About TIR

Global, seamless and certain

Building economies, driving prosperity

IRU started the TIR System in the late 1940s, helping a war-torn Europe to rebuild devastated trade and commercial links.

By 1959, the successful system led to the United Nations TIR Convention, still in place today with almost 70 contracting parties – nations and multinational bodies – on four continents, and overseen by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

With the continued expansion of TIR, and the benefits it has brought across the Eurasian landmass, many countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America are now joining the system.

TIR, which stands for Transports Internationaux Routiers, is now one of the United Nations’ most successful public-private partnerships.

Under UN mandate, IRU manages the international guarantee chain, produces and distributes TIR carnets through IRU member associations, manages IT and administration processes, and develops new and innovative resources and services that work with and alongside TIR to help facilitate trade and freight transport.

Efficient and fast

With TIR, goods are contained in sealed load compartments, and the contents are detailed in a TIR Carnet. This essential document accompanies the driver and the cargo along its journey.

Customs simply have to verify the Carnet and that the seals are intact, rather than spend time to open the container and physically check the load, and report the transit via a state-of-the art computer system.


A TIR container is securely closed with a customs seal, so border officials know that the cargo has not been tampered with at any point along its journey. They can be sure that what is in the container is exactly what is on the TIR Carnet.

Customs officials can check the validity of a TIR Carnet at any time, with Real-Time SafeTIR, integrated into the particular custom authority’s system, or through IRU’s TIR Customs Portal.

At certain points of a journey, under the control of Customs, the seal can be broken and new goods loaded as per the TIR Carnet declaration with a new seal put in place.

This makes TIR the safest and most reliable way to transport goods around the world, with the legal certainty that comes from the United Nations TIR Convention and IRU’s international financial guarantees.


Faster border crossings for truck drivers means lower costs for transport operators, and the customs authorities that inspect the shipments.

TIR also dramatically reduces administrative and financial burdens with one international guarantee for a transport operator, replacing costly guarantees in each country of transit.

Customs authorities also benefit from the international guarantee, covering the risk of non-payment of customs duties and taxes.