Report of the 2nd Meeting of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI)
Road Transport Corridor
(Tehran, 4-5 February 2013)
The 2nd Meeting of the enroutes countries of Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Road Transport Corridor was held in Tehran, the Islamic Republic of Iran on 4-5 February 2013. The Meeting was attended by the delegations of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and the Republic of Turkey. Delegations from the ECO Secretariat, the ECO-CCI, IRU and the private sector of the enroute Member States also attended the Meeting. The list of participants is attached as Annex-I.
Agenda Item No.1
Inauguration of the Meeting
- In his inaugural statement, His Excellency Mr. Shahram Adamnejad, Vice President of the Road Maintenance and Transport Organization, Ministry of Road and Urban Development of the Islamic Republic of Iran, welcomed the delegates in Tehran. He stated that ECO has provided ideal opportunity for the Member States to develop regional transport cooperation, including this important ITI Road Corridor. He reaffirmed Iran’s strong will to operationalize this corridor with the cooperation of the enroute Member States, the ECO Secretariat, IRU and other relevant international organizations. A copy of his statement is attached as Annex-II.
- In his opening statement, Mr. Altaf Asghar, ECO Deputy Secretary General stated that the project for developing the ITI road corridor was approved by the ECO Ministers of Transport and Communications in their 8th Meeting in June 2011. He further stated that ECO has placed a high priority to follow up all measures to launch this corridor in line with the Action Plan signed during the 1st HLWG Meeting in Islamabad in April 2012. It is a pleasure that good progress has already been achieved in implementing most of the activities included in the Action Plan, thanks to active cooperation of all parties. A copy of his statement is attached as Annex-III.
Agenda Item No.2
Election of the Chairman
- Under this Agenda Item, Mr. Saeedullah Abdollahi Soveini, Director General, Transit Department, Road Maintenance and Transport Organization, Ministry of Road and Urban Development of the Islamic Republic of Iran was unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Meeting.
Agenda Item No.3
Adoption of the Agenda
- Under this Agenda item, the Meeting adopted its Agenda as suggested by the ECO Secretariat, and an amendment proposed by the delegation of Turkey under Agenda Item 7 regarding a trilateral agreement concerning transit system. A copy of the revised Agenda is enclosed as Annex-IV.
Agenda Item No.4
Appointment of the Drafting Committee
- Under this Agenda, the Meeting appointed an open ended Committee to draft the report of the Meeting.
Agenda Item No.5
Review of the progress on implementation of decisions of the previous meeting
- Under this Agenda Item, the ECO Representative briefed the Meeting on the progress with the implementation of the Action Plan singed by the 1st Meeting of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Road Transport Corridor. The Meeting highly appreciated all the enroute Member States, the ECO Secretariat and IRU for their efforts in moving ahead the activities enlisted in the Action Plan.
Agenda Item No.6
Finalization of the routes and border crossing points along the Corridor
- Under this Agenda Item, the Meeting agreed on the following initial routeing for the ITI Corridor:
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Islamabad to Taftan through Kohat- D.I. Khan- Quetta-Dalbadin
Islamic Republic of Iran
Mirjaveh to Bazargan through Zehidan-Kerman-Quom, Tehran- Tabriz
Republic of Turkey
Gurbulak to Istanbul through Erzurum-Erzincan-Amasya-Gerede
- However, Pakistan suggested three routes in its own territory but ultimately agreed on one route. Being a sovereign country, Pakistan or any other enroute country would suggest any further routes if they so desire to the next Meeting to expand the corridor.
- The border crossing points will be Taftan in Pakistan, Mirjaveh and Bazargan in Iran, and Gurbulak in Turkey.
Agenda Item No.7
Discussion on finalization of priority measures for establishment of the Corridor:
- The meeting discussed and made decisions on the following priority issues.
- i. Measures on application of the TIR Convention and the TIR Pilot Project along the Corridor
- The enroute countries briefed the Meeting on the latest status of modernizing the infrastructure and custom clearance procedures at their designated border crossing points.
- The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan informed the Meeting that Pakistan is completing its internal procedure for accession to TIR Convention. He stated that reaffirmation of the Government of Pakistan on accession to the TIR Convention has already been conveyed to the ECO Secretariat for implementation of the Pilot Project on ITI Road Corridor.
- The IRU informed the Meeting that while Pakistan is on its way to join the TIR Convention, it could benefit from the TIR procedures through the specific legal framework to be put in place for the implementation of the ITI project. After consultation of all involved partners the most appropriate legal framework was defined. All documentation was provided to all partners at the end of 2012 for analysis. Iranian and Pakistani authorities supported the documentation. The national associations ICCIMA and PNC-ICC signed them. While TOBB supported the documents and reiterated it during the meeting, the Turkish Customs were still analyzing them.
