6 Feb 19

Philippines: the impact of traffic & Congestion on fleet management

Metro Manila, the Philippines’ capital is a fascinating place where tradition meets modernity. High rises and wide lanes alternate with small streets where children play. But the issue that bothers everyone, is the congestion.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness index ranks Manila traffic as the 4th worst traffic amongst the 137 countries covered in the report, only preceded by Dhaka, Kolkata and Jakarta. The Philippines’ overall infrastructure is (after inefficient government bureaucracy) considered to be the second most problematic factor for doing business in the country, putting the Philippines on the 97th spot out of 137 countries.

The congestion and the lack of good infrastructure has an obvious impact on both businesses and employees. Next to the frustration of standing still in traffic on the way to work in the morning, the Filipino workforce, not accepting being late at work or meetings, waste time on the way to clients and coming home late because of congestion. Logistics businesses suffer obviously from the same problems and have resolved to micro-deliveries (motorcycle) wherever possible.

Government is recognising the problem and has started a massive infrastructure project, called “Build, Build, Build”, that will consume up to 7.4% of the country’s GDP. It contains new highways, expressways and 13 new metro stations, which will surely reduce the pressure on daily traffic, but won’t make it disappear.

Outsourcing & Mobility

The smart solution for companies in the Philippines today is triple. Firstly, introduce flexible working hours. Even if traffic is dense at 10AM, it’s more fluid than at 8AM and people will have worked a couple of hours from home. 

The second suggestion is to work together with other companies in the same building, area or business park and develop solutions that a large group of people can benefit from. Suggestions are: shuttle buses, pooled cars, shared cars, agreements with taxi companies or GRAB for station based services.

Thirdly, the blooming BPO sector in the Philippines. Rather than employing people for non-core tasks in each company, outsourcing is becoming more popular. Many of the BPO suppliers are located in industrial zones outside of Metro Manila and work during night time, which has a decongesting effect of EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Manila’s ringway). 

Image: traffic in Manila

Author: Yves Helven
Co-author: Quincy Buenaflor (Diamond Fleet Solutions)