Physical Trade Infrastructure - UNECE

Physical Trade Infrastructure - UNECE

Information dated: 2017

Eva Molnar,Director

Transport Division,

E-mail: eva.molnar [at] unece.org ()

Sub-programme on transport

The UNECE objective under the subprogramme on transport is to facilitate the international movement of persons and goods by inland transport modes, and to improve safety and security in the transport sector.


Olivier Kervella

Chief, Dangerous Goods and Special Cargoes Section

E-mail: olivier.kervella [at] unece.org ()

Transport of dangerous goods

The UNECE provides secretariat services to the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. This Committee elaborates recommendations which are contained in two publications updated every two years: the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) (“Purple Book”) and the Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (“Orange Book”).

The GHS serves as a basis for harmonization of all national, regional and international legal instruments containing chemical classification and labeling requirements in different regulatory contexts (transport of dangerous goods; safe use of chemicals at work, consumer protection, environment protection, etc.). Examples of such instruments are:

  • in the European Union, Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 on classification, labeling, and packaging of substances and mixtures;
  • in the United States of America, OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200); and
  • in Japan, national standard JIS Z 7253 on hazard communication on chemicals based on GHS labeling and safety data sheets.

The Orange Book contains the basic prescriptions for the safe carriage of dangerous goods by road, rail, inland waterways, sea, and air. They serve as the basis for the harmonization of the various legal instruments governing the transport of dangerous goods by different modes of transport, e.g. the IMO International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code and the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. The UNECE itself ensures the effective implementation of the UN Recommendations by administering legal instruments governing the inland transport of dangerous goods, notably the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) and the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways (ADN), some of which, such as ADR, are opened to all UN Member States and count parties outside the UNECE region.

To facilitate the operation and better implementation of these legal instruments in the region, workshops and seminars are organized by the UNECE, with the assistance of the Secretariat and national experts. Assistance is also provided outside the region with the support of other regional commissions, UN departments or specialized agencies concerned with chemical or transport safety such as ESCAP, IAEA, ICAO, IMO, UNEP, ILO, WHO and UNITAR.

Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations

UNECE develops new global applicable vehicle regulations, harmonizes existing regulations, and amends and updates current United Nations regulations in the field of road vehicle construction. The objective of these regulations is to provide procedures for establishing uniform prescriptions regarding new motor vehicles and equipment and for reciprocal acceptance of approvals issued under the respective regulations. Issues addressed relate to the active safety of vehicles (crash avoidance), the passive safety of vehicles (crashworthiness), environmental and general safety, and special technical considerations. Under the international agreement on periodic technical inspections, UNECE develops rules for technical inspections of road vehicles aiming at keeping vehicles in a safe and environmental friendly condition throughout their lifetime. To facilitate the operation and better implementation of these regulations and rules, workshops and seminars are organized by UNECE, with the assistance of the Secretariat and national experts.


Walter Nissler

Chief, Vehicle Regulations and Transport Innovations Section

E-mail:walter.nissler [at] unece.org

Intelligent Transport Systems

UNECE provides the platform for shaping the legal framework and ensuring the safe introduction of future technologies. The 2012 Road Map for promoting ITS leads the work on the implementation of ITS and ICT technology in the different areas of vehicle automation, automated driving, road traffic safety, road transport, infrastructure, transport of dangerous goods and inland water transport in a holistic way.

To ensure seamless connections throughout Europe, including access to markets, UNECE coordinates work on a Trans-European Motorways (TEM) and Trans-European Railway (TER) projects in Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe. The Euro-Asian Transport Links (EATL) project was initiated with the same objective – to offer a viable inland alternative to traditional maritime links between Asia and Europe and facilitate growing trade between two continents. TEM, TER, and EATL projects are sub-regional and inter-regional cooperation frameworks for countries in Central, Eastern, South-Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia that aim at developing coherent road, rail and intermodal transport infrastructure networks and enhancing transport facilitation. In the framework of the TEM and TER Master plans, a consistent and realistic short, medium and long-term investment strategy for the development of road and rail networks in participating countries has been developed on the basis of a methodology allowing evaluation and prioritization of infrastructure and investment needs. Similarly, in the framework of the EATL project, the UNECE has developed methodologies and procedures providing for the identification of the main Euro-Asian land transport routes and the prioritization of projects along these routes, and in the follow-up, phases explored the operationalization of these routes and concrete benefits they can create in Euro-Asian trade relations. Numerous capacity building workshops and seminars have been organized by the UNECE to familiarize countries in the region with these methodologies and implementation procedures.


Eva Molnar

Director, Transport Division

E-mail: eva.molnar [at] unece.org ()

TIR customs transit and border crossing facilitation

Transport and border crossing facilitation is an important part of UNECE activities in the field of transport and is a key factor in trade facilitation. In this respect, the UNECE provides the following services:

  • Facilitates cooperation and coordination of between Governments;
  • Monitors the application of several international legal instruments in these areas, such as the TIR and the Harmonization conventions;
  • Supports the work of Contracting Parties on simplification and standardization of customs transit procedures;
  • Facilitates the harmonization and reduction of formalities, as well as the reduction of the number and duration of border controls, both at national and international levels.

To facilitate the operation and better implementation of these legal instruments in the region, national and regional workshops and seminars are organized by the UNECE, with the assistance of the secretariat and national experts.

Under the auspices of UNECE, Contracting Parties to the TIR Convention are preparing, in cooperation with the private sector, a computerized version of this unique global customs transit system. After having agreed on the concepts and standards that will govern the new eTIR procedure, pilot projects have started to prove the practical feasibility of a fully computerized procedure that will further facilitate international trade and transport. In parallel, Contracting Parties are preparing the legal provisions which will complement the TIR Convention and allow governments and the private sector to transition from paper and stamps to a smooth and secure exchange of electronic messages.