Running goods transport across central and South Asia
Uzbek logistics company Swift-Silk-Road Logistics has started using the TIR route to Pakistan via Afghanistan.
After transports from Kyrgystan to Pakistan, the central-South Asian TIR corridor has been used to transport goods from Uzbekistan to Pakistan, via Afghanistan. TIR is playing a vital role in keeping cross-border goods transport going and Swift’s recent experience reinforces the economic development potential of the entire region.
We met Mr Sultonov Ilkhomjon, Director of Swift-Silk-Road Logistics, in Tashkent and we asked him a few questions.
First of all, can you tell us more about your business?
We started working in this corridor at the beginning of 2021 with our own truck. We partnered with a company that already had access to the TIR system in order to transport goods to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. We made several trips in this direction under the name of this transport company, and at the end of May 2021, we created our own company: Swift-Silk-Road Logistics LLC.
We were admitted into the TIR system and we began to operate regular trips to Pakistan. Now we have more trucks as we recently added new vehicles to our fleet.
The goal of our business is to serve people, to take products to their destination, no matter where. To a retail outlet, to a warehouse or to the customer’s home; we deliver door-to-door. We are proud to contribute to the development of cross-border trade and of new transport chains.
Why are you expanding your activities to new routes, such as Uzbekistan to Pakistan?
The main reason why we started to carry out cargo transportation from Uzbekistan to Pakistan is that it is a new market and we see great opportunities in it.
I think that the foundation of any development is the desire to create something new or to improve something that already exists. We already had this desire and we took the opportunity when it appeared, we decided to start our activities in the system of international road transport of goods in this direction.
What are the challenges of opening up these new markets?
Our vehicles pass in transit through Afghanistan and one of the main difficulties is the bad state of the highway in this country. It is about 200-250 km but car tire treads quickly fail, punctures occur, and there are no roadside workshops for replacing and repairing tires. We often have to buy new tires, as you know, tires are not cheap.
I am really looking forward to the help from the international community to improve Afghanistan’s road infrastructure.
Apart from that and the relatively high fees and charges, there are no other problems on this route.
How does TIR help in opening these new destinations?
The TIR system is a guarantee of trust. When transporting goods using TIR carnets, our vehicles move without problems. Also, we know that a guarantor covers our back. The Association of International Road Carriers of Uzbekistan is here to help if necessary.
TIR helps in the situation I explained before, for example. Without the TIR-EPD system, we might not have started transport on this route.
What feedback have you received from customers on these new TIR lines?
Customers are certainly pleased that we now operate to Pakistan.
Local entrepreneurs are excited that new markets are opening up for their products. With this new route, goods will arrive in Pakistan in a short time and we can transport large volumes of goods too. It is a very positive direction for the economy.
How do you see the future of TIR routes in the region?
I think that we need to open new routes in the region. This implies creating or improving roadside infrastructure for the comfort of all international drivers. More TIR routes can benefit both the drivers and the local populations.
By increasing the flow of goods across borders, and by attracting more foreign logistics companies in the region, the economies of our countries will surely take off. The development of trade relations using TIR with Southeast Asia can also lead to more economic development in every country along the road.
Ultimately, the TIR system gives the confidence to open new routes. For entrepreneurs, drivers, shippers and the public, this creates convenience, well-being and economic growth.