Executives are upbeat about 2022 despite pandemic-driven disruption, record freight rates
Most logistics industry executives see moderate-to-strong economic growth and little or no chance of a recession in 2022, even without immediate relief from the snarled supply chains and sky-high ocean and air freight rates triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
2022 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Survey Analysis
Roughly two-thirds of the 756 industry professionals surveyed for the 2022 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics believe shippers will see cargo rates come down by the end of the year. Eighty percent see port bottlenecks, air capacity shortages, and trucking issues easing by year-end.
“The industry’s optimism reflects the fact that emerging economies are getting more resilient and figuring out ways to weather supply chain disruption,” said CEO Tarek Sultan. “If emerging markets can get better access to vaccines and give small business a boost, they can help power a broad, dynamic global recovery.”
The survey is part of the 2022 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, the company’s 13th annual snapshot of industry sentiment and ranking of the world’s 50 leading emerging markets. The Index ranks countries for overall competitiveness based on their logistics strengths, business climates, and, for the first time, their digital readiness — factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, air and ocean carriers, distributors, and investors.
World’s Leading Logistics Markets
China and India, the world’s two largest countries, held their spots at No. 1 and 2 in the overall rankings. UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Thailand, Mexico, and Turkey rounded out the top 10. Vietnam, No. 8 in 2021, fell to 11th, switching places with Thailand. South Africa ranked No. 24, the highest among countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Arabian Gulf economies again boasted the most business-friendly conditions, grabbing five of the six top spots. The top 10 for business fundamentals: UAE, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Chile, China, Morocco, and Jordan. Another Gulf state, Kuwait, was No. 12.
Powerhouse exporters China, India, and Mexico, topped the rankings for international logistics. China, India, and Indonesia ranked highest for domestic logistics.
Scoring Digital Readiness
For the first time, the Index scored countries for digital readiness: digital skills, training, Internet access, e-commerce growth, investment climate, and ability to nurture startups, as well as sustainability factors such as renewable energy mix, lower emissions intensity, and green initiatives.
Tops in digital readiness: UAE, Malaysia, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Thailand, Qatar, Indonesia, Chile, and the Philippines. Most digitally ready in Sub-Saharan Africa: Kenya at No. 17.
“The connection between a country’s digital capabilities and growth prospects is undeniable,” Sultan said. “The competitiveness of emerging markets countries will be determined by their ability to develop digitally skilled businesses and talent pools, and find the resolve to lower their emissions in ways that spur growth rather than sacrificing it.”
The importance of digital readiness was apparent in the survey. Logistics executives identified the adoption of technology as the leading driver of economic and business growth for emerging markets. The top focus areas for their companies: technology and sustainability.
2022 Index Highlights:
- In the Middle East and North Africa, overall rankings were: UAE (3), Saudi Arabia (6), Qatar (7), Turkey (10), Oman (14), Bahrain (15), Kuwait (17), Jordan (19), Morocco (20), Egypt (21), Iran (30), Lebanon (35), Tunisia (36), Algeria (37), Libya (50).
- Rankings in Asia: China (1), India (2), Malaysia (4), Indonesia (5), Thailand (8), Vietnam (11), Philippines (18), Kazakhstan (22), Pakistan (27), Sri Lanka (33), Bangladesh (39), Cambodia (40), Myanmar (49).
- Overall Index rankings for Latin America: Mexico (9), Chile (12), Brazil (16), Uruguay (23), Colombia (25), Peru (26), Argentina, (31), Ecuador (38), Paraguay (41), Bolivia (44), Venezuela (48).
- Index rankings for Sub-Saharan Africa: South Africa (24), Kenya (28), Ghana (32), Nigeria (34), Tanzania (42), Uganda (43), Ethiopia (45), Mozambique (46), Angola (47).
Transport Intelligence (Ti), a leading analysis and research firm for the logistics industry compiled the Index.
John Manners-Bell, Chief Executive of Ti, said: “How quickly emerging markets recover from the crisis of the last two years is heavily reliant on the speed of the vaccine rollout, not least from the perspective of social, economic, and political cohesion. At the same time, the links connecting these economies with western markets must be reinstated if shippers are to be integrated into the global trading system. COVID has meant that shipping has become even more costly, complicated, and slower, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Digitization will play an important role in facilitating frictionless cross-border movements. Still, in the long run, the benefits of globalization will only be shared with emerging markets if supply chains and logistics can be made more resilient in the face of future crises.”
2022 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index: www.agility.com/2022index