COVID-19: Customs advised to ensure coordinated cross-border intervention

IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto and WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya

The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Road Transport Union (IRU) have called on Customs administrations worldwide to ensure coordinated cross-border interventions in cooperation with other national border agencies and implement international standards such as the TIR Convention as appropriate.

The two bodies made the call in view of the disrupting impact of COVID-19 on the supply chains and the restrictions to cross-border and transit freight transport.

WCO and IRU also advised the customs administration to use the TIR system, and its IT tools, wherever possible, which allow secure transport under customs control with limited physical checks and less contact between people at borders, thus reducing the risk of spreading the virus and protecting Customs officers and drivers.

Customs administrations were enjoined to designate priority (green) lanes for commercial vehicles to reduce border waiting times and introduce other measures to ensure supply chain continuity; avoid closing borders to the international transport of goods, particularly for relief goods and personnel and essential goods; and, avoid unnecessary checking of commercial vehicles at borders.

However, the WCO and IRU expressed their readiness to support their respective members in the implementation of relevant instruments, tools and programmes and will work together to coordinate their respective efforts

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