In many countries of the region, the logistics industry is still at a nascent stage and therefore faces challenges associated with high costs and poor performance. While some countries in the region rank among the best by international standards, the logistics performance of many of the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states still lag behind. As a result, logistics costs in many ESCAP member and associate members account for a significant proportion of gross domestic product (GDP).
Good policy and regulatory frameworks can help address some of the challenges faced by the logistics industry and create an enabling environment for the development of services. In view of the increased complexity of the modern logistics industry, a comprehensive approach of the industry and its stakeholders is however required for effective and consistent policy across all aspects of logistics.
To support the development of logistics policy in member countries, ESCAP has provided a regional platform for sharing best practices and know-how through the organisation of annual regional forum and meeting of CEOs of national associations for freight forwarders, multimodal transport operators and logistics service providers since 2007 and prepared the guidelines on logistics policy. Guidelines have also been prepared for the establishment of minimum standards for freight forwarders, non-vessel operating common carriers and multimodal transport operators. ESCAP is also working on the use of logistics information systems for efficient and effective logistics in the region.
Recognizing the strong human capacity aspect of the logistics industry, ESCAP is working with national associations to enhance skills and professionalism, including through logistics training material for foundation level and specific topic modules. ESCAP also conducts Training-of-trainers workshops to help create a pool of local trainers and establish the basis for sustainable training in the industry. To further assist in the development of long-term and regular training programmes, ESCAP has developed an accredited training system for freight forwarders, multimodal transport operators and logistics service providers. The aim is to establish a regional framework for vocational training to help bridge the gap between introductory courses currently common in the region and the advanced certificates, and promote the regional recognition of qualifications.