As head of the International Road Transport Union, Martin Marmy is fighting to bring peace and prosperity - by improving conditions in the transport industry.
Photo: Yann Mingard/Panos Pictures
"We are working together for a better future globally, a future that will be brought about by the increasing wealth and prosperity road transport helps create", says Martin Marmy, Secretary General for the IRU (International Road Transport Union).
office in the heart of Geneva, International Road Transport Union
Secretary General Martin Marmy
surveys the world - literally.
On the wall is a king-size map of the planet, put there to serve as a permanent reminder that the IRU exists to represent the views of its 180 members worldwide.
And while achieving consensus on that scale may sound like a recipe for Mission Impossible, Marmy
has a clear vision to guide him.
Road transport key to stability
"We are working together for a better future globally, a future that will be brought about by the increasing wealth and prosperity that road transport helps create," he
"Sustainable development is obviously paramount, for without it our children - and their children - will have nothing," says Marmy
"Here we define our approach through what we call our '3 i's' strategy, which is to say, innovation, incentives and infrastructure."
explains, has to do with technology to make vehicles safer and reduce their environmental impact.
The incentives part comes from governments, to encourage more rapid introductions of better, safer technologies and practices.
And infrastructure - safe and sufficient infrastructure, that is - is a prerequisite for the road transport industry.
Road transport without hurdles
explains, is about making trade happen as efficiently as possible.
"In our global economy, transport operators must be allowed to move freely - not get held up at borders for days on end for no good reason," Marmy
"That is plainly absurd."
Marmy's frustration is illustrated by the fact that back in 1982 each European Union member state and every nation bordering the EU signed and ratified the United Nations Economic Committee for Europe (UNECE) convention for the Harmonisation of Frontier Controls for Goods.
Breaking down barriers
"Unfortunately, the rules are seldom applied properly, either within the EU or in certain bordering countries," Marmy
"Moreover, many of the 'old' EU countries and more and more of the new ones now are introducing neo-protectionist measures to keep foreign trucks out.
For example, before January 2008, a Ukrainian professional driver could be required to submit up to 30 documents to obtain a visa to transport goods in EU territory - and that visa was valid for just for six weeks!
So we have to break down these barriers."
This is beginning to happen, Marmy
"During 2008 six amendments to the UNECE convention will be applied as a result of work undertaken by the IRU and its member associations," he
"I have a dream that all of us - politicians and the public alike - will come to appreciate that the truck is at the centre of human needs," Marmy
IRU - 60 years of service
Formed in 1948 to assist in the re-building of war-torn Europe by implementing the United Nations'
key road transport facilitation instruments, the IRU(International Road Transport Union) has developed into a global operation headquartered in Geneva with regional liaison committees and dedicated permanent delegations in Brussels, Moscow and Istanbul.
IRU's 180 members cover diverse interests, ranging from passenger and road transport associations to vehicle manufacturers in 73 countries worldwide.
IRU has a permanent staff of 130 led by Secretary General Martin Marmy.