The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted major constraints to trucking operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Road-focused freight systems, operational connectivity deficiencies, inconsistencies in technical standards, coupled with well-established cargo consolidation practices, limited inventories and just-in-time delivery have negatively impacted the resilience of international supply chains, resulting in led to a shortage of goods and imbalances in the delivery of goods.
At the same time, the pandemic highlighted the critical link between the transport and logistics industry and the pandemic response, as evidenced by efforts to keep borders open to trade throughout the crisis. The pandemic has also pushed further transport facilitation and digitalization. Many countries started accepting electronic documents during the pandemic; launched new automated and digital technologies; promoted contactless processing and delivery; and took many other measures.
A recent ESCAP review of existing practices confirms that solutions for seamless and intelligent connectivity along the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railways network already exist at the policy and technical level, and many have already been implemented in other regions or subgroups of Asia-Pacific countries. region. A wide range of proven solutions can make freight transport less dependent on physical contact (non-contact) and less prone to interruptions and the cost of documentary and other checks (continuous). Implementing such solutions requires an adequate understanding of existing and emerging global standards and best practices applicable to smart transport solutions, while adapting them to regional and local needs and opportunities.
In this context, and under the UN Development Account project “Transport and Trade Connectivity in the Age of Pandemics: Non-Contact, Continuous and Shared UN Solutions”, ESCAP hosted a webinar on smart road and rail solutions for transport connectivity in the context of COVID-19. The webinar began with a broad discussion of issues between the UN and other organizations working at the global level and supplemented by the exchange of information and experience between the UN regional commissions. A more focused regional discussion was then proposed on promoting smart connectivity along the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway networks. The webinar was held in English and Russian.
On behalf of JSC NIIAT, Mikhail Nizov, Advisor to the General Director, took part in the webinar. He spoke about smart automotive solutions for transport connectivity in the context of COVID-19. Representatives of
International Transport Forum, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, UN, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, International Road Transport Union and others.