International road transport full of risks, says ILO report

Kathmandu, October 20:

The excessive border delays, inefficient or corrupt border officials and drivers’ vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS put the international road transport sector at risk, said a new report of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Tripartite Meeting on Labour and Social Issues arising from Problems of Cross-border Mobility of International Drivers in the Road, discussed at Geneva from October 23 to 26, pointed out the poor infrastructure, inefficient organisation of official procedures and unprofessional border officials not only negatively affected the living and working conditions of international drivers at border crossings worldwide but also have negative economic impacts The new report quoted an ILO transport expert, Marios Meletiou, as saying: “On the roads and border crossings of Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia, issues such as current visa policies are creating the primary stumbling block for drivers, including restrictions on their right to work.”

Besides, the unofficial payments and harassment represent a major issue for drivers, employers, governments and even consumers, the report states. Drivers and road transport companies absorb the main expenditure but governments lose duties on goods and costs are often passed on throughout the supply chain to other businesses and ultimately the consumer.

The report cites examples based on a recent study that shows how inadequate infrastructure capacity reportedly cost billions in estimated lost gross output and tens of thousands of jobs.