Home » 3PL/4PL, Breaking News » First TIR truck journey from China to Europe achieved in 13 days

After more than six months’ preparation, the first truck to make a road journey from China to Europe under the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) system successfully accomplished its maiden run recently, seen to usher increased trade between the two sides.

“The success of the first TIR journey by road from China to Europe proves the system’s cost, time and security advantages. It is set to boost trade between China and Europe, unlocking a critical Belt and Road route and offering development opportunities across Eurasia,” the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the world road transport organization for buses, coaches, taxis, and truck operators, said in a release.

The international road transport convention TIR is a multilateral treaty that was concluded in Geneva in November 1975 to simplify and harmonize the administrative formalities of international road transport. TIR permits the international transport of goods in sealed load compartments with a minimum of customs formalities and without the need to deposit a guarantee covering the duties and taxes at transit borders.

The first TIR truck transport from China to Europe started its 7,000-kilometer journey at the Khorgos border in China, entering Kazakhstan in Russia, and traveling through Russia and Belarus to Poland in just 13 days—with a door-to-door cost and delivery time that is competitive with both air and rail, said IRU.

This TIR transport initiative is a joint effort between IRU and global leading logistics companies, including CEVA Logistics, Shanghai Jet-rail International Transportation, and Alblas International Logistics as the operator. The truck’s trial run began on November 13, 2018 when it left China, arriving securely at its destination in Poland without any disruption or customs issues on November 26.

The new road service will deliver a cost saving of about 50% compared to air options. With a lead time door-to-door of between 10 and 15 days, it will be 30% to 50% faster than rail.

IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto said the milestone will be a game changer for cross-border transport in China.

“This first TIR journey by road from China to Europe is a win-win-win model for business, trade and governments,” he continued. “It shows that the system is secure and also highly competitive in terms of cost and time relative to other modes of transport on similar routes.”

CEVA Logistics Greater China executive vice president Torben Bengtsson said, “We foresee a great future for road transport from China to Europe—the pilot proves that it could save up to 50% door-to-door cost compared to air, and at least ten days delivery time compared with rail.”

He added, “The market is eager for the new product; we have a lot of customers waiting for the start of a regular service. During the coming weeks we will prepare to start regular operations as early as possible in 2019.”

TIR became active for China in May 2018. “Since then we started to investigate the possibility and feasibility of road transportation from China to Europe in order to find an alternative to the escalating air freight market,” said Bengtsson. “The trial proves that the TIR carnet issued in China is accepted in the transit countries en-route to Europe.”

In September 2018, Kazakhstan and China opened the new border crossing at Khorgos to boost transport and trade along the new 8,445-kilometer Western China-to-Western-Europe expressway—part of China’s Belt and Road project.

The World Bank predicts the corridor will more than double road freight volumes between China and Europe.

Photo courtesy of IRU

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