MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines ranked an impressive 44th in a new World Bank logistics survey that covered 155 economies worldwide.
Germany has emerged top and Singapore second in the survey that measures how efficiently countries trade their goods around the world.
Sweden was adjudged the next most trade-friendly nation in the study released Friday and hailed by the Washington-based institution as “the most comprehensive world survey of international freight forwarders and express carriers.”
The World Bank said the survey ranked countries through logistics performance indicators (LPI) composed of issues involving customs, infrastructure, international shipments, logistics competence, tracking and tracing, and timeliness.
The Philipines’ ranking places it on the upper half of nations performing well in terms of trade logistics.
In terms of customs performance, the Philippines ranked 54th, infrastructure (64th), international shipments (20th), logistics competence (47th), tracking and tracing (44th), and timeliness (42nd).
“Economic competitiveness is relentlessly driving countries to strengthen performance, and improving trade logistics is a smart way to deliver more efficiencies, lower costs and added economic growth,” said World Bank president Robert Zoellick.
“Streamlining the connections among markets, manufacturers, farmers and consumers offers tremendous growth and investment opportunities and should be a top focus for developing country growth strategies,” he added.
High income economies dominated the top logistics rankings, with most of them occupying important places in global and regional supply chains, the study showed.
By contrast, the 10 worst performing countries were all from the low and lower income groups.
“Although the study shows a substantial logistics gap between rich countries and most developing countries, it finds positive trends in some areas essential to logistics performance and trade,” the World Bank said.
“Some of them include the modernization of customs, use of information technology, and development of private logistics services,” it said in a statement.
Aside from the Philippines, the World Bank said other significant “over-performers” among developing countries were China, which emerged 27th in ranking, India (47), Uganda (66), Vietnam (53), Thailand (35), and South Africa (28).
By region, South Africa was the top performer from Africa; China from East Asia; Poland from Central and Eastern Europe; Brazil from Latin America; Lebanon from the Middle East; and India from South Asia.
Uganda, along with Brazil, China and Bangladesh, moved up from their rankings in the first 2007 survey as part of an overall trend toward better trade logistics.
“Following our first survey in 2007, many developing countries have improved their capacity to connect to international markets, which is a key ingredient for competitiveness and economic growth. But if developing countries want to come out of the crisis in a stronger and more competitive position, they need to invest in better trade logistics,” the study said.
Logistics performance is heavily influenced by the quality of public sector institutions and the effective coordination of border clearance processes among all border management agencies.
In this area, customs performs better than many other agencies, pointing to the need for border management reforms. In low performing countries, on average, half of the containers are physically inspected and one container out of seven at least twice.
Other areas for improvement include better transport policies, increasing competition in trade-related services such as trucking, freight forwarding and railways; and better trade-related infrastructure.
For many low-income countries the most binding constraints are often in logistics services and international transit systems. Improving trade infrastructure is often reported to be a priority for middle-income countries. –Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star)