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The International Road Transport Union


History and Mission

The International Road Transport Union (IRU) was founded in Geneva on 23 March 1948, one year after the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), to expedite the reconstruction of war-torn Europe through facilitated international trade by road transport.

The IRU started as a group of national road transport associations from eight western European countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

A global industry federation of national Member Associations and Associate Members in 72 countries on the 5 continents, the IRU today represents the interests of bus, coach, taxi and truck operators worldwide, from large fleets to individual owner-operators.
As such, the IRU has a truly global vision and acts effectively at the international, regional, national and even local level with public authorities by implementing its motto, "Working together for a better future".

Mission & activities

Mission and Activities

The IRU, as the global voice of the road transport industry, works towards achieving the twin goals of Sustainable Development and Facilitation of road transport worldwide. However, the IRU is not merely an industry interest group but defends the interests of economy and society as a whole.

Indeed, the road transport industry is the backbone of strong economies and dynamic societies. It is therefore legitimate and indispensable to maintain a dialogue with all institutions and stakeholders that can impact the sector's future growth, innovation capacity and investment decisions, in order to represent and safeguard an industry that is vital to economic growth, social development and, ultimately, prosperity and which plays a crucial role in everyone’s life by meeting the demand for the sustainable mobility of both people and goods.

The IRU’s mission is therefore to facilitate road transport worldwide and ensure its sustainable development, notably by using vocational training to promote professional competence in the sector and improve the quality of services it offers.

It defends customers’ freedom of choice between transport modes and the equal regulatory treatment of all modes, and promotes cooperation and complementarity with all other modes of transport.

The IRU is involved in activities which include, but are not limited to:
  • partnership among all its active and associate members and with related organisations and industries to define, develop and promote policies of common interest;
  • monitoring all activities, legislation, policies and events that impact the road transport industry, responding to and cooperating with all actors involved;
  • strategic reflection on global challenges of energy, competition and social responsibility, drawing on the strengths and expertise of its members channeled through the IRU Commissions and Working Parties;
  • dialogue with intergovernmental bodies, international organisations and all other stakeholders concerned by the road transport industry, including the public at large;
  • cooperation with policy makers, legislators and opinion-makers, in order to contribute to informed and effective legislation, striking the right balance between the needs and interests of all;
  • public-private partnerships with relevant authorities to implement legal instruments such as the TIR Convention under UN mandate or concrete transnational projects such as the reopening of the Silk Road;
  • communication of the role and importance of the road transport industry, of its position on various issues and of reliable data and information;
  • provision of practical services and information, to road transport operators, such as the latest fuel prices, waiting times at borders, secure parking areas, professional training, legislative developments, legal assistance, etc.
  • training to promote professional competence in the sector, improve the quality of services it offers and ensure compliance of road transport training standards with international, legislation, through the IRU Academy.

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