Skip to main content

Logistics performance and export competitiveness: European experience


Logistics performance has become a decisive factor in export competitiveness. At the same time, and as a result of the continuous enlargement processes it has undergone, the European Union (EU) is a very interesting case to study how the reforms that enhance logistics performance have affected exports. Therefore, this paper aims to analyse the importance of logistics performance in regard to EU exports over the period 2005–2010 in an attempt to identify possible advances on behalf of Member States. Several gravity equations are estimated using the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) and its components as characteristic proxy variables of trade facilitation. In order to avoid the possible heterogeneity caused by sample bias, the two-stage model proposed by Heckman is used. The estimations of the gravity models using the two-stage Heckman model for all 26 EU countries have led us to conclude that logistics was more important for exporting nations than importing nations in both 2005 and 2010, reinforcing the interest in the exporter side of the paper. In reference to the components of the LPI, Competence and Tracking has acquired greater importance in recent years, in keeping with the weak domestic demand in European countries and the search for new international markets.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. Behar et al. (2009); Behar and Venables (2010).

  2. The LPI has been used in other papers to capture the quality of trade facilitation (Hertel and Mirza 2009; Felipe and Kumar 2012).

  3. All 26 European countries have been removed in order to consider only non-EU exports.


  5. The coefficients of all the variables have been standardised in order to facilitate comparison.


  • Anderson JE (1979) A theorical foundation to the gravity equation. Am Econ Rev 69: 106–116

    Google Scholar 

  • Anderson J, Van Wincoop E (2003) Gravity with gravitas: a solution to the border puzzle. Am Econ Rev 93:170–192. doi:10.1257/000282803321455214

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Arvis JF, Mustra M, Ojala L, Shepherd B, Saslavsky D (2007) Connecting to compete: trade logistics in the global economy. World Bank, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  • Arvis JF, Mustra M, Panzer J, Ojala L, Naula T (2010) Connecting to compete: trade logistics in the global economy. World Bank, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  • Arvis JF, Mustra M, Ojala L, Shepherd B, Saslavsky D (2012) Connecting to compete: trade logistics in the global economy. World Bank, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  • Behar A, Manner P (2008) Logistics and exports. African economics working paper series 293. CSAE WPS/2008-13. University of Oxford, Oxford

  • Behar A, Venables AJ (2010) Transport costs and international trade. In: Palma A, Lindsey R, Quinet E, Vickerman R (eds) Handbook of transport economics. Edward Elgar, pp 97–115

  • Behar A, Manners P, Nelson B (2009) Exports and logistics. Oxford Department of Economics Discussion Paper 439

  • Bergstrand JH (1985) The gravity equation in international trade: some microeconomic foundations and empirical evidence. Rev Econ Stat 71: 143–153.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bergstrand JH (1989) The generalized gravity equation, monopolistic competition, and the factor-proportions theory in international trade. Rev Econ Stat 67: 474–481.

    Google Scholar 

  • Breuss F, Egger P (1999) How reliable are estimations of east-west trade potencials based on cross-section gravity analysis? Empirica 26:86–89. doi:10.1023/A:1007011329676

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • CILT (2012) Available at Accessed 02 Aug 2012

  • Felipe J, Kumar U (2012) The role of trade facilitation in Central Asia: a gravity model. East Eur Econ 50:5–20. doi:10.2753/EEE0012-875500401

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Heckman J (1979) Sample selection bias as a specification error. Econometrica 47: 153–161.

    Google Scholar 

  • Helpman E, Krugman P (1985) Market structure and foreign trade. Increasing returns, imperfect competition and the international economy. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA/London

  • Hertel T, Mirza T (2009) The role of trade facilitation in South Asian economic integration. Study on intraregional trade and investment in South Asia. ADB, Mandaluyong City

    Google Scholar 

  • Hollweg C, Wong M-H (2009) Measuring regulatory restrictions in logistics services. ERIA Discussion Paper Series, no. 14

  • Jane C–C (2011) Performance evaluation of logistic systems under cost and reliability considerations. Transp Res E-Log 47:130–137. doi:10.1016/j.tre.2010.09.012

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Keskin MH (2012) The exigencies of the common logistics policy for European community and the deconstruction of the common transportation policy. Afr J Bus Manage 6:10697–10707. doi:10.5897/AJBM11.1523

    Google Scholar 

  • Korinek J, Sourdin P (2011) To what extent are high-quality logistics services trade facilitating? Oecd trade policy working papers 108. OECD Publishing

  • Langley C, Coyle J, Gibson B, Novak R, Bardi E (2008) Managing supply chain: a logistics approach. South–Western College Publishing, London

  • Mangan J, Lalwani C, Butcher C (2008) Global logistics and supply chain management. Wiley John & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ

  • Martí ML, Puertas R, García L (2012) Relevance of trade facilitation in emerging countries′s export. J Int Trade Eco Dev.

  • Requena F, Llano C (2010) The border effects in Spain: an industrial-level analysis. Empirica 37:455–476. doi:10.1007/s10663-010-9123-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rushton A, Oxley J, Croucher P (2009) The handbook of logistics and distribution management. Kogan Page, London

  • Vilko J, Karandassov B, Myller E (2011) Logistic infrastructure and its effects on economic development. China–USA Bus Rev 10:1152–1167

    Google Scholar 

  • World Bank (2010) Trade and transport facilitation assessment: a practical toolkit for country implementation. World Bank, Washington

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rosa Puertas.



See Tables 4 and 5.

Table 4 Estimation results. EU-26 period 2005
Table 5 Estimation results. EU-26 period 2010

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Puertas, R., Martí, L. & García, L. Logistics performance and export competitiveness: European experience. Empirica 41, 467–480 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Logistic Performance Index
  • Trade
  • European Union
  • Gravity

JEL Classification

  • C5
  • F1
  • H54