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International Trade and Transportation

International Trade and Transportation

Three components of international transportation facilitate trade:

  • Transportation infrastructure. Concerns physical infrastructures such as terminals, vehicles, and networks. 
  • Transportation services. Concerns the complex set of services involved in the international circulation of passengers and freight.
  • Transactional environment. Concerns the complex legal, political, financial, and cultural setting in which international transport systems operate. 

International transport modes:

  • Ports and maritime shipping. The importance of maritime transportation in global freight trade in unmatchable, particularly in terms of tonnage, as it handles about 90% of the global trade. 
  • Airports and air transport. Although in terms tonnage air transportation carries an insignificant amount of freight (0.2% of total tonnage) compared with maritime transportation, its importance in terms of the total value is much more significant; 15% of the value of global trade. 
  • Road and railway modes tend to occupy a more marginal portion of international transportation since they are above all modes for national or regional transport services. Their importance is focused on their role in the “first and last miles of global distribution. Freight is mainly brought to port and airport terminals by trucking or rail. 

Trade and Customs Procedures

  • The procedures for declaring goods to customs administrations are usually based on international instruments, especially within the framework of the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1994) and the World Customs Organization’s Kyoto [Customs] Convention (WCO 1999). 
  • Where transport routes involve several countries (e.g. to landlocked countries or via global logistics hubs) customs transit procedures come into play. 
  • These might be specific to the country or countries concerned though there are efforts to simplify transit arrangements, including the TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) Convention for sealed vehicles and containers used in international shipments that have at least one leg by road (UNECE 2014).