Last reviewed 22 February 2021

A truck arriving into the UK from Poland earlier this month will have been welcomed for its load of essential medical supplies but, according to the International Road Transport Union (IRU), its journey also carried a wider significance.

The journey was also used to promote the TIR system to firms who continue to struggle with Brexit paperwork, delays and a shortage of customs brokers and transit guarantees.

TIR, combining a customs declaration and guarantee in one secure document (the TIR carnet), has continuously operated in the UK, Europe and beyond for more than 70 years, the IRU explained.

“With a sense of back to the future,” it went on, “transport operators are now returning to the TIR system to smooth transports across the new customs border.”

The Polish Association of International Road Transporters (ZMPD, a member of the IRU) and transport operator Sachs Trans organised the shipment of high-value goods in a special promotional vehicle showcasing the benefits of the system.

ZMPD reported that the truck carrying a sealed load of medical supplies, with a TIR carnet in the cabin and a blue TIR plate on the back of the trailer, arrived in Ashford, “after speeding through customs”.

Supported by another IRU member, the Road Haulage Association (RHA), this journey was intended to demonstrate a simple, cost-effective and easily accessible way for all transport operators, shippers and freight forwarders to manage the new customs border between the EU and the UK.

IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto said: “Amidst the pandemic, and its economic consequences, it is more important than ever to keep supply chains flowing quickly and efficiently. This special shipment of essential medical supplies to the UK shows once again that TIR works.”