“Capacity building for professionals in public and private sector involved in the transport and logistics sector by means of training and workshops is critical for the adoption of green logistics technologies in the GMS region.”
This was the message emphasized by Mr. Robby Rosandi, Project Coordinator, Trade and Investment Facilitation Department, Mekong Institute (MI) at the Policy Dialogue on Green Freight in the Greater Mekong Subregion on 29 - 31 March 2023. The gathering was organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as part of the GMS Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Program (CCESP).
In his presentation titled “Facilitating the Transition to Low-carbon Freight: Policies and Strategies in the GMS and the ways forward”, Mr. Robby highlighted the importance of capacity-building programs on digitalization, green technologies adoption, multimodal freight transportation, and fiscal policy for professionals from both the public and private sectors. He also provided an overview of the green freight mitigation measures as stipulated in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
The event’s objective was to bring together key stakeholders, namely Working Group Environment (WGE) focal points and coordinators, representatives of government departments and ministries from each GMS country, development partners, and representatives from civil society, academia, and the private sector to share knowledge, global best practices, and ways forward. The policy dialogues are considered key instruments in achieving CCESP’s mission to support environmental cooperation in the GMS and mainstream environmental concerns into development planning.
The ADB CCESP team took the opportunity to present findings from the green freight policy assessment, and identified needs for capacity building. The challenges identified included technical and unskilled labor, infrastructure and connectivity, regulatory framework, logistics and supply chain management, economic considerations, and climate resilience, as well as the environmental impact. In response, some policy measures were proposed, namely:
(i) Economic instruments e.g., Road user charges (toll roads and congestion charging), adapt parking policies based on pricing, differentiate taxation based on fuel types, develop financial instruments to support decarbonization
(ii) Regulatory instruments e.g., limit access to vehicles based on size or emission levels, speed or access regulations over periods of time, regulate for low emission vehicles, etc.
(iii) Education and awareness raising e.g., educate companies on the benefits of sustainable logistics practices or provide information on alternative fuels and, provide capacity building for better planning and governance, improve data collection and analysis, emissions reporting, etc.
(iv) Enhancement of Infrastructure e.g., invest in electrification of railways and create solutions for transport hubs to support modal transfer of goods, reduce the number of trucks on the road or develop new technologies to make freight transportation more efficient.
(v) Stimulation of innovation and development e.g., Adaptive governance and procurement frameworks that allow for innovation including prototyping and demonstration projects, invest in research initiatives, digitalization of platforms, etc.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Srinivasan Ancha, Principal Climate Change Specialist, ADB requested the CCESP team to include and elaborate on Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives, regional cooperation approaches that involve more countries in the region, and digitalization in the freight transport sector. He also expressed appreciation for MI’s work under the Mekong Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF) in developing a logistics company database (www.logisticsgms.com) and its additional function to introduce green freight and logistics technologies in the Mekong region.
Besides the Green Freight Policy Dialogue, other Policy Dialogues also took place, including Policy Dialogues on Low-Carbon Agriculture, Air Pollution Control, and Plastic Waste Management towards Circular Economy. The 3-day forum was held onsite in Vientiane, Lao PDR and online.