 1978 Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention), is very important for the SCO member states.
Of considerable interest are increasing mobility, improving logistics and developing digital technologies in transport, including road transport, because all countries are looking for ways to promote competitiveness and efficiency in this area.
Umberto de Pretto spoke about the IRU's history and main areas of activity. He focused on the introduction of the digital TIR procedure at border checkpoints and listed the SCO routes where this technology would soon be used.
Mr de Pretto expressed his interest in establishing working contacts with the SCO and suggested organising a roundtable discussion on multimodal transport, unification of customs procedures and new challenges in the area of transport as part of the IRU World Congress scheduled for October in Berlin.
The meeting was held in a constructive and friendly atmosphere.