The Ministerial Conference on Transport held in the Republic of Korea in November 2006 resolved to give priority to promoting the intermodal interfaces which, together with the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway networks, would support the realization of the vision of an international integrated intermodal transport and logistics system in Asia-Pacific and create efficient region-wide transport and logistics system that match new intra-regional trade flows. These intermodal interfaces such as dry ports or inland container depots would serve as efficient cross-over points where freight can switch modes without delays or damage. Recognizing the value of such intermodal facilities, the 66th Commission session requested the ESCAP to work towards the development of an Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports. After the negotiation process and the development of the draft Agreement, the final text was adopted by the 69th Commission Session on 1 May 2013. It came into force on 23 April 2016.
To date, the Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports has 16 Parties and covers more than 245 dry ports in Asia. The Agreement provides a regional legal basis to push the development of intermodal facilities, including dry ports, to the top of the region’s transport agenda.
A Working Group on Dry Ports was established to implement the Agreement and meets biennially. It considers the implementation of the Agreement and any amendments proposed by the Parties and serves as a platform for discussions and information exchange on relevant matters.
ESCAP is implementing capacity-building activities to assist countries in establishing and operating dry ports as part of a region-wide effort to develop an efficient logistics industry. As part of its activities supporting the implementation of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports, ESCAP prepared a Regional Framework for the Development, Design, Planning and Operation of Dry Ports of International Importance. The Regional Framework identifies fundamental issues related to the development and operation of dry ports and for each of these issues proposes a related target and provides guidance on ways to reach each target. Promotion of the Regional Framework was supported by ESCAP Resolution 74/2 adopted in 2018.