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HomeOpinionSCMAP PerspectiveState of the Nation’s Logistics: The Road to ASEAN 2015

State of the Nation’s Logistics: The Road to ASEAN 2015

By Arnel Gamboa

Today we have another guest columnist. Arnel Gamboa is the incumbent president of Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines. He has been the editor-in-chief of the official newsletter of SCMAP, the Supply Chain Philippines, for the past 2 years. He is a seasoned practitioner and resource speaker in supply chain with focus areas in cold chain, FMCG distribution, retail-supply networking, demand planning and supply chain ICT. Arnel is currently head for supply chain of Benby Enterprises, Inc., the leading distribution company for imported world-renowned food, personal and home care products. – Ed Sanchez, SCMAP Executive Director


One of the proponents of national economic performance is the logistics efficiency of a nation. Logistics is comparable to the engine if we take the economy as the vehicle that would take the country to a path of greater productivity and success. There is no doubt that logistics plays an important role and reliable indicator in nation-building.


It has been highlighted several times by various cause-oriented groups on transport and logistics that there is much to be desired on the state of our country’s logistics industry. Many of these issues are rooted in day-to-day concerns we have been experiencing since time immemorial, eg. horrendous traffic along EDSA, long queues of containers at the BOC (port congestion), and colorum trucks and PUVs, among others.


In the past USAID round table forum held in Oakwood Premier Hotel, Ortigas, Pasig City, this author shared three (3) key items for improvement seen as focus areas for logistics in the Philippines. These are: a) Infrastructure, b) Policy, & c) Talents.



It is no secret that the Philippines has always been a laggard in terms of infrastructure projects compared to its neighboring countries in ASEAN. The World Economic Forum in its report on Logistics Performance Index (LPI) covering the ASEAN has placed the Philippines within the levels of Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia, which are all at the bottom of the list. Please refer to list (2010 LPI).




In the present administration’s plans and commitments, there is a resounding direction to invest heavily in infrastructure to support the nation’s growth strategies and address gaping holes in our transport and logistics systems. The actions are now being felt through various Private-Public Partnership (PPP) initiatives covering LRT-MRT extensions/link-ups, expressway connectors, sea & air port development, new flyovers, bridges & skyways.


But our infrastructure woes are not as simple as putting money to build – it also boils down to a collaborative urban planning strategy covering the whole of the National Capital Region (NCR) in particular and the mega Manila area in general (nearby provincial cities). Planning to funding of projects must be focal and geared toward optimal efficiency. This requires harmonizing plans and programs between government agencies such as the MMDA, DPWH, DOTC, PPA, and NEDA.


Mass transit systems must be established over and across the metropolis to address the growing number of vehicles on the street. The MMDA initiative to establish interim transport terminals for provincial buses can also help declog the streets of buses but needs to be complemented with intra-city shuttles and aligned routes for other PUVs (jeepneys, tricycles, etc.). The potential transfer of air and sea ports is also a good medium-term plan but would need a bridge solution going towards the end-state. The dual-airport system that Clark International Airport has launched is a welcome development towards the long-term solution.


On a positive note, the National Competitiveness Council is spearheading an Integrated Transport System study which will hopefully help guide government agencies with private sector consultation on the real needs of the nation and best approach to the solution.



SCMAP along with other advocacy groups on transport issues have been on the watch, giving strong positions on recent government directives detrimental and disruptive to the normal ways of doing business in the country.


A few of these radical directions which SCMAP has opposed are the Anti-Overloading Act, popularly known as RA 8794 of the DOTC, the Total Day-Time Truck Ban of the MMDA, and terminal handling and storage fee hike of the PPA, among others.


While most of the agencies justify the rationale behind these moves, these are more often than not done without proper consultation of stakeholders and therefore forsake the welfare and benefit of the general users of the service or facility.


One important ingredient lacking policy creation and implementation by the government is alignment between stakeholders and policy owners as well as among government agencies themselves.



One of the major challenges now being felt by the whole ASEAN region is recruitment and talent management. As economies of ASEAN countries continue to rally with high growth, there is a rising demand on logistics operators and services to sustain this growth. The rapid need for logistics professionals is fast becoming a growing concern as there is no established system for training and education of logistics practitioners to cope with the need.


Most logistics or supply chain professionals are honed through experience. The next phase of  evolution is now producing job-ready individuals from schools for both baccalaureate and post-graduate courses where standard practices and norms are incorporated.


For its part, SCMAP is working with schools such as De La Salle University, Ateneo Center for Continuing Education and Technological Institute of the Philippines to provide diploma courses for executives and senior managers. A very recent tie-up was with the Technical Education & Skills Development Authority in formulating a vocational program for warehouse and logistics personnel.


In the advent of the ASEAN Economic Community scheduled to be in effect by 2015, there will be higher expectations from the Philippine logistics industry to level up and prepare for the eminent integration. The arena will be a high risk and high rewards battle where Philippine competitiveness will be put to the test. SCMAP will help lead the way for this preparation through its Annual Supply Chain Conference which will be held at the Rizal Ballroom of EDSA Shangri-la Hotel on September 12-13, 2013 with the theme : “Supply Chain Philippines and Beyond – Gearing Towards the ASEAN Liberalization”.


For more information please go to the SCMAP website www.scmap.org.


Address inquiries and comments to Ed Sanchez at tel. 671-8670, fax 671-4793, cell 0918-914-1689, or email secretariat@scmap.org. Those interested in SCMAP training and other activities are requested to send their e-mail addresses.


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