Posted on January 27, 2019

Qatar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Road Transport Union (IRU) to boost their co-operation in all fields of land transport, the Ministry of Transport and Communications announced.

The MoU was signed at the IRU headquarters in Geneva by HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti and the IRU Secretary-General 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 the occasion, HE al-Sulaiti stressed that the MoU comes in the context of enhancing co-operation and relations between Qatar and the UN transportation organisations. He said that the MoU will help in the exchange of expertise with IRU for developing a comprehensive transportation system and localising 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. 

The MoU, he noted, would contribute to training and developing the national capacities through joint programmes 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 localise 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.

At IRU headquarters in Geneva, the agreement was signed by QC Board Member Ali Abdul Latif al-Misnad and General Authority of Customs chairman Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Jamal. The signing ceremony was attended by Qatar Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva ambassador Ali Khalfan al-Mansouri and QC Director General Saleh bin Hamad al-Sharqi. Al-Misnad said that the agreement reflects QC’s role in breaking the unfair blockade. 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 applicable customs transit and guarantee system. It 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 recognised procedure, he added. Al-Jamal said the agreement comes in the context of developing and cementing co-operation 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 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 authorised operators can move goods quickly across multiple customs territories, under customs control, using a single guarantee. Harmonised systems and data exchange tools mean that operators only need to submit their declaration data once for the entire transit movement, al-Sharqi said.

The QC Director General also invited transportation companies that are interested in joining the TIR system to apply at QC and get authorised to use that system in their importation and exportation business. He noted that transportation companies interested in joining TIR system must have at least three 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.

source: Gulf Times