Measurement of National-Level Logistics Costs and Performance

Author: Karri Rantasila and Lauri Ojala

It is necessary to understand logistics performance at the country level in order to better evaluate and target trade and transport facilitation policy efforts over time and across countries. A sound and comprehensive set of national-level performance indicators is critical for high-level policy dialogue, preparation and implementation. Policymakers need a better understanding of the level of logistics costs in absolute terms and relative to other costs; the main drivers of logistics costs, and how costs and deficiencies in performance affect certain sectors in the economy.

This discussion paper presents and categorizes available national-level assessments of logistics costs, including the methods applied and comprising: (1) survey instruments based on primary data, and their results; and (2) models of logistics costs based on national accounts and other relevant data.

It is organized in three main parts: the concept of logistics costs, an overview of national-level cost studies, and policiy implications.

This document was produced as a Background Paper for the 2012 Summit of the International Transport Forum, on Seamless Transport: Making Connections, held from 2-4 May 2012 in Leipzig, Germany.