Logistics remain to be a major pain point for e-commerce players in the Philippine market. Existing burdensome and complicated Customs processes have been the subject of a lot of complaints even for low-value shipments.
The issue that has been commonly raised is the lack of awareness on Customs taxes and duties resulting to confusion among those who buy online from international sites and for those who ship local products to international buyers.
Various import permit documents remain to be mostly paper-based or still not done electronically requiring a Filipino buyer or seller to personally visit each of the relevant government agencies to file the permit and await its approval. For instance, the National Single Window, which is a very important e-commerce application, has yet to be fully implemented. It is critical that we fully implement this soon to enable our country to participate in the ASEAN Single Window and to prepare our stakeholders for cross-border e-commerce.
On the distribution side, the provision of reliable courier services, particularly in the countryside, continues to be a major problem. This is compounded by the fact that some buyers cannot provide their exact address due to absence of a geocoding system in some of the rural areas in the Philippines.
In order to address this issue, some online merchants have resorted to delivery of items using motorcycles and even bicycles just to penetrate the rural areas.