Lead time to export, median case (days)

Definition: Lead time to export is the median time (the value for 50 percent of shipments) from shipment point to port of loading. Data are from the Logistics Performance Index survey. Respondents provided separate values for the best case (10 percent of shipments) and the median case (50 percent of shipments). The data are exponentiated averages of the logarithm of single value responses and of midpoint values of range responses for the median case.

Description: The map below shows how Lead time to export, median case (days) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Dem. Rep. Congo, with a value of 88.00. The country with the lowest value in the world is Burundi, with a value of 1.00.

Source: World Bank and Turku School of Economics, Logistic Performance Index Surveys. Data are available online at : http://www.worldbank.org/lpi. Summary results are published in Arvis and others' Connecting to Compete: Trade Logistics in the Global Economy, The Logistics Performance Index and Its Indicators report.

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: The LPI measures on-the-ground trade logistics performance, helping national leaders, key policymakers, and private sector traders understand the challenges they and their trading partners face in reducing logistical barriers to international commerce. A useful outcome measure of logistics performance is the time taken to complete trade transactions. The median import lead time for port and airport supply chains, as measured for the LPI, is more than 3.5 times longer in low performing countries than in high-performing countries. The difference is around three times for land supply chains. The association suggests that geographical hurdles, and perhaps internal transport markets, still pose substantial difficulties in many countries. Besides geography and speed en route, another factor in import lead times is the border process. Time can be reduced at all stages of this process, but especially in the clearance of goods on arrival. Countries with low logistics performance need to reform their border management so that they can reduce red tape, excessive and opaque procedural requirements, and physical inspections. Although the time to clear goods through customs is a fairly small fraction of total import time for all LPI quintiles, it rises sharply if goods are physically inspected. Core customs procedures are similar across quintiles. But low-performing countries have a far higher prevalence of physical inspection, even subjecting the same shipment to repeated inspections by multiple agencies. Many low-income countries have long export lead times, reducing their export competitiveness and ability to participate in international trade.

Limitations and Exceptions: The Logistics Performance Index is an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance. Feedback from operators is supplemented with quantitative data on the performance of key components of the logistics chain in the country of work. Thus, the LPI consists of both qualitative and quantitative measures. In addition, despite being the most comprehensive data source for country logistics and trade facilitation, the LPI has two important limitations. First, the experience of international freight forwarders might not represent the broader logistics environment in poor countries, which often rely on traditional operators. And the international and traditional operators might differ in their interactions with government agencies - and in their service levels. Second, for landlocked countries and small-island states, the LPI might reflect access problems outside the country assessed, such as transit difficulties. The low rating of a landlocked country might not adequately reflect its trade facilitation efforts, which depend on the workings of complex international transit systems. Landlocked countries cannot eliminate transit inefficiencies with domestic reforms.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Data on lead time to export are from the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) survey. Respondents provided separate values for the best case (10 percent of shipments) and the median case (50 percent of shipments) of shipments from the point of origin (the seller's factory, typically located either in the capital city or in the largest commercial center) to the port of loading or equivalent (port/airport), and excluding international shipping. The Logistics Performance Index (LPI) uses a structured online survey of logistics professionals at multinational freight forwarders and at the main express carriers. The 2012 LPI data are based on the 2011 survey, which was administered to nearly 1,000 respondents at international logistics companies in 143 countries (domestic performance indicators). The international LPI covers 155 countries. The LPI assesses both large companies and small and medium enterprises. Most of the responses are from small and medium enterprises, with large companies (those with 250 employees or more) accounting for roughly 18 percent of responses. The respondents include groups of professionals who are directly involved in day-today operations, from company headquarters and from country offices such as senior executives, area or country managers, and department managers. Many of the respondents are at corporate or regional headquarters or at country branch offices. The rest are at local branch offices or independent firms. The majority of respondents are involved in providing most logistics services as their main line of work such as warehousing and distribution, customer-tailored logistics solutions, courier services, bulk or break bulk cargo transport, and less-than-full container, full-container, or full-trailer load transport. For the lead time to export, respondents were asked for quantitative information on their countries' international supply chains by picking choices from a dropdown menu. When a response indicates a single value, the answer is coded as the logarithm of that value. When a response indicates a range, the answer is coded as the logarithm of the midpoint of that range. Country scores are produced by exponentiating the average of responses in logarithms across all respondents for a given country. This method is equivalent to taking a geometric average in levels. Scores for regions, income groups, and LPI quintiles are simple averages of the relevant country scores.

Aggregation method: Unweighted average

Periodicity: Annual