Tuesday, September 24, 2013

International Freight Forwarding and Logistics Bodies Urge Action on TIR Convention Crisis

Road Haulage Trade Set to Slump Unless Guarantees in Place by December
Shipping News Feature

RUSSIA – In stories on the 6th and 16th August we covered, in some detail, the problems facing road haulage outfits trying to enter the country, due to the termination of an agreement between the Russian Customs authorities and the Association of International Road Transport Carriers in Russia (ASMAP), the body responsible for underwriting the TIR Convention. Without an acceptable national body undertaking this responsibility in any particular territory, the Convention cannot be applied. Now CLECAT, the European Association for forwarding, transport, logistics and customs services and FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, have joined forces to request that the responsible bodies find a solution to the problem.

Both organisations are concerned about the possible disruption to trade with Russia and other countries concerned by transit through Russian territory, and stress the need for all parties involved to ensure continuity of the TIR system to secure and facilitate trade. Earlier this month the Russian Federal Customs service (FCS RF) announced that the additional guarantee measures to be imposed shall only apply in the Customs offices subordinate to the Siberian and Far Eastern regional Customs Departments. This provided some relieve to trade as it is expected that the TIR procedures will continue without interruption in full respect of the TIR Convention in all other Russian customs offices.

This move seems to correlate with the evidence revealed in our first story on the matter and confirms that the problems first surfaced in the North-West Customs Department (NWCD) region, and began over unresolved debt problems. However, the fact that the Russian Federal Customs service has now announced termination of its agreement with the national guaranteeing association as of 1 December 2013, has seriously aggravated the situation which is so far, not under review.

FIATA and CLECAT have expressed their concern that an interruption of the TIR system will most likely lead to a serious disruption of trade flows to and from Russia because of congestion at the borders, unnecessary waiting times and an increase of transport costs. The two bodies urge that all involved parties to return to the negotiating table and to take the necessary steps to find a ‘wise and pragmatic solution to resolve the issues in accordance with the provisions of the TIR Convention’.