The OECD estimated the Southeast Asian nations’ combined gross domestic product (GDP) to continue to grow by 5.2% between 2019 and 2023 . ASEAN needs efficient logistics services to enable this growth and enhance its competitiveness. Trends such as e-commerce, urbanisation, and companies shifting their supply chains are accelerating demands for these services even further.
An efficient region-wide logistics services network is needed to facilitate flow of goods, services and related information between producers, or from producers to consumers, anywhere in the region. Seamless logistics therefore has been a consistent priority for ASEAN since the last decade, and efforts have been made to reduce time and costs of transport and boost cross-border trade. Significant progress, such as the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) and work under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), have strengthen ASEAN’s logistics environment. Nevertheless, a number of challenges remain. The logistics sector in itself is complex, involving diverse stakeholders ranging from various government agencies to the private sector. Due to differences in countries’ stage of development with varying geographical characteristics, the trade structure and composition, each ASEAN Member States (AMS) has different priorities in facilitating trade and implementing the requisite infrastructure development and policy reforms for an efficient regional logistics services network.
One way to help address the above challenges, specifically in identifying common priorities and promoting coherence, is assessing logistics services development needs based on regional trade routes and priority product groupings/commodities that would provide cross-border benefits across multiple AMS. Once trade routes and commodities are identified, detailed logistics information surrounding them should be collected and analysed to identify bottlenecks and prioritise actions.
The project aims to address the above challenges by identifying the priority trade routes, and build a database of relevant information on these routes to help AMS determine bottlenecks and identify specific priorities to enhance connectivity within these routes. It will also develop an ASEAN supply chain framework. The Framework is a necessary first-step to better understand ASEAN’s supply chain performance gaps, and to identify opportunities and underlying issues and challenges to devise a region-wide action plan. The Framework will also support the gathering of data on supply chain performance and bottlenecks for specific trade routes or economic corridors towards an integrated approach to the development of trade routes.