Customs and logistics users will in particular find the featured survey of interest, if not important. International Logistics encompasses an array of essential activities — from transport, warehousing, cargo consolidation, and border clearance to in country distribution and payment systems, involving a variety of public and private agents. The Logistics Performance Index (LPI) and its indicators are a joint venture of the World Bank, logistics providers, and academic partners.The LPI is a comprehensive index created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in trade logistics performance.
The 2010 LPI points to modest but positive trends in key areas such as customs, use of information technologies for trade, and investment in private services. The LPI is a multidimensional assessment of logistics performance, rated on a scale from one (worst) to five (best). It uses more than 5,000 individual country assessments made by nearly 1,000 international freight forwarders to compare the trade logistics profiles of 155 countries. Germany and Singapore receive the highest ratings in the 2010 LPI with scores over 4.08. South Africa ranks 28th on the list with a score of 3.46, one position behind China (3.49), but 11 and 18 places better than Brazil (3.20) and India (3.12), respectively.
The LPI covers the performance of countries in six areas that capture the most important aspects of the current logistics environment:
Efficiency of the customs clearance process.
Quality of trade and transport-related infrastructure.
Ease of arranging competitively priced shipments.
Competence and quality of logistics services.
Frequency with which shipments reach the consignee within the scheduled or expected time.
One of the features of the LPI includes indicators of border procedures is the time taken to complete trade transactions. Although this is a relatively small fraction of total import time, such time increases significantly when goods are physically inspected. Core customs procedures converge strongly across all performance groups, but physical inspection—and even multiple inspections of the same shipment by different agencies—are much more common in low performance countries. The report moreover suggests that border agencies other than Customs tend to constrain the clearance process and ultimately the costs imposed on the private sector.