Asia’s Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement now operational with TIR

Asia’s Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement now operational with TIR

Pakistani transport company NLC has completed the first operation along a new TIR route connecting Pakistan to Kazakhstan via China and Kyrgyzstan.  

Using TIR, the only global transit system, two National Logistics Cell (NLC) trucks departed from Lahore (Pakistan), crossing the world’s highest border crossings, Sust (Pakistan) and Khunjerab (China), before delivering goods to Almaty (Kazakhstan) via the Turgat border between China and Kyrgyzstan. 

This is the first TIR operation transiting China, making the Quadrilateral Agreement on Traffic in Transit (QTTA) operational under TIR. The QTTA transit trade deal was signed by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan in 1995.

China and Pakistan issued a joint press statement on 20 October 2023 announcing that the Khunjerab crossing will now be open year-round. Previously, Khunjerab was closed from November to March. They also agreed to step up infrastructure construction, passage conditions and the management of the Khunjerab pass.

Since 2021, NLC has opened several corridors under TIR, including Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul, Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan, and China-Pakistan-Afghanistan. All three cut transport times by up to 80%, on average, compared to traditional routes. 

What is TIR? 

The TIR system enables goods to be shipped from a country of origin to a country of destination in sealed load compartments that are controlled by customs via a multilateral, mutually recognised system.  

TIR streamlines procedures at borders, reducing the administrative burden for customs authorities and for transport and logistics companies. It cuts border waiting times significantly, saving time and money. 

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