Coordination and Implementation of National Logistics Policies: Digitalization

Coordination and Implementation of National Logistics Policies: Digitalization

There are several tools behind the setting of national logistics policies. Digitalization strategies such as freight portals (single windows) and port community systems provide crucial support to the decision making process. The most common strategies involve:

  • Freight portal. Creates an exchange market for logistics services, which improves the interactions between the providers and consumers of logistics services. Transport assets and facilities should be more efficiently used, with, for instance, less empty backhauls. A freight portal also enables the participation of small and medium-sized firms since the barriers of entry are less cumbersome. The main risk involves the creation of a two-tier market if large providers of logistics services do not take part or are using their own platforms.
  • Port community system. Represents a specific freight portal generally used through the jurisdiction of a port authority. It makes available logistical information among the actors involved in port-related freight distribution, which should promote competitiveness in port-related services and coordination between the major actors. Its efficiency is particularly derived from the integration of customs procedures with port terminal operations with the transactions taking placed under a single window. It is possible to track cargo and transport assets. A risk in applying port community system is related to cybersecurity since commercial and customs transaction can be the object of fraud.
  • Logistics observatory. An agency mandated by the government (or an office of the government) that monitors logistics activities by collecting and providing key data. The data is used to report key performance indicators benchmarking the industry. Then, it can be used to assess the effectiveness of logistics policies by looking at how some key performance indicators have changed. This also enables a better coordination better research and policy since reliable data is available for analytical purposes. Inaccurate or biased information could represent a risk and the industry could respond by organizing its operations to optimize the benchmarking criteria.