Member States should seize the opportunity at this week’s informal summit, and the EU summit on 28-29 June, to stimulate growth, employment and EU revenues by reinstating use of the TIR transit system for goods transport under customs control within the EU.
Reinstating the TIR System would provide 600,000 road transport operators - mainly small or medium sized businesses (SMEs) servicing SMEs which account for 85% of employment – with an attractive alternative to the current and mandatory T System, which is controlled by a handful of freight forwarding companies, which cater mainly for multinationals. Such a reintroduction of the TIR System on EU territory would be very timely, as the EU customs code is currently being revised.
Commenting on TIR System benefits, the President of the IRU Goods Transport Liaison Committee to the EU, Alexander Sakkers, stressed, “The TIR System facilitates and secures the transport of goods by road and offers guarantee to customs that customs duties will be paid. Shippers and road transport operators need the freedom to choose which guarantee option best suits their business needs and should not be constrained to the mandatory T System which is run by a small freight forwarder community. Forcing operators to use one system with no access to viable alternatives is detrimental to the EU economy”.
A disadvantage of the T System is that it only covers individual packages, unlike TIR which can guarantee entire containers or trucks at once, thereby simplifying customs procedures, reducing time and costs. As entire consignments are covered, freight can be secured and sealed under customs control thereby providing greater security from organised crime – an essential security not provided through the T System.
Alexander Sakkers concluded, “The present arrangement forced on road transport operators raises transport costs and the risk of cargo crime. Lower costs and secure goods transport are vital if we are to see an increase in trade and growth. Increased costs and heightened insecurity suffocates the activity necessary for economic recovery within the EU. Yet, to reintroduce TIR in the EU requires the simple inclusion of one line, at no cost, to the EU customs code. This is the most cost effective way to ensure growth in the EU.”