Qatar, IRU Sign MoU to Boost Cooperation in Land Transport

The Government of the State of Qatar today signed an MoU with the International Road Transport Union (IRU) to boost their cooperation in all fields of land transport.

The MoU was signed at the IRU headquarters in Geneva by HE Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti and the IRU Secretary General Mr. Umberto de Pretto.

The MoU aims at developing joint activities in the areas supporting land transport sector and developing land transport projects in Qatar in line with best practices and international standards, thus enabling Qatar to play a leading and distinctive role in this regard.

On this occasion, HE the Minister stressed that the MoU comes in the context of enhancing cooperation and relations between the State of Qatar and the UN transportation organizations. He said that the MoU will help in the exchange of expertise with IRU for developing a comprehensive transportation system and localizing capacities and experiences that are needed for developing a sustainable land transport sector. It is also connecting Qatar’s land transport system regionally and globally with a view to increasing the trade exchange and augmenting the mutual economic relations with other countries while taking advantage of global expertise in this respect, particularly after Qatar had joined the TIR Convention, he added.

The MoU, he noted, would contribute to training and developing the national capacities through joint programs and workshops in association with IRU, in addition to helping in setting key performance indicators for executing the sustainable development objectives 2030 relating to land transport sector, an implementation monitoring mechanism toward achieving the aspired results in line with the UN requirements in this respect.

As per the MoU, Qatar and IRU aim at developing standards, specifications and policies for the development of land transport markets for goods and passengers locally, regionally and internationally in an effective, economical, and safe manner.

They also aim at improving traffic safety levels of road transport of passengers and goods and heavy and hazardous materials using the best international practices in this regard, in addition to collaborating on viable research and development activities of the land transport industry.

Moreover, the two parties will employ this MoU to localize capacities and experiences that are needed for developing a sustainable land transport sector, in addition to backing the accession to key UN road transport agreements.

In a related context, HE Minister Al-Sulaiti witnessed the signing of a Guarantee Agreement between Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QC) and the General Authority of Customs per which QC becomes the TIR national guaranteeing and issuing association in Qatar.

Signed at IRU headquarters in Geneva, the Agreement was signed by QC Board Member HE Eng. Ali Abdul Latif Al Misnad and General Authority of Customs Chairman Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Jamal. The signing ceremony was attended by Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the UN Office in Geneva HE Mr. Ambassador Ali Khalfan Al-Mansouri and QC Director General Mr. Saleh bin Hamad Al Sharqi.

Mr. Al Misnad said that the Agreement reflects QC’s role in breaking the unfair blockade, which failed to undermine Qatar’s economy.

He added that Qatar’s accession to TIR system comes in the context of streamlining trade, reducing costs and shipping for traders, thus reflecting positively on consumers, let alone facilitating the land transportation of goods and commodities from and to Qatar.

TIR is a globally-applied customs guaranteeing and transportation system that enables goods to transit from a country of origin to a country of destination in sealed load compartments that are controlled by customs via a multilateral, mutually recognized system, he added.

It is the easiest, safest and most reliable way to move goods across multiple international borders, saving time and money for transport operators and customs authorities, Mr. Al Misnad said in press remarks.

Mr. Al Jamal said the Agreement comes in the context of developing and cementing cooperation between the member states in the field of international land transport as well as terminating the restrictions and obstacles in that industry.

He said that the Agreement will help reduce the cost of exports and, therefore, commodity prices in Qatar. It would also cut the time spent on the delivery of imports by nearly 50%, in addition to securing the delivery of goods to final destinations with the highest safety standards, he added.

Al Sharqi said that TIR streamlines procedures at borders, reducing the administrative burden for customs authorities and for transport and logistics companies. It cuts border waiting times significantly, saving time and money, he added. TIR authorized operators can move goods quickly across multiple customs territories, under customs control, using a single guarantee. Harmonized systems and data exchange tools mean that operators only need to submit their declaration data once for the entire transit movement, Mr. Al Sharqi said.

Mr. Al Sharqi invited transportation companies that are interested in joining the TIR system to apply at QC and get authorized to use that system in their importation and exportation business.

He noted that transportation companies interested in joining the TIR system must have at least 3 years of experience in international land transportation, adding that QC is now the national guaranteeing association for customs duties.

Qatar last year became the 73rd country to have ratified the UN TIR Convention – the global standard for customs transit, to facilitate trade and the seamless and secure movement of goods across its borders. Member states include countries from Europe, Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, the US, and Canada. This is aimed at streamlining trade, attracting investments and raising Qatar’s transportation services efficiency through providing seamless importation, exportation, and delivery of goods from and to Qatar using Qatari trucks carried on RORO cargo ships.

TIR system offers multiple economic advantages; as it terminates customs transit charges between its member states and along the Silk Road, which reduces time spent on goods transportation to nearly half. This will reflect positively on reducing commodity prices in Qatar and raw materials importation bill.

The TIR Convention facilitates the movement of goods across borders and provides Governments and trade with a simple, effective and globally applicable Customs transit system.

TIR is a globally applicable international customs transit and guarantee system. It enables goods to be shipped from a country of origin, through transit countries, to a country of destination in sealed load compartments that are controlled by customs via a multilateral, mutually recognized system. It is the easiest, safest and most reliable way to move goods across multiple international borders, saving time and money for transport operators and customs authorities.

Today TIR has more than 70 contracting countries around the world, and it is expanding rapidly with over 20 countries looking to join. Over 34,000 transport and logistics companies worldwide use TIR to quickly and reliably move goods across international borders.

TIR is only open to authorized operators, who are admitted to the system by the customs administration in collaboration with the national TIR association.

Criteria for joining TIR is based on their professionalism and compliance, not based on company or fleet size. TIR is open to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) as well as large operators. TIR can be streamlined through TIR Authorized Consignors and Consignees and can also be integrated with national and regional Authorized Economic Operator schemes. Goods moving under TIR arrive at borders in containers or load compartments that have been sealed by the customs office of departure. Containers and load compartments that are used for TIR transports are pre-approved by customs, ensuring that nothing can be added or removed without detection. This reduces the need for routine physical inspections at borders along the way.

QC joined the IRU in late 2017 to become the TIR national issuing association, in coordination with the General Authority for Customs.

Source: Ministry of Transport & Communications