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Last updated on Feb 07, 2012

ASEAN Symposium on Logistics Services

Integrated Logistics Services Industry to Accelerate Regional Connectivity
Da Nang, Viet Nam, 23 Aug

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Developing an integrated logistics services industry in the region is an important objective in ASEAN and will further accelerate the connectivity among production sectors within and among the Member States.Integrated Logistics Services Industry to Accelerate Regional Connectivity Da Nang, Viet Nam, 23 August 2010

The development of logistics services will enhance trading efficiency in ASEAN, further consolidate the ASEAN Connectivity Initiative, and thus, create a momentum for ASEAN to maintain stability and dynamism in the regional economic development, said Mr Nguyen Cam Tu, Vice Minister of Industry and Trade of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

Delivering his opening remarks at the Symposium on the Implementation of the ASEAN Roadmap for Logistics Services Integration in Da Nang, Viet Nam, yesterday, Mr Nguyen said that the ASEAN Economic Ministers had demonstrated this importance by implementing the ASEAN Roadmap for Logistics Services Integration since two years ago. Logistics has been identified as a priority sector in ASEAN’s economic integration process.

“The Roadmap will help to accelerate the facilitation and liberalisation of logistic services by 2013 and eventually make ASEAN a logistics hub in the Asia-Pacific region. It is consistent with ASEAN’s common wish of speeding regional connectivity towards the goal of establishing the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015,” added Mr Nguyen.

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At the Symposium, the ASEAN Secretariat updated the ASEAN Senior Economic Officials, government officials, and representatives from leading logistics services providers in Southeast Asia on the status of implementation of the Roadmap in its five areas: the liberalisation of logistics services and related services; the enhancement of competitiveness of ASEAN logistics services providers through trade and logistics facilitation; the expansion of the capability of ASEAN logistics services providers; the development of human resource in the logistics services industry; and the enhancement of multi-modal transport infrastructure and investment.

Mr Subash Pillai, Director of Market Integration Directorate, ASEAN Secretariat, said the logistics services industry plays a double role in the community building of ASEAN. “Logistics services industry in ASEAN is one that is very important to the ASEAN region because it directly contributes to the first dimension of a single market and production base, while acting as an enabler to the second dimension of enhancing ASEAN’s competitiveness in the realisation of an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015,” he explained. He further added that a good logistics services industry in the region will also act as an attraction and provide the pull factor for business to do business in and with ASEAN.

On the issue of connectivity, the ASEAN Connectivity Initiative’s three dimensions – physical connectivity, institutional connectivity and people-to-people connectivity – face the challenges of full implementation of all ASEAN logistic-related agreements and keeping abreast with the changes in standards classifications and technology, as well as the promotion of connectivity within regions and among the people of ASEAN.

In recent years, improved regional connectivity has seen the land transportation becoming a more viable option, but businesses would still require more information in order to optimise that option. “In terms of time, land transportation enjoys advantage over sea and is favourable in comparison with air, so land transportation is now being seen as faster than sea and cheaper than air. High transportation cost, however, remains an issue and practical information was lacking. The business sector is in need of information, now lacking, to make informed business decisions,” said Mr Tomohiro Kinomoto, Deputy Director of Asian Cooperation Division, Trade and Economic Cooperation Department, Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).

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The symposium also provided ample platform for the logistics services industry in the region to provide their views. In Viet Nam, where the logistics industry is still in its infancy but have already contributed 15 to 20 per cent of the economy’s Gross Domestic Product, local industry players have called for a national action. “There has not been an official unified mechanism governing logistics activities in Viet Nam, so it would be good to establish an inter-ministerial logistics committee consisting of representatives from the Ministries of Transport, and Industry and Trade. Hopefully, a new committee such as this could help to ensure the unity between laws and regulations on logistics and reduce redundancies,” urged Mr Nguyen Giang Tien, Deputy Director General of Vietfracht Company, a leading shipping and forwarding company in Viet Nam with operations worldwide. “We could also have a National Logistics Forum established to speed up the exchange of ideas among the government, bodies in the logistics field, and customers,” he further suggested.

“The logistics services industry worldwide is not the mere distance between two locations, but about effectively addressing the cost and speed moving an item between them,” stressed Mr Alan Turley, Vice President for International Affairs and Asia Pacific, FedEx Express. In addition to his call to improve customs facilitation in ASEAN Member States, he also urged for a continued implementation of the Roadmap and the identification of new priority areas for the ASEAN Connectivity Master Plan. The Deutsche Post DHL and TNT Asia also jointly addressed the topic of trade and customs facilitation in the region.

The one-day Symposium was organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam (MOIT), and co-organised by the ASEAN Secretariat and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), within the framework of the 42nd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meetings and related meetings, which began yesterday in Da Nang until 27 August. The symposium was jointly supported by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers (CAPEC). The Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers (CAPEC) was jointly founded by DHL, FedEx, TNT, and UPS courier companies in 1996 to represent the interests of the world’s leading integrated express delivery services companies based in Asia.

Cached copy from ASEAN Bulletin (August 2010) [www.asean.org]