Raising logistics efficiency
As international competition intensifies amidst the globalizing economy, the urgent task of domestic industries is to strengthen international competitiveness. To reduce costs, thus creating an international competitive edge, cutting logistics costs is a major strategic objective for many domestic industries. Logistics costs can be cut back by raising efficiency in the areas of transportation, supplementing, loading/unloading, packing, distribution processing, and information. To this end, good coordination in these areas is essential. For example, the information field could be improved by developing EDI for the logistics sector, or by standardizing logistics specifications. For inter-city logistics, possible measures include consolidated transportation, palletization, and modal shifts according to cargo specifications. For logistics within cities (regions), a study now underway could lead to the development of a joint cargo collection system.
Deregulation in physical distribution market
Physical distribution market has been deregulated in accordance with the Deregulation Action Program, approved by the Cabinet in 1995. Efforts are underway to increase business opportunities and consumer choices, introduce flexible fee structures, and reduce the amount of paperwork involving government authorities. One typical example is so-called "two laws of trucking businesses" founded in 1990, which eased the requirements for starting a trucking business and lowered the number of vehicles such a business must have in its fleet. The 1996 revision of the Automobile Terminal Law means prospective operators of automobile terminals need only to obtain permission from relevant authorities, rather than applying for a license. Deregulation is also being considered in the Tonnage Adjustments and Port Transportation projects regulating coastal shipping business. Progressive deregulation is expected to raise logistics efficiency, thus strengthening the international competitiveness of domestic industries.