The e-commerce is here to stay. The Internet eliminated trade barriers, putting products from the most diverse latitudes within the reach of consumers at one end of the world. However, it is no use to buy a click if the transport hinders arrival times: hence the importance of logistics.
According to the article, “The role of transport and logistics in promoting e-commerce in developing countries” of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD, written by Luis Rodriguez, the main barrier to the development of electronic trade is weak logistics. In the text, the author explores some of the challenges in this field according to the analysis of the quick preparation e-commerce consulting for less developed countries Rapid e-Trade Readiness Assessments of Least-Developed Countries (LDCs).
While the Internet can help companies increase their exports, sales need a properly coordinated transportation to thrive. Land transportation, ports, postal delivery services and customs are crucial at the time of successful delivery. Inefficiencies in the logistics system (cargo transport, storage, border clearance and domestic postal delivery), increase the commercial costs of e-commerce companies. Therefore, a weak logistics network becomes a barrier to the good development of electronic commerce, especially in developing countries.
Challenges to overcome
The article mentions three main challenges to overcome in order to optimize the development of electronic commerce. The first of these is transport and logistics infrastructure, whose main issue lies in the lack of investment, especially in the extra-urban areas and the lack of solutions for bottlenecks in port properties.
The second dimension of challenges described is access to quality services under competitive conditions. The lack of package delivery services – both public and / or private- which can provide geographical coverage together with a fast delivery, reliable and with verifiable traceability. Added to this is the lack of a national shipping registry system to reliably track parcels and increase competitiveness between public and private postal services.
The efficiency of border and customs services is the third dimension of challenges to overcome to facilitate commercial exchange. For this, it is key to improve the inefficiencies in the processes of customs internment, facilitating the documentation and the required taxes.
Although the document specifically analyzed the cases of Nepal, Cambodia, Butan, Lao, Liberia and Myanmar, the difficulties identified can be extrapolated to other countries where it also seeks to optimize electronic commerce.