Despite many advantages in developing logistics service, Vietnam still faces many difficulties, including the shortage of human resources - key for establishing logistics services.
The logistics service industry in Vietnam has seen impressive progress in both speed and quantity. Shortage of capital, equipment and infrastructure are not insurmountable barriers for businesses operating in this field. In addition, profit margins and return on capital are relatively high. However, the strong development of this sector has led to a shortage of manpower. Vietnam now has over 800 logistics enterprises operating with about 40,000-45,000 labourers. However, the labour supply for this industry meets only about 40 percent of demand, while demand will increase on average 20-25 percent a year, said the Chairman of VIFFAS, Bui Ngoc Loan. According to VIFFAS, the association's members employ around 5,000 professionals, with about 4,000-5,000 others operating as professional or semi-professional forwarders who have not joined the association. Logistics operation is a professional activity and employees in the field should be well trained and fully equipped with knowledge as international freight forwarders. However, most logistics companies in Vietnam have confirmed a lack of highly qualified labour.
According to the survey results, demand for logistics personnel in Vietnam has been increasing since 2007. In order to deal with this, training centres must provide from 1,000-2,000 labourers per year. It is clear that Vietnam is unable to provide sufficient labour for the rapid development of logistics. As a result, many employees in this field are graduates from economic universities, foreign trade university and other faculties including maritime, transportation and foreign languages.
Filling the Gap
It is clear that the shortage of human resources in Vietnam's logistics industry has become serious. The urgent issue now is how to develop quality logistics human resources in Vietnam to meet the country's requirements. The vocational training sector in Vietnam must start offering courses on logistics and supply chain management, taught to international standards.
Understanding the problem, Vietnam Freight Forwarders Association (VIFFAS) has attempted to develop courses for trainers (Train the Trainer) under the standard of International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA); holding seminars and short training courses on logistics management in Hanoi, Haiphong, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City for enterprise managers. Recently, VIFFAS completed a specialized training document on Freight Forwarding and Logistics, meeting international standards and recognized by FIATA, including 12 subjects such as General freight forwarding, logistics, sea freight, air freight, road transport and rail transport. It is expected to be applied in teaching logistics courses.
Along with the expansion of cooperation in teaching logistics in universities, most logistics experts agree that Vietnam should quickly establish a centre for researching, training and consulting on logistics to provide skilled labour. This centre can be independent, under the authorities or relatively independent (with government support for specific projects). In addition, local authorities and enterprises need to have specific mechanisms and policies for the development of logistics human resources.
Enterprises can inform the association of training needs or areas of concern, said VIFFAS Head of Training and Human Resource Development, Do Xuan Quang. One positive step is sending promising staff to study abroad, Quang noted. Along with that, enterprises should focus on training and retraining current employees to build a staff with a good knowledge of geography, foreign trade and new techniques in international freight forwarding. Beside, enterprises should have programs to support students of logistics activities in Vietnam.
The implementation these comprehensive and effective solutions will help develop the logistics labour pool in our country. Sufficient and high quality human resources will be a good foundation for Vietnamese enterprises in integration, helping to develop freight forwarding service. Quality training for logistics’ professionals today will be a good step toward the country’s future development.