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IRU marks 75th anniversary with eye on future of road transport

The International Road Transport Union represents 3.5 million road transport companies operating mobility and logistics services

IRU, the world road transport organisation, celebrates its 75th anniversary on March 23 2023, eyeing mobility and logistics opportunities that lie ahead. The International Road Transport Union, the voice of over 3.5 million road transport companies operating mobility and logistics services, was founded in Geneva on March 23 1948.

In the wake of the new United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, established the previous year, IRU was created by eight national road transport associations to partner with the United Nations and other governmental bodies to rebuild Europe’s war-ravaged transport and trade networks.

In the decades since, IRU has expanded to all corners of the globe, representing, via its member national road transport associations in almost 80 countries, the entire commercial passenger and goods road transport ecosystem, from small family firms to major multinationals.

IRU President Radu Dinescu said, “IRU has come a long way in 75 years, from getting Europe’s trade moving again in the late 1940s by building trust among former enemies, to today’s work on worldwide issues ranging from safety and digitalisation to driver shortages and decarbonisation.

“IRU is the global voice of a sector that truly does keep the world moving, day and night. Our mission looking ahead is to make mobility networks and supply chains even safer, more efficient and greener.”

One focus of the celebrations is the TIR system, created by IRU in its first year to speed trucks more efficiently across Europe’s war-torn borders. The system is still managed by IRU, now under the TIR Convention, and is today the United Nations’ longest continuous public-private partnership.

Working closely with its members, as well as the UN and other global and regional authorities, IRU has pioneered many global road transport standards, from transporting dangerous goods to digitalising the legal framework for road freight operations. Many have gone on to become UN legal instruments over the decades.

IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto said, “Not every organisation reaches 75 years. Achieving this extraordinary milestone is a testament to IRU’s members and our many partners in both public and private spheres.

“This IRU family is made up of millions of companies, associations and people across the planet who, with us, are dedicated to advancing our industry and its crucial role in making the world a better place.”

IRU’s 75th anniversary will be marked with a series of special events, starting on May 12 2023 in Geneva. A special 75th anniversary campaign will be launched on the same day, highlighting “New Industry Shapers”: unique individuals and innovators from all over the world who are leading the road transport sector into the future.


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