- The Republic of Turkey briefed the Meeting about certain legal issues that may arise from applying the TIR Carnet to Non-Contracting Parties of the TIR Convention mainly due to the lack of a certain date by Pakistan to access to the TIR Convention and non-obtaining of the UNECE's competent organ's consultative opinion for launching such a pilot project along the ITI Corridor using the TIR Carnet. Taking into account these points, the Meeting requested the ECO Secretariat to obtain, as decided in Islamabad Meeting, the consultative opinion of the UNECE with regard to the application of the TIR Carnet under the auspices of the pilot project along the ITI Road Corridor. Meanwhile the Meeting requested the concerned authorities of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to expedite accession to the TIR. As a third option to expedite the implementation of the pilot project, the delegation of the Republic of Turkey also proposed the signing of a trilateral agreement replicating the TIR Convention’s principle TIR Carnet on the establishment of a transit system among the countries enroute the ITI corridor, which would be terminated immediately upon the accession of Pakistan to the TIR Convention. A copy of the Draft Agreement is attached as Annex-V. The Meeting requested the enroute member states to convey their comments and views on the proposed agreement by the end of April 2013. It will also be included in the agenda of the next meeting.
- The Meeting asked the enroute Member States, the ECO Secretariat and IRU to closely follow up the abovementioned options in parallel and plan for the pilot project accordingly.
- The Meeting discussed at length the issue of working hours at the designated border crossing points. The Meeting decided that the border crossing points in principle should remain open 24 hours, 7 days a week. The Meeting also decided that an electronic data sharing mechanism be applied along the corridor.
- The Customs Authorities of Pakistan have introduced container/cargo monitoring system by installing tracking devices on all containers leaving the Karachi Port. The cargo/containers are monitored from the Central Control Room (CCR) and eight Regional Control Rooms (RCR) which are setup in Customs House, Karachi and in up country Dry Ports respectively. These Control Rooms monitor containers till their exit from the border point.
- The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran stated that they are using GPS system and will definitely equip ITI road corridor with GPS system. They informed that they have already data sharing system and will equip some border crossing points. They do not have equipped Taftan border with GPS system but they are ready to implement such project.
- The delegation of the Republic of Turkey stated that they have started TIR EPD in June 2012 for transit and import transactions and are planning to start it for the export transactions by March of this year. This implementation is right now on voluntary basis, not mandatory. They have also started the Green Lane implementation for TIR transactions at Kapıkule w.e.f December 2012. They have allocated a lane for the trucks using pre-declaration system, before entering Turkey which is an important element for the implementation of TIR-EPD. Additionally, by 1st December 2012, they have started using Common Transit System. With this system, the transit transport integration with EU has been achieved. Also, on the same day, another system has been implemented which is called Authorised Economic Operator. This system enables haulers and exporters’ to process their transactions without coming to the Customs Offices. He further informed that they have hired around 2000 officers in the Customs Department to meet with the deficiency of workforce at the Customs offices.
ii. Issues pertaining to road transit permits
- Taking into account the high spirit of cooperation and solidarity among the enroute Member States, the Meeting decided that there will be no requirement for exchange of permits for transport along ITI Corridor. In principle, no permit system is needed to be developed for this Corridor.
iii. Security and safety issues
- Under this agenda Item, the delegations of the enroute Member States briefed the Meeting on the latest measures taken for the security of the drivers, trucks and cargoes along the Corridor. The Meeting reiterated on the importance of security for drivers, trucks and goods along the whole Corridor. All the enrotue member states ensured that they would take all necessary measures to provide security to the drives, trucks and cargos in traffic along this corridor.
- The Meeting also decided that Workshop on European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR), Modernization of Border Crossing Points and digital tachograph system will be held in Ankara, the Republic of Turkey in November 2013 or any other date intimated by the Host Authorities through the ECO Secretariat. They will provide local hospitality (including accommodation, meals, local transport, venue of conference and, to the extent possible, interpretation system) for 25-30 participants from all ECO Member States and the ECO Secretariat.
- The Meeting requested the enroute Member States to expedite the construction of model TIR Parking places along the Corridor. The Meeting decided that the IRU Model Highway would be utilized as a best practice to be used along this Corridor.
- During the Trilateral Meeting certain issues related to ITI Corridor towards Iran and Pakistan sides were raised with regard to fuel, additional taxes, Customs and security which were referred to a bilateral meeting simultaneously held on the sidelines of the trilateral meeting. During which the same issues were discussed and it was decided to address them in detail in the bilateral meeting which is going to be held between Iran and Pakistan in two weeks time and the issues will be revisited in the next meeting.
iv. Facilitation of visa for drivers
- The Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran renewed the readiness of the Islamic Republic of Iran to further facilitate the visa issuance for the Pakistani drivers traveling along this corridor. He informed the Meeting that the following specific measures are being considered by the concerned Iranian authorities:
- Reduction of the multiple visa fees to the level applied by Pakistan.
- Reduction of the time required for processing the visa for Pakistani drivers.
- Issuance of transit visa, in minimum time, for Pakistani drivers who hold Turkish visa.
- The delegation of Iran also shared the Meeting with the progress in designing the ECO Unified Visa Sticker for Drivers.
- The Representative of the Republic of Turkey stated that they have forwarded the proposals for facilitating visas for Pakistani Drivers, including reducing the time needed for processing the visa application and the visa costs, to the concerned authorities in Turkey for consideration. The results will be intimated shortly through the ECO Secretariat.
