UN seeks IRU voice in key debate on transport resilience

Transport networks around the world, both logistics supply chains and passenger mobility services, are increasingly looking at how they can become more resilient to change, such as the impacts resulting from the current pandemic.

IRU Advocacy Director Matthias Maedge spoke last week at a crucial UN Multidisciplinary Advisory Group on Transport Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis, hosted by the UN’s Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE.) 

A key topic in the discussion was the lack of co-ordinated government action in relation to transport workers being able to continue working across borders during extraordinary situations such as those resulting from Covid restrictions. 

“Governments are failing road transport workers and need to listen to international organisations including the World Health Organisation, the International Labour Organisation and IRU. Covid restrictions are disrupting supply chains in particular and exacerbating the already chronic issue of driver shortages,” said Matthias Maedge. “The driver shortage crisis, and logistics disruption, will only get worse without concerted action by governments” said Matthias Maedge, IRU Advocacy Director.

UNECE reinforced IRU’s view that road transport is an essential service and that the sector’s workers protect the economy, adding that governments therefore need to protect road transport workers.

UNCTAD, also attending the meeting, reinforced the importance of digitalisation in making transport and trade more resilient, notably mentioning eTIR as a best practice example to protect workers and empower economic development.