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ECO-IRU Silk Road Truck Caravan 2010: mission accomplished!


25 Oct 2010



The ECO- IRU Silk Road Truck Caravan today terminated its 11,000km journey from Pakistan to Turkey via Afghanistan, demonstrating that road transport can drive trade, hence economic growth and social progress throughout the ECO region provided it is further promoted and facilitated.

Ankara – The Silk Road Truck Caravan 2010, jointly organised by the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) with the support of its Member States and the International Road Transport Union (IRU) in cooperation with its national Member Associations in the ECO region, was welcomed last Friday by the Government of Turkey and some 200 high level governmental, business and media representatives in Ankara, as the final stop of an 11,000km journey which started on 30 September 2010 to “Drive Progress from Islamabad to Istanbul”.

Greeting the Caravan, the Minister of Transport and Communications of Turkey, Binali Yildirim, said: “Turkey was a leg of the Silk Road centuries ago and due to its location, it remains today a crossroad, interconnecting the East, West, North and South. This Caravan has once more emphasised this role and highlighted the importance of road transport in driving progress in this strategic region of the world!”

Composed of 8 trucks, the ECO-IRU Silk Road Truck Caravan travelled across Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan, with the aim to further develop trade and economic cooperation within the ECO region and with the rest of the world in order to help landlocked economies reap the full benefits of globalisation by letting road transport drive progress and prosperity.

ECO Deputy Secretary General, Althaf Asghar, emphasised, “In today’s globalised economy, only with efficient road transport will ECO countries better connect their economies to each other and with major world markets. That is why ECO is striving to establish itself as the main regional driving force for road transport facilitation within the entire region to the benefit of all its citizens.”

The main objectives of this public-private partnership were to:

·                    promote road transport facilitation across the ECO region,

·                    promote and monitor the implementation of the ECO Transit Transport Framework Agreement;

·                    collect en route data, such as border waiting times, customs procedures and road charges, as well as visa requirements in the ECO region; and

·                    examine the infrastructure along the ECO road network.

Preliminary results indicate that the Caravan has achieved its set objectives and that the main non-physical barriers, notably at borders, mostly stem from the inefficient implementation of the key UN multilateral trade and road transport facilitation instruments.

The need to improve road infrastructure in certain areas has also been identified and such improvements should be planned and implemented along the main international trade corridors according to the IRU’s Model Highway concept, which includes both road and ancillary infrastructure, such as the modernisation of border crossing points; warehousing and logistics facilities at economically strategic locations; expansion of the network of refuelling stations; creation of a secure parking network with technical maintenance facilities and retail outlets for spare parts and convenience goods; and the development of hotels and motels to accommodate drivers.

The President of the Union of Chambers & Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), Rifat Hisarciklioglu, stressed, “By investing over USD 200 million in the past decade, TOBB has contributed to the modernisation of more than six border crossing gates in Turkey. TOBB is ready to play a more active role in modernising the border crossing facilities between the ECO Member States along the Silk Road routes.”

IRU Secretary General, Martin Marmy, concluded, “The IRU fully supports ECO’s efforts to turn the vision of reopening the Silk Road to trade across the region into a reality. This joint Caravan will undoubtedly pave the way for further promoting and facilitating road transport in the ECO region and beyond, through the proper implementation of the UN transport conventions and agreements, in particular the TIR Convention, to drive progress, prosperity and ultimately peace!.”

For more information, visit the official Caravan website at!

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