The Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) was made at Geneva on 14 November 1975 to simplify and harmonise the administrative formalities of international road transport.
The TIR Convention or International Road Transport Convention was adopted under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). (TIR stands for French “Transports Internationaux Routiers” or “International Road Transports”). As at 1 January 2011, there were 68 parties to the Convention.
The TIR Convention establishes an international customs transit system with maximum facility to move goods:
- in sealed vehicles or containers;
- from a customs office of departure in one country to a customs office of destination in another country;
- without requiring extensive and time-consuming border checks at intermediate borders;
- at a cost-effective price;
- while, at the same time, providing customs authorities with the required security and guarantees.
he TIR system not only covers customs transit by road but a combination is possible with other modes of transport (e.g., rail, inland waterway, and even maritime transport), as long as at least one part of the total transport is made by road.
To date, more than 40,000 international transport operators had been authorized (by their respective competent national authorities) to access the TIR system, using more than 3.2 million TIR carnets per year.
In light of the expected increase in world trade, further enlargement of its geographical scope and the forthcoming introduction of an electronic TIR system (so-called “eTIR-system”), it is expected that the TIR system will continue to remain the only truly global customs transit system.
Due to the large blue-and-white TIR plates carried by vehicles using the TIR convention, the word “TIR” entered many languages as a neologism, becoming the default generic name of a large truck.