Every year, the World Bank Group produces a Logistics Performance Index that ranks 160 countries on their proficiency at trade logistics. Each country is measured in terms of its supply chain performance in such areas as infrastructure, quality of service, shipment reliability, and border clearance efficiency. The index is based on a survey of more than 1,200 logistics professionals.
"Logistics performance, both in international trade and domestically, is central to countries' economic growth and competitiveness," says Anabel Gonzalez, senior director of the World Bank Group's trade & competitiveness global practice. "Efficient logistics connects people and firms to markets and opportunities, and helps achieve higher levels of productivity and welfare."
While logistics services are improving overall, logistics professionals surveyed say they're least satisfied with rail. Also, a shift is underway as domestic concerns are taking priority over border issues.
The following slideshow looks at the top 10 performers in the index. For the record, the three countries that finished dead-last in the index are Somalia (158), Haiti (159) and Syria (160).
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The United States just barely beat out Switzerland for the 10th spot on the list, largely due to its strength in tracking and tracing technologies (# 5 overall). The U.S. also finished at # 8 in both infrastructure and logistics quality & competence.
Hong Kong's strategic importance as an international port contributed to its high ranking in the index, including a # 2 ranking for international shipments and a # 7 ranking for customs. (For the record, Taiwan was ranked at # 25 and mainland China at # 27.)
The United Kingdom did well across the board, ranking particularly well for customs (# 5) and infrastructure (#5), and no worse than 11th in all other categories.
Though landlocked, Austria nevertheless had a strong index score, finishing # 2 in tracking and tracing, and # 4 in logistics quality and competence.
Belgium ranked at # 3 worldwide for international shipments, and # 4 for both timeliness and tracking and tracing.
The city-state of Singapore finished in the top 10 in all categories, including a # 1 ranking for customs, not surprising given its importance as an international port.
The Netherlands ranked no lower than # 6 in all index categories, reflecting its key importance as a logistics gateway to Europe. Its infrastructure was ranked at # 2 in the world.
Scandinavian countries rated high in the rankings, but only Sweden managed to crack the Top 10, coming in at # 3 overall. That high ranking was helped by Sweden's # 1 ranking for tracking and tracing, a # 2 ranking for logistics quality and competence, and # 3 rankings in both infrastructure and timeliness.
Though lacking a major seaport, unlike its two neighbors Belgium and the Netherlands, Luxembourg nevertheless sits at the number 2 spot of the list. Its high position is made possible by its # 1 ranking in timeliness and international shipments, as well as top 10 rankings in all other major categories.
Germany ranks at the very top of the list, thanks to solid performance in such areas as logistics quality & competence (#1), infrastructure (#1), customs (#2) and timeliness (#2).
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