The UAE ranked third in the 14th annual Agile Emerging Markets Logistics Index out of 50 countries, behind China and India.
Saudi Arabia ranks sixth. Both countries rank in the top 10 in all four index categories: domestic logistics, international logistics, business fundamentals and digital readiness. Qatar ranks in the top 10 in all categories, but international logistics ranks 19th.
Innovation and help for small businesses will give the biggest boost to non-oil economic growth in Gulf economies, which have outperformed most other countries, global supply chain executives said.
GCC countries again dominate the Business Fundamentals ranking, which compares the legal, regulatory and tax frameworks of emerging market countries. The United Arab Emirates (1), Qatar (2), Saudi Arabia (3), Oman (5), Bahrain (6) and Kuwait (11) top the list for the best business environment.
Of the six GCC economies, Kuwait (15th overall) has done the most to improve competitiveness, making progress in every category. In terms of digital readiness, Oman moved up five places to 10th and Bahrain rose six places to 16th, the biggest improvement among the GCC countries.
The index and survey of 750 global logistics industry executives make up Agility’s 14th annual snapshot of industry sentiment and ranking of key emerging markets around the world. The index ranks countries based on their comprehensive competitiveness based on factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, air and ocean carriers, distributors and investors.
In the survey, industry executives were asked to list the most important drivers of economic diversification in the GCC countries, all of which are trying to reduce their reliance on oil and gas by accelerating private sector growth. Respondents identified key factors as technological development and innovation; small business environment; infrastructure development; regional and global integration; business conditions for multinational corporations; skilled workforce; ending energy subsidies; and creating career opportunities for women.
Outside the GCC, rankings fluctuate widely. Conflict, sanctions, political instability, economic missteps and the lingering fallout from the coronavirus have hurt the competitiveness of Ukraine, Iran, Russia, Colombia, Paraguay and others. Countries making leaps in some categories include: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Jordan, Sri Lanka and Ghana.
2023 Index Highlights
• Net Zero Commitment – 53% of logistics executives said their company has committed to net zero emissions, and another 6.1% said their business has already achieved net zero emissions.
• Climate Change – Half said climate change is something their businesses must consider, while another 18% said it was already affecting them.
• Emerging Markets – 55% of respondents said they would expand more aggressively and invest in emerging markets, or keep current plans unchanged, despite fears of a recession.
• Digital Forwarding – Respondents indicated that the biggest benefit was improved tracking and visibility; the biggest drawback was error/exception management.
• Ukraine – 97% of respondents said their business was impacted by higher costs or other supply chain challenges due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
• China—Companies planning to reduce their reliance on Chinese sourcing are evenly split between those planning to expand in China. But only 11% of respondents said their company’s manufacturing footprint is the same as it was pre-Covid.
• Africa – Despite slow implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA), logistics executives believe Africa has a lot to gain from it.
• In the MENA region, the overall ranking is: United Arab Emirates (3); Saudi Arabia (6); Qatar (7); Turkey (11); Oman (12); Bahrain (14); Kuwait (15); 16); Morocco (20); Egypt (21); Tunisia (32); Lebanon (33); Iran (36); Algeria (41); Libya (50).
• Sub-Saharan Africa ranking: South Africa (24); Kenya (25); Ghana (29); Nigeria (34); Tanzania (37); Uganda (43); Ethiopia (45); Mozambique (46); Angola ( 48).
• Asia Composite Ranking: China (1); India (2); Malaysia (4); Indonesia (5); Thailand (8); Vietnam (10); Philippines (18); Kazakhstan (22); Pakistan (26 ); Sri Lanka (30); Bangladesh (35); Cambodia (38); Myanmar (49).
• Latin America Ranking: Mexico (9); Chile (13); Brazil (19); Uruguay (23); Peru (27); Colombia (28); Argentina (31); Ecuador (39); Paraguay (40); Bolivia (44); Venezuela (47).
• In Europe: Russia (17); Ukraine (42).
Launched in 2009, the index is compiled by Transport Intelligence (Ti), a leading logistics industry analysis and research company.
John Manners-Bell, chief executive of Ti, said: “The challenges facing emerging market countries over the past few years cannot be overstated. Geopolitical tensions combined with financial uncertainty and the lingering fallout from the pandemic, creating a more complex business and investment environment. The Agility Emerging Market Logistics Index is more important than ever in providing insight into the landscape of this dynamic and uncertain environment.” — trade arab news agency