Freight Transport and Logistics Regional Observatory

Why a Regional Observatory?

In recent years, freight transport and logistics have substantially increased their level of activity. The growing importance of the sector heightens the need for data about its performance and for strategic analysis of related issues. However, there is a deficit of information on freight transport in the region: attempts to collect data are fragmented and lack reliable statistics, methodologies and common definitions that would facilitate comparisons between countries. The gap between the need for information and the data available affects the decision-making processes of both private actors who seek to improve their trade strategies and public agencies that create the sector’s policies. The growing importance of cross-cutting agendas that are key to the sustainable development of the region, such as the facilitation of transport and trade, freight logistics, and climate change, only widens this information gap.

What activities does the Regional Observatory carry out?

  • Compilation of basic data about freight transport and logistics. Through a statistical yearbook that simultaneously defines protocols for data collection under common criteria, compiles glossaries, and consolidates national databases. 
  • Definition of indicators and methodologies. Alignment and generation of logistics performance indicators. Definition of methodologies, such as measuring logistics costs, tracking transportation chains and calculating freight transport emissions. 
  • Knowledge generation. Analysis of topics of regional interest, such as city logistics, different models of trucking services management, sustainable logistics, logistics platforms, public policies to improve the performance of national logistics, and nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) for freight transport. 
  • Promotion and coordination of a knowledge network on freight logistics. Fostering the creation of national observatories, training events and activities, and promoting a regional network of freight logistics experts that links actors in the public, private, and academic sectors. 

National freight transport and logistics observatories

The establishment of a logistics observatory faces specific challenges in every country, both in terms of its duties and structure and its normative functional framework. Several countries in the region are in the process of creating their observatories, or have declared their willingness to do so. Based on these experiences, the document “Design and implementation of national observatories: phases and strategic considerations” summarizes the lessons learned during these nascent processes. The Regional Observatory plays the role of facilitator to the establishment of a network of national observatories as part of the IDB’s agenda with its member countries, while also defining criteria to analyze topics of regional interest and promoting contact between members of the network. The national observatories focus their analyses on their countries’ specific challenges and gather information and data based on the schemes suggested by the Regional Observatory. The network of national observatories is a key component to the Freight Transport and Logistics Regional Observatory, because it encourages direct contact with the logistics challenges of each country, which allows for greater precision in the definition of its agenda and priorities.

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