IRU NELTI home page


The spectacular development of Asian economies is bringing unprecedented changes in the transport links between Europe and Asia. They imply an increased trade and congestion on traditional maritime trading routes and the desertification of trade in ports’ hinterlands and landlocked countries. New routes are therefore created with new actors and new organisational methods.

Over the past 15 years, the IRU has been focusing its efforts and resources on reopening the ancient Silk Road in order to help all the businesses located along these new routes in landlocked countries to produce and to trade between one another and with the rest of the world, hence creating jobs, boosting GDP growth and increasing prosperity. 

IRU’s New Eurasian Land Transport Initiative (NELTI) is an essential next step in the IRU strategy of interconnecting businesses in Asia and Europe all along the Eurasian landmass to all major world markets, as well as increasing public and business awareness of the huge opportunities created by this land bridge.

Launched in September 2008 with the support of major international organisations and national Governments, the NELTI consists of commercial deliveries of industrial and consumer goods across the Eurasian landmass, performed by independent transport companies from Eurasian countries along five different routes:

NELTI routes

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Monitored data collected en route by NELTI drivers -  applying internationally recognised UNESCAP methodolology for data collection - on road conditions, waiting times at border-crossing points, quality of road infrastructure, administrative barriers etc., are subsequently analysed by the Dutch Transport Research Institute (NEA) to develop road maps identifying the issues to be solved and the measures required to reduce the time and cost of road transport haulage between China and Europe.

NELTI monitoring has unveiled a high competitive potential for the development of the NELTI northern, central and southern routes.  However, the data has also highlighted that 40 % of road transport time along the routes of the Silk Road is lost at borders due to inappropriate border crossing procedures which impede trade growth along the entire Eurasian landmass. In addition, approximately 30% of the transport costs were due to unofficial payments, borne by the hauliers en route and at border crossing points.

IRU NELTI creates new business opportunities for everyone!

  • Road transport and forwarding companies – Finding new business partners, expanding volumes and increasing scope of operations;
  • Manufacturing companies – Saving time when delivering goods to customers, increasing competitive capacity, enhancing your production efficiency;
  • Companies supplying complementary services – Developing activities and profitability through increased volume and geographical coverage of services provided (insurance, technical maintenance, repairs and fuel stations, motels, public utilities, etc.);
  • Transit countries – Interconnecting businesses to all major markets, thus creating jobs, boosting GDP growth and increasing prosperity.
  • United Nations and other international organisations – Furthering the achievements of the UN Millennium Development Goals, laying an efficient alternative route for goods delivering between Europe and Asia and stimulating development of landlocked countries as per the Almaty Programme of Action.



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