Freedom of transit and transit facilities play a key role in the overall development of landlocked developing countries. It is important for those countries to have access to and from the sea, in accordance with applicable international law, in order to fully integrate into the global trading system.
Harmonization, simplification and standardization of rules and documentation should be promoted, with the full and effective implementation of international conventions on transport and transit and bilateral, subregional and regional agreements. Bilateral provisions should be no less favourable than what is provided for in the international conventions standards and best practices. The World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade Facilitation should further guide the work in this area. Cooperation on fundamental transit policies, laws and regulations between landlocked developing countries and their transit neighbours is crucial for the effective and integrated solution to cross-border trade and transit transport problems. This cooperation should be promoted on the basis of the mutual interests of both landlocked and transit developing countries. Effective participation of key stakeholders, both public and private, is important to improve transit facilitation. It is important to promote free movement of people between landlocked developing countries and their transit neighbours through development and implementation of simplified and harmonized visa systems for drivers involved in international transport (freight and passengers).
Specific objectives are:
(a) To reduce travel time along corridors with the aim of allowing transit cargo to move 300-400 kilometres per 24 hours;
(b) To significantly reduce the time spent at land borders;
(c) To significantly improve intermodal connectivity with the aim of ensuring efficient transfers from rail to road and vice versa and from port to rail and/or road and vice versa.
Actions by the landlocked developing countries and transit countries are:
(a) To endeavour to accede to and ratify in a timely fashion relevant international, regional and subregional conventions and other legal instruments related to transit transport and trade facilitation;
(b) To ensure effective implementation of international and regional conventions and bilateral agreements on transit transport and trade facilitation as applicable, also with a view to reducing transport prices and time;
(c) To enhance coordination and cooperation of national agencies responsible for border and customs controls and procedures between them and with the respective agencies in transit countries. In this regard, transit countries are encouraged to share information with landlocked developing countries regarding any change in regulations and procedures governing transit policies as early as possible before their entry into force, in order to enable traders and other interested parties to become acquainted with them;
(d) To create an effective bilateral or regional mechanism, as appropriate, to address challenges and bottlenecks in the implementation of bilateral, regional or multilateral agreements and avoid maintaining, seeking or adopting bilateral or regional arrangements establishing quotas or other quantitative restrictions to international transit;
(e) To promote simplification, transparency and harmonization of legal and administrative regulations and requirements related to transit systems by all modes
of transit transport, including border crossings, consular services, customs procedures and removal of internal checkpoints;
(f) To develop effective logistics systems by aligning incentives for efficient transport and transit operations, promoting competition and phasing out anti- competitive practices such as cartels and queuing systems wherever possible;
(g) To promote involvement of road, rail and inland waterway transport business associations in public-private partnership projects, exchange knowledge and implement transit cooperation initiatives and practices that have worked well in various regions around the world;
(h) To collaborate on exchanging trade and transport data with a view to conducting cross-border transactions faster and more efficiently;
(i) All landlocked developing countries should formulate national transit policies and establish appropriate national mechanisms with the participation of all relevant stakeholders.
Actions by development partners are:
(a) To support landlocked and transit developing countries in the implementation of international conventions and agreements relating to transit facilitation and initiatives that promote transit cooperation, reduce transit costs and establish smooth logistic arrangements;
(b) To assist landlocked and transit developing countries to establish multilateral sustainable and efficient transit transport regimes involving public and private stakeholders and encourage and support the sharing of best practices related to experiences, policies and initiatives;
(c) To encourage regional and subregional organizations to assist with technical and financial support to the landlocked developing countries and transit countries to implement initiatives that promote transit cooperation.