Based on recent surveys and rankings (such as the World Bank’s Doing Business Index, the Logistics Performance Index and others), the trade logistics environment in Belarus has been improving over many areas. A report by Business Eastern Europe in 2009 however shows high operational risk ratings in Belarus (see Table ). This is mainly due to the uneven development in the different areas. Annex 1 presents the concept of logistics costs and international reference data.
Table . Operational Risk Ratings of Selected CIS Countries (2009)
The Doing Business Index of 2010 ranks Belarus as the 58th most conducive environment to the operation of business. This ranking points to remarkable improvements in the regulatory environment (see Table and Table ). As a result, Belarus fares better than many of its neighboring countries that have introduced fewer reforms. The Government of Belarus seems to place significant importance on the Doing Business Index, and the official goal for Belarus is to reach the top 30 countries in the rankings (Tatarchuk, 2009).
Table . International Comparison of Rank Changes in the Doing Business Index (2009-2010)
Source: Doing Business Index. 2010.
Table . Rank Changes in the Components of the Doing Business Index for Belarus (2009-2010)
While significant improvements have been achieved, some basic fundamentals for business remain very constrained.Setbacks in financing and protection of investments are reported (see Table ) to be the main constraints. The ease of conducting international trade has improved only marginally and therefore remains on a somewhat low level in international ranking (129th place among 183 countries). The specific improvements in this field mentioned by the Doing Business Survey are implementation of a risk-based management system and reduction in cross-border transit times.
According to the Logistics Performance Index 2007 (LPI), Belarus outperformed its CIS peers in three components: efficiency of the customs clearance process; transport infrastructure; and shipment tracking and tracing. Out of 150 countries, Belarus ranked 74th in the LPI’s overall index in 2007 (score 2.53). Other CIS countries fared worse in the overall ranking, with Russia as 99th (score 2.37), Moldova as 106th (score 2.31) and Kazakhstan as 133rd (score 2.2) (see Figure ). Comparison of Belarus with EU peers (Poland, Latvia, Lithuania) indicated a relatively high quality of transport and communications infrastructure and a competitive level of direct domestic logistics costs (see Figure ). According to the LPI 2007, customs clearance procedures were up to par with the respective ones in neighboring EU countries. It was however indicated that progress could be achieved in international shipments, logistics competence, and timeliness of shipments in reaching destination.
Figure . Logistics Performance Index: Performance of Belarus and Selected CIS Countries (2007)
Note: Upper graph indicates LPI Scores and the lower graph LPI ranking.
Belarus seems to comparatively underperform in the ease and affordability of arranging international shipments, as well as in the level of competence of the local logistics industry(see Figure ). Comparison of the LPI of several countries should correlate with the level of development, measured, for example, in terms of GDP (see Figure ). Considering its GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity per capita (PPP per capita), Belarus seems to have performed as expected in 2007. On the other hand, Ukraine and especially Poland and Latvia over-performed in 2007 when the level of prosperity is taken into account. Due to insufficient number of responses during the survey, Belarus was not included in the LPI 2010, which was published on January 15, 2010.
Figure . Over and Underachievers in the LPI in 2007 and 2010: Belarus and Selected Countries