TIR has its origin in an agreement drawn up in 1949 under the aegis of the Economic Commission of Europe between a small number of European countries . The success of this limited scheme led to the negotiation of the TIR Convention , 1959 . It was fully revised in 1975 to take account of practical experience in operating the system and to give effect to technical advances and changed requirements . Although the system has evolved , the essential characteristics remain the same .
The Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) is a multilateral treaty that was concluded at Geneva on 14 November 1975 to simplify and harmonise the administrative formalities of international road transport. (TIR stands for "Transports Internationaux Routiers" or "International Road Transports".) The convention was adopted under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). As of May 2013, there are 68 parties to the Convention, including 67 states and the European Union.
The TIR Convention establishes an international customs transit system with maximum facility to move goods:
- in sealed vehicles or containers;
- from a customs office of departure in one country to a customs office of destination in another country;
- without requiring extensive and time-consuming border checks at intermediate borders;
- at a cost-effective price;
- while, at the same time, providing customs authorities with the required security and guarantees.
To ensure that goods may travel with the minimum of interference enroute and yet safeguards to customs administration in all countries of transit the TIR contains four basic requirements .
-- The goods should travel in secure vehicle or containers .
-- That duties and taxes at risk should throughout the journey be covered by an internationally valid guarantee.
-- That the goods should be accompanied by an internationally accepted carnet taken into use in the country of departure and serving as a control document in the country of dispatch , transit and destination .
-- That custom control measures taken in the country of departure should be accepted by the countries of transit and destination .
The TIR system not only covers customs transit by road but a combination is possible with other modes of transport (e.g., rail, inland waterway, and even maritime transport), as long as at least one part of the total transport is made by road.
To date, more than 40,000 international transport operators had been authorised (by their respective competent national authorities) to access the TIR system, using more than 3.2 million TIR carnets per year.
In light of the expected increase in world trade, further enlargement of its geographical scope and the forthcoming introduction of an electronic TIR system (so-called "eTIR-system"), it is expected that the TIR system will continue to remain the only truly global customs transit system.
Due to the large blue-and-white TIR plates carried by vehicles using the TIR convention, the word "TIR" entered many languages as a neologism, becoming the default generic name of a large truck. Special provisions apply to heavy and bulky goods which can not be carried in normal Transport .