World road transport organisation IRU has successfully completed a cross-border TIR transport operation involving the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan this week.

TIR is a globally applicable international customs transit and guarantee system created and administered by IRU under UN mandate since 1949.

IRU said in a press statement that the TIR transport operation from Dubai in the UAE to Jordan's capital Amman via Saudi Arabia was successfully concluded in four days instead of usual seven days - when done without the TIR guarantee - with the support of national guaranteeing associations and customs authorities.

Trucks operating under a TIR carnet (temporary export-import document) use one single international guarantee from a journey's start to finish, even for intermodal transports.

'This historical moment is the starting point of a new journey, providing an important border crossing solution for transport and logistics operators in the Gulf region,' the statement said.

The Governor of Saudi Customs, Ahmed AlHakbani said in the statement that the start of TIR operations in the kingdom represents an important step for Saudi customs towards the harmonisation and facilitation of customs transit procedures between TIR contracting parties.

Currently, more than 70 Contracting Parties use TIR, with approximately one million TIR carnets issued every year to over 10,000 transport and logistics companies and 80,000 trucks operating under the system across the world on a monthly basis.

"TIR will reduce the transport costs as well as the trucks waiting time and facilitate the transit movements in the kingdom, which will maximise the benefits and improve the investment attractiveness of this sector," AlHakbani said, adding, a key pillar of Saudi Vision 2030 is to make the kingdom a logistical centre connecting Asia, Africa and Europe.

IRU's Secretary General Umberto de Pretto noted that establishing similar TIR corridors throughout the Middle East "has the potential to revolutionise goods transport in the region."

Other benefits of TIR, according to IRU, include:

1. Time savings through the Electronic Advance Declaration facility, reducing the waiting time at the Saudi Arabia border by an average of six hours

2. Eliminating the need of customs tax and duty deposits through the cover of the TIR international guarantee chain

3. Secured load compartments approved by customs authorities

4. The permitted use of sheeted transport compartments (swap bodies) through Saudi Arabia when using TIR

(Writing by Anoop Menon; Editing by Seban Scaria)

© ZAWYA 2020