Logistics key to supporting humanitarian response

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The World Food Programme (WFP) and its Global Logistics Cluster invited IRU to outline the impact of Covid-19 on global logistics and provide guidance on business continuity.

The WFP Logistics Cluster supports global humanitarian emergency response, including access to common logistics services. It brings together ten major UN humanitarian agencies, including UNHCR, UNICEF and the World Health Organization, and works closely with other international organisations such as the Red Cross and the World Bank. 

With its next big challenge being the distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine, experts from humanitarian organisations, heads of logistic companies and key opinion leaders came together to assess the impact of Covid-19  on the transport industry. Participants also exchanged views on how border crossings and customs processes can be optimised through digitalisation and what the sector will look like post pandemic. 

Solutions for smoother transit 

With a view to ensure the continuity of logistics flows, which are key in delivering humanitarian assistance in the fastest, most efficient and cost-effective way possible, IRU has been working with national authorities, international organisations and members across the globe to implement the UN TIR Convention and its IT tools. 

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

The TIR system and its IT tools limit physical contact and borders, making them an efficient response to the pandemic.  

Global goods transport facing the challenge 

At the same time, Covid-19 and the resulting restrictions on the movement of goods have impacted road transport companies and led to turnover losses forecasted to exceed EUR 580 billion for 2020 globally. 

Without government support, this puts at risk the fundamental transport services provided by these firms to humanitarian organisations, to help those most affected by poverty, natural disasters and conflicts around the world, including the health crises that pre-date the current pandemic. 

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