“A more efficient transport and logistics system can better serve the international market, raise the country’s competitiveness, and enable local industries to take full advantage of a healthy economy,” Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr saidduring a recent meeting with the major players of the transport and logistics sector.

The DTI met with the members of the United Port Users Confederation of the Philippines, Inc. (UPC) and the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA). UPC spearheads the crafting of the Philippine Logistics Roadmap together with PISFA.

The meeting provided the opportunity for all parties to discuss critical issues and identify the course of action for the transportation and logistics sector.

Logistics is part of the supply chain system that spans the integration of information flow, material handling, production, packaging, inventory, transportation, warehousing, border regulatory procedures, and security.

In the Philippines, logistical costs account for 24% to 53% of wholesale prices; shipping and port handling costs account for 8% to 30%, depending on the goods and routes, and 5% of retail price of goods.“Port congestion, high shipping and trucking surcharges notwithstanding, the Philippines remains a gateway and central entry point of international shipping and air cargo. We are working with various stakeholders towards a strong and comprehensive national multimodal transport and logistics development plan that will encourage investments for development and expansion of logistics infrastructure, in the long run,” Cristobal added.

In the same meeting, the status of the Logistics Industry Roadmap was also discussed. The Logistics Industry Roadmap establishes strategies and programs designed to further develop the country’s transport infrastructure, particularly roads and ports outside Manila such as Batangas and Subic. The Roadmap proposes the creation of a government body on Supply Chain and Logistics to coordinate all initiatives related to the supply chain and to follow through on implementation and compliance of policies. The roadmap is in its final stages and will serve as a guide to improving the National Logistics Plan being drafted by the DTI’s Supply Chain and Logistics Management (SCLM) Division in partnership with USAID’s Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) Project.

Cristobal said that harmonizing supply chain and logistics initiatives and programs will help in the efficient allocation of limited resources earmarked toaddress logistics inefficiencies; and, eventually establish a mechanism that will sustain and improve the country’s logistics performance.

According to the World Bank, the Philippines is ranked 57th out of 160 countries in the Logistics Performance Index whichmeasures the weighted average across six key logistics dimensions (customs, infrastructure, international shipment, logistics quality, tracking and timeliness) obtained through structured online survey of logistics professionals.