- The IRU presented good experiences of the Turkey with Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine exchange of list of professional drivers, at the end of the year, regarding issuance of long term multiple entry visas. The Transport Associations and Ministry of Transport send the list of drivers to the Immigration Department for issuance of one year multiple entry visas. According the drivers are issued visa by the concerned authorities. The Meeting noted that the arrangement for annual exchange of driver lists can also be adopted in the relevant ECO decision making meetings and asked the Secretariat to follow up this issue with the Member States.
- The Meeting also requested the enroute Member States to assure the implementation of the visa related provisions of the TTFA, according to which one-year multiple entry visa should be issued within 72 hours to drivers and persons involved in transit operations.
- The Meeting also requested the enroute Member States to provide the ECO Secretariat with the updated tables of visa fees for drivers and persons involved in transit operations to the ECO Secretariat.
v. Application of the White Card Scheme on the pilot basis
- Under this Agenda Item, the Meeting was briefed by the Iranian and Turkish National Insurance Bureaus delegations about the latest progress in implementing the measures agreed between the National Insurance Bureaus of the enroute Member States based on their informal meeting in Tehran in November 2012. The Meeting expressed satisfaction that the focal points of the National Insurance Bureaus of the enroute Member States are in direct contacts with each other through emails and telephonically to prepare and to analysis the legislation issues regarding financial guarantee criteria, frontier insurance premiums, motor vehicle circulation data and other possible obstacles for the implementation of the White Card.
vi. Date and arrangements for the test run of trucks along the Corridor
- The Meeting decided that the dates for the test run of the trucks would be specified as soon as the arrangement regarding a commonly agreed transit system is finalized.
- The Meeting also requested the enroute Member States to provide the details of Focal Points of the ITI Road Corridor at the earliest.
vii. Arrangements to initiate the study approved by the ECO CPR for this Corridor
- The ECO Secretariat informed the Meeting that TOR of the international and national consultants to conduct the feasibility study is under preparation and it will be circulated to the enroute Member States within two weeks. Once circulated, the Member States would comment on the TOR within one month, and then the consultants will be recruited as per the arrangements agreed in the 1st HLWG Meeting in Islamabad.
viii. Priority infrastructure projects and the IRU Model Highway Initiative
- Under this Agenda Item, the IRU delegation briefed the Meeting on relevant components of the Model Highway Initiative (MHI), which can be applied along the ITI Road Corridor, inter alia, with the following fundamental actions:
- Develop the ancillary infrastructure along main road arteries.
- Simplifying border crossing procedures and introducing state-of-the-art practices and technologies at border crossing and Customs posts, which have been implemented successfully on other parts of the world.
- Create a multilateral financial mechanism to have the financing required to develop the necessary ancillary infrastructure in line with the implementation of these essential reforms.
- A public private partnership for infrastructure developments.
- Accordingly the Meeting urged the ECO Secretariat and IRU to expedite launching the pre-feasibility study to apply the Model Highway Initiative principles along the corridor with the assistance of the ECO Trade and Development Bank, IDB and other relevant international institutions.
- With regard to the establishment of a logistic centre which was discussed in Islamabad Meeting, the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran informed the Meeting that the Provincial Government had allocated land of 57 hectares near Zahidan. This land is located near Zahidan-Mirjaveh-Taftan border two kilometres away from Railway station and five kilometre from international airport. The Meeting requested the ECO Secretariat to keep contact with the potential funding institutions to assist in construction of this logistic centre. The concerned authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran were also requested to convey the layout and other necessary information about this Centre to the ECO secretariat.
Agenda Item No.8
Any other business
- Under this agenda item, the Meeting highly appreciated the business community of the enroute member states for active participation in the meeting. The Meeting also took note of the recommendations of the sideline meeting of the delegations from the private sector. A copy of the recommendations is attached at Annex-VI. The Meeting requested all parties to follow up these recommendations.
- The delegation of the Republic of Turkey informed the Meeting aboutthe training course recently held in Turkey for Afghan Customs staff regarding TIR Convention. They also offered similar course for the Pakistan authorities dealing with TIR Convention.
Agenda Item No.9
Date and venue of the next Meeting
- The 3rd Meeting of the ITI Road Corridor will be held in Turkey in the first week of June 2013 or any other date intimated in due course. The Turkish authorities will convey exact date and venue of the HLWG Meeting through diplomatic channel.
Agenda Item No.10
Adoption of the Report
- Under this Agenda Item, the Meeting considered and unanimously adopted its report.
Agenda Item No.11
Closing of the Meeting
- At the conclusion of the meeting, the heads of the delegations, expressed vote of thanks to the Chairman for conducting the meeting in an efficient manner and particularly to Mr. Abdollahi, Director General, Transit Department, Road Maintenance and Transport Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as the Ministry of Road Transport and Urban Development and the ECO Secretariat for making excellent arrangements for the Meeting.
- The Chairman announced the closing of the Meeting.