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Gov’t, private groups sign ‘10 Commitments of PH Logistics Services Sector’

At the signing of the Ten Commitments of the Philippine Logistics Services Sector, from L to R: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Rowel Barba; Association of CY/CFS Operators of the Philippines president Alexander Ong; Customs Bonded Warehouse Operators Confederation, Inc. president Bobby Yatco; Port Users Confederation of the Philippines, Inc. president Rodolfo De Ocampo; Association of International Shipping Lines general manager Atty. Maximino Cruz; DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez; Philippine Multimodal Transport and Logistics Association, Inc. president Marilyn Alberto; Department of Transportation OIC-Undersecretary for Maritime Fernando Juan Perez; Integrated Haulers and Truckers Association president Teodorico Gervacio; Academy of Developmental Logistics, Inc. chairman Samuel Bautista; Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines president Nestor Felicio; and Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. president Atty. Ferdinand Nague.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Transportation (DOTr) and various cargo transportation organizations have agreed to collaborate on finding solutions to problems affecting logistics services and ensure the sector’s development and competitiveness.

The collaboration was formalized in the “Ten Commitments of the Philippines Logistics Services Sector” signed on December 6 by DTI, DOTr, and private stakeholder groups Academy of Developmental Logistics, Inc.; Association of International Shipping Lines; Association of Offdock CY/CFS of the Philippines; Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc.; Customs Bonded Warehouse Operators Confederation, Inc.; Inland Haulers and Truckers Association; Philippine Multimodal Transport and Logistics Association, Inc. (PMTLAI); Port Users Confederation of the Philippines, Inc.; and Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines.

“Logistics is the lifeblood of any business and… the economy. It is important as it affects the overall profitability and cost of business, and in the same way to our country, it is important because it affects really the competitiveness and efficiencies that will deliver better GDP results and productivity,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez noted in his keynote during the conference.

In a press conference on the same day, Lopez said the commitments, signed during the 1st Logistics Services Philippines Conference and Exhibit at the Philippine International Convention Center spearheaded by DTI, will be the stepping stone to joint efforts of government and private sector “to address all the blockages, the issues, and challenges in the sector.”

Lopez said DTI will form a committee composed of members from the government and the private sector to discuss issues and follow through on the commitments, with the objective of solving the problems raised by the private sector.

Asked how DTI will ensure other issues involving other government agencies can be addressed, Lopez told PortCalls in an interview that relevant agencies will be involved in the committee’s discussions. He added that the committee can also be an office or unit in DTI, but stressed that what is more important now is the “linkage” between the government and private sector in addressing the logistics industry’s issues.

DTI Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business Group assistant secretary Mary Jean Pacheco, in an interview with PortCalls, noted that while they believe the private sector should lead, what the sector has now “is a friend or an enabler” through DTI in terms of addressing issues and making the sector competitive.

PMTLAI president Marilyn Alberto, in a presentation during the conference, noted the sector “is now starting to be recognized and given the attention it rightly deserves.”

The 10 commitments are the following:

First, recognizing that supply chain management, particularly logistics, is a necessary component of any competitive business, the groups said “we shall give priority to initiatives that will realize our vision of a ‘globally competitive logistics services sectors that enables business to provide its customers with the right product, at the right time, in the right price and quality, in a reliable manner’.”

Second, the parties “shall not make for ourselves any additional step that will be burdensome to businesses.” To realize this, they have agreed to cut red tape and eliminate corrupt practices, prioritize automation, and streamline and decentralize the permit issuance process and reportorial requirements across government agencies that deal with trade facilitation, transport, logistics and supply chain.

Third, a platform for genuine dialogue between the public and private sector will be established in order to realize a globally competitive logistics services sector, ultimately leading to competitive supply chains and a competitive economy. The parties commit to collaborate on policies and regulations that are responsive to current and future industry requirements, consistent with international standards and practices, and continually foster an environment of innovation.

The fourth commitment is to abide by the provisions of Republic Act No. 11032, also known as the Ease of Doing Business Act. For government agencies, they shall “adhere to the standard processing times for issuance of permits and licenses” while the private sector “shall strictly comply with full requirements, above board, and also monitor compliance among government agencies.”

Fifth is to “encourage and develop government investment commitments, particularly in the supply chain and logistics services sectors, that will foster competitive business and improve quality of life in the Philippines.”

The sixth commitment is to find long-term solutions to problems that affect the logistics services sector’s ability to enable business competitiveness. These include high shipping costs, unnecessary fees and charges, issues with management of empty containers, and concerns raised by the trucking sector.

Seventh, the parties commit to adopt a high standard of regulatory practices, particularly to avoid conflicting functions and interests within government agencies responsible for the logistics services sector. They also commit to amend or repeal unreasonable and outdated laws that unduly burden the sector, and align domestic policies with international agreements.

Eighth is to foster a culture of knowledge-sharing and benchmarking through the establishment of a Logistics Observatory. The Observatory will make available data, information and knowledge resources for use by all stakeholders, allowing for effective decision-making. Through the Observatory, the private sector can optimize transport and logistics costs through the help of quantitative data, resulting in improved competitiveness and further integration into global value chains. At the same time, government agencies can utilize the Observatory to inform policies affecting trade facilitation and supply chain competitiveness.

The ninth commitment seeks to continue to promote and encourage investments, both from the public and private sectors, in infrastructure in critical and strategic points in the country to further facilitate the logistics service sector’s ability to serve its customers. Such investments include those on developing a holistic and responsive transport network serving land, sea and air; supporting infrastructure such as container depots, storage facilities, and logistics hubs; and comprehensive ICT infrastructure systems that support better visibility and trackability across the supply chain.

The last commitment is to develop a competitive and future-ready logistics workforce that can meet the current and future needs of the logistics services sector. The parties agree to invest in the development of programs and policies that will allow those working in the sector to effectively fulfill their responsibilities to customers and stakeholders alike. Also part of the commitment is to develop people as an indispensable tool for businesses both here and around the world, and to increase awareness of the logistics service sector’s role in economic development. – Text and photo by Roumina Pablo

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