Road freight in ASEAN: New COVID-19 Response and Recovery Guidelines

Diplomatic Correspondent

18th February, 2021 09:39:47 printer

Road freight in ASEAN: New COVID-19 Response and Recovery Guidelines

The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states will have new tools to help them address issues related to road freight transport caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, ASEAN has approved guidelines to support the response and recovery of road freight transport among its Member States in the context of the pandemic, said the UN ESCAP.

The guidelines will support Member States to develop national and regional plans that focus on resilient and sustainable road freight connectivity.

They will provide recommendations for responses to the pandemic crisis in the three priority areas, namely: (i) transport workers’ safety and training; (ii) preserving connectivity for efficient and resilient supply chains; and (iii) building back better through digital, resilient and decarbonized transport connectivity in immediate, medium and long-term framework to support the development of cross-border road freight transport in the region.

Specifically, the guidelines: categorise policy responses to Covid-19 related to transport connectivity and resilience; propose principles for the implementation of policies and measures; suggest a communication mechanism for the timely exchange of relevant information, and provide insights for the creation of a real-time monitoring tool to gauge the impact of policy interventions on transport connectivity, capacity and resilience.

Developed with the assistance of the International Transport Forum (ITF) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the COVID-19 Recovery Guidelines for Resilient and Sustainable International Road Freight Transport Connectivity in ASEAN were approved ad-referendum by the ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting (STOM) on January 11, 2021.

In response to the Guidelines, UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana said transport connectivity is now as vital as ever. While we commend the great efforts made by the region to keep freight flowing across borders during the pandemic.

Secretary-General of ASEAN, Lim Jock Hoi said the Guidelines support ASEAN’s efforts in improving the stability of road freight flows in the region toward longer-term resilience, preparedness, and competitiveness of ASEAN.

Chairman of STOM, Chhieng Pich noted that the completion of the Guidelines is timely to support ASEAN Member States in establishing their regional and national road transport connectivity recovery plans from the Covid-19 pandemic’s disruption.

ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim said the collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat and UNESCAP on this project has been outstanding, and a shining example of how international cooperation can translate into positive impact on the lives of our citizens.