Thailand soars higher in World Bank logistics rankings

Thailand soared 13 spots higher in the World Bank’s biennial global Logistics Performance Index released last week, as investments in infrastructure and more streamlined efficient regulations and procedures have begun paying off for the Kingdom and those who do business there.

Thailand rose to 32nd place out of 160 countries that were assessed, up from 45th place in the previous index. Within ASEAN, the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Kingdom leapfrogged over Malaysia and trailed only Singapore on this year’s World Bank list. Thai government officials are confident that the Kingdom’s ranking will continue to rise.

“The government is quite upbeat that the index will significantly improve over the next two years because the government has already invested heavily in infrastructure development and law reforms,” said Kobsak Pootrakul, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office and a top economic advisor in the administration.

The World Bank describes the index as “an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance.”

It analyzes factors such as customs procedures; infrastructure development and related technology; international shipments; logistics competence; tracking and tracing; and timeliness. The Bank assessed and ranked countries based on quantitative data along with qualitative feedback from shipping companies, freight forwarders, express carriers and other operators on the ground.

The Thai government has been striving to improve Thailand’s competitiveness both by making massive investments in infrastructure and reforming and revising business and customs procedures to increase ease of doing business. The Eastern Economic Corridor, the new and advanced development zone east of Bangkok, has been a focus of investment and construction of cutting-edge infrastructure.

Within the group of countries the World Bank classified as upper-middle-income, the report said that China, Thailand, and South Africa remain the leaders, with Thailand ranked in second place in that group.

The report noted that virtually all the leading countries in the index are high-income countries. “Even so, countries such as China, India, Rwanda, Thailand and Viet Nam outperform their income group peers,’’ the report said.

The Bank also commented on the resilience of Thailand’s logistics and supply chains. Natural disasters and man-made events can damage supply chains for years to come and even alter them permanently. It cited the vast floods Thailand suffered in 2011 and the Kingdom’s steady rise in the rankings since then as an example of resilience.