Logistics Centers & Hubs: RP Opportunities

Manila Bulletin, June 22, 2008 | Go to article overview

Logistics Centers & Hubs: RP Opportunities


In May, 2008, the Hangzhou Bay Bridge which connects Ningbo to Shanghai was opened. With a length of 36 kilometers, it is the world's longest sea-crossing bridge, built within a recordtime of four years, and considered an engineering marvel. Zhejiang Province, with a population of 51 million, is one of the best developed in China with a GDP of 1,863 billion RMB ($ 233 billion) in 2007 (or twice the 2007 GDP of the Philippines), and a per capita GDP of $ 4,600, roughly five times China's national average.

Modern logistics: Ningbo-Zhejiang-China style

The logistics conference was organized by the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), the largest Asia-based non-government, non-profit intellectual resource center, which I chair. The UN Development Programme (UNDP), Zhejiang Provincial Government, and Ningbo City Government cosponsored that international gathering with some 500 participants, including senior officials, logistics experts, and port administrators from Asia and Europe, as well as top executives of transport giants, notably Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK-Japan), Moller-Maersk (Scandinavia), China Overseas Shipping Company (COSCO), UPS (US) and DHL (US). Concurrently, the 10th Zhejiang Investment and Trade Symposium, and the 7th China International Consumer Goods Fair took place in adjacent venues.

Logistics is "the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, effective flow and storage of goods, services, and related information from point of origin to point of consumption in conformity with customer requirements. This includes inbound, outbound, internal, and external movements, and return of waste/used materials for environmental purposes," (Logistics World 1998). The Wikipedia adds: "Logistics is considered to have originated with the military's need to supply themselves with arms, ammunition, and rations from their base to a forward position."

Among the major subjects at Ningbo were new approaches in freeport operations, government-private sector cooperation, and models of competitive international ports. Given high priority was capabilitybuilding in "emergency logistics" for timely and effective responses during natural calamities and other disasters in the wake of the massive earthquake in Sichuan Province last May 12 which China's Central Government - with the support of the UN and donor-countries - has handled with admirable efficiency and, for the first time, with unprecedented transparency.

Linking the Philippines and China

In my keynote address, I highlighted RP's efforts to link with the major markets in the Asia-Pacific region in order to benefit from our favorable geostrategic position at the center of East Asia. I emphasized: "The Philippines is investing a great deal of capital and human talent to link our vast archipelago with regional markets and industrial powerhouses. Only through these investments in logistics systems can the Philippines take advantage of its strategic location at the heart of East Asia - with easy access to China, Japan, South Korea and other huge markets." Indeed, there are great opportunities in the logistics sector for the Philippines.

In the light of President Hu Jintao's commitment "to further open the three-decade-old bilateral ties between our two countries, which have entered a new phase of all-around development," in his message to PGMA last June 12, the Philippines must continue to maintain favorable relations with China - as other Asian countries are doing. It is in logistics facilities and operations where new opportunities lie for the expansion of RP-China trade, investment, tourism and other forms of economic cooperation. In relation to China's fast-developing Xiamen-NingboShanghai axis, choice Philippine locations are those along the South China Sea corridor, principally Port Irene-San Vicente, Cagayan; Poro Point, La Union-San Fabian, Dagupan, Sual, Pangasinan; Iba, Masinloc, Zambales-Agno, Alaminos, Bolinao, Pangasinan; Subic-Clark; BataanManila Bay-Sangley Point, Cavite; Batangas-Mindoro Occidental; and Palawan. …

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