Thailand and 13 countries signed Friday the Inter-government Agreement on Dry Ports, to underscore their pledge toward achieving the shared vision of an integrated and sustainable inter-modal transport and logistics system.
The agreement, signed on the sideline of the Forum of Asian Ministers of Transport, builds on the intergovernmental agreements of the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway networks, built through the ESCAP platform. The agreement aims to promote international recognition of dry ports, facilitating investment in dry port infrastructure, improving operational efficiency and enhancing the environmental sustainability of transport.
“The benefits of economic growth have, for too long, been concentrated mainly in our prosperous coastal communities – with landlocked countries and areas facing challenges of prohibitive costs and complex logistics to get their goods and services to market, and to access regional and global production and supply chains,” said Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, UNUnder-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP at the signing ceremony. “ This Agreement today is our commitment to change that reality.”
The other countries are Armenia, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, and Vietnam.
“Dry ports are key hinterland hubs which will help us to leverage the investments we have already made in road and rail,” added Heyzer. “Together we will create transport and trade corridors of prosperity, transforming landlocked countries into land-linked centres of development.”
The agreement also signals a move to a more sustainable growth path. Dry ports create the conditions for the much-needed shift of cargo flows from road transport alone to intermodal options – using road services in combination with more energy-efficient, less polluting alternatives such as rail, short sea shipping and inland waterways.