Transport is the most important component of the industrial and social infrastructure of any country. Railways, sea routes, air corridors, and roads unite all regions of the world, which is a necessary condition for international trade. They connect different nations, being the material basis for ensuring international economic relations.
The transport system provides conditions for economic growth, increasing the competitiveness of all regions and the quality of life of the population. Access to safe and high-quality transport services determines the efficiency of work and development of production, business, and social sphere. Therefore, such organizations as the Intergovernmental Council of Road Workers (ICRW) play an important role in promoting the dialogue between nations.
Why ICRW Is Useful?
ICRW promotes the development and improvement of the public highways network, creating conditions for effective usage of the transit potential of the CIS member states. The purpose of the organization is to stimulate governments to maintain a coordinated road policy for everyone to take advantage of it. Below you can find the reasons why ICRW efforts may be useful for society:
1. They correspond to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Many developing countries still lack basic infrastructure, including roads. For example, in many African countries, there are a few high-quality roads, which reduces enterprise productivity by 40%. Considering the huge area with different landscapes that CIS countries occupy, it is crucial to provide the quality of the routes that connect important economic zones. Joint efforts and collaboration within ICRW allow the participants to find the common ground.
2. They help to eliminate the consequences of the global COVID-19 crisis
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for resilient infrastructure. As the Asian Development Bank notes, critical infrastructure in the region remains far from ideal in many states, despite the rapid economic growth and development that has occurred in the region over the past decade. The additional investment will be required to make infrastructure resilient to natural disasters and climate change, as well as to accelerate economic recovery, create jobs, and reduce poverty.
3. They provide better coordination between CIS states
Large trans-Asian infrastructure projects will not be effective without proper coordination between governments regarding the design, construction, reconstruction, repair, and maintenance of highways and road structures included in the list of international highways in the CIS region. ICRW may serve as a platform for giving recommendations for the joint policy of the CIS member states and their further implementation.
4. The demand for transportation by roads increases
Road transport accounts for 55% of the total volume of cargo transportation in CIS, and 44% of the commercial cargo transportation volume. The share of buses in the total volume of passenger traffic by public transport is 59.9%. In recent years, the share of transportation by rail has been declining, and by road — growing, which indicates an increase in the competitiveness of road transport in certain segments of the market.
5. Disproportion in the development of regions
A disproportion of territorial development of transport infrastructure is a serious problem for CIS countries. The most significant differences are between the European and Asian parts (Siberia, Eastern Asia). Differences in the transport development of regions are becoming unacceptable. Due to the insufficient development of transport, the joint efforts of CIS countries may solve this problem.
One of the essential features of road transport is its high demand for short distances. Its competitiveness is quite high for the transportation of goods up to 1000 km. The main transit traffic in the CIS states is formed during transportation along the China — Western Europe — China route. The remoteness of Chinese and European consumers significantly narrows the scope of the use of vehicles for transit. At the same time, the implementation of the transit potential of the CIS countries can be carried out not only through transportation from one of its external borders to another but also from the external border of one to another CIS member state.
Over long distances, the main advantages of road transport are:
- door-to-door delivery of cargo;
- shortening the time for picking and sending cargo;
- flexibility in determining routes;
- relatively high delivery speed;
- convenient for the shipper and recipient;
- competitive market conditions for the formation of the cost of transportation;
- safety of cargo;
- fewer requirements for packaging.
As you can see, the cooperation of CIS member states within the ICRW platform will be beneficial to all participants.