Retailer will use Agility’s modern logistics facility to store and distribute

KUWAIT – June 21, 2021 – Agility, a leading global logistics provider, announced today that Kout Food Group (KFG), which manages restaurant operations and international franchise brands in Kuwait, has inaugurated its 16,000 SQM warehouse for a storage, distribution center, and truck parking at the Agility Logistics Park (ALP) in Sulaibiya.

KFG will establish its distribution center in Agility’s recently completed 26,000 SQM logistics warehouse, which was developed by ALP. The facility is the largest logistics warehouse in Kuwait.

KFG will use the ALP facility to store and distribute its goods, including food, near food and non-food products in the distribution center. From the ALP, KFG will deliver to its restaurants and Al Homaizi Fresh Productions and Al Homaizi Family companies. KFG’s fleet of 25 trucks will deliver from the distribution center at the ALP to its stores and restaurants across Kuwait.

Nader Sakeen, CEO of ALP Kuwait and GCC, said: “We are pleased to welcome KFG to our premises, and congratulate them on the establishment of the distribution center at our ALP in Sulaibiya. Agility is a leader in the design and construction of logistics parks and warehouses. We deliver large-scale projects that help accelerate growth and enhance operational efficiency for companies in Kuwait, whether they are multinationals, leading national and regional businesses, or small and medium-sized companies.”

KFG Deputy CEO Amin Mohammed said: “We are proud to launch our new and modern distribution center in cooperation with Agility. We believe we have the best of both worlds, a state-of-the-art warehouse built to meet our standards and requirements provided by Agility, along with the best warehouse equipment provided by our team at KFG. We look forward to a fruitful relationship with Agility from our new facility.”  

Left: Amin Mohammed, Deputy CEO, KFG; Right: Nader Sakeen, CEO of ALP Kuwait and GCC

In Sulaibiya, the ALP features built-up, international-standard warehousing and logistics facilities that serve leading multinationals, government as well as small and medium-sized businesses operating in Kuwait.

The advanced design and layout of ALP’s logistics warehouses give customers the ability to store more goods in less space while also utilizing state-of-the-art technology and systems that ensure smooth management of inventory and flow of goods. The facility is a multiple-temperature warehouse.  ALP tenants are able to use them for storage, distribution. The Sulaibiya warehouse will also house the largest freezer and chiller rooms in Kuwait at nearly 7,000 SQM.

ALP provides its customers with ready-built warehouses; built-to-suit warehouses; shared facilities; and open storage, laydown, and truck and car-staging yards. The logistics park also includes ambient and air-conditioned warehouses; freezers and chillers; concrete paving container-yard storage; and racked warehouses. Agility’s warehouses meet international environmental standards and feature eco-friendly construction materials, using energy-efficient roof and side-insulated panels, wind-driven roof fans, skylights for natural lighting, along with LED and energy-saving light fittings.

Agility’s Eric ten Kate and Global Response Aid’s Mitch Wilson give the keynote interview at Global Trade Review’s MENA event about vaccines and the practicalities of post-Covid recovery.

In its annual Emerging Markets Logistics Index Agility says the global recession and COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains and forced logistics professionals to adapt to new realities.

Originally published on CNBCAfrica.com

China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia among leaders in global logistics ranking

SINGAPORE – February 9, 2021 – Asia-Pacific nations lead all emerging market regions with China, India and Indonesia being the world’s top emerging markets in the 12th annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, a broad gauge of competitiveness based on logistics strength and business fundamentals.

The Index ranks 50 countries by factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, air cargo carriers and distributors. Among ASEAN countries, Vietnam climbs three spots to No. 8 overall. Indonesia (3), Malaysia (5) and Thailand (11) are strong; the Philippines rises one spot to No. 21.

China and Vietnam were virtually alone in the world in 2020, posting positive GDP growth for the year after being hit early by economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Early 2020 supply disruptions in China prompted some to question whether it would experience an exodus of manufacturing by multi-nationals seeking to diversify sourcing and production. But the 1,200 logistics industry executives surveyed for Agility’s Index indicate little desire to uproot from China or other markets, preferring by a two-to-one margin to protect their supply chains by accelerating adoption of digital tools and technology (41.3%) as opposed to pursuing multi-shoring, near-shoring or reshoring strategies (21.9%).

Of those who would consider moving out of China, more respondents chose Vietnam as a preferred production hub than any other country (19.6%). Other Asian markets – India (17.4%), Indonesia (12.4%), Thailand (10.3%) and Malaysia – are the next leading choices. Only 7.8% of industry executives say relocating production from China would mean reshoring to their home countries.

Asia-Pacific is the region that more respondents believe will recover from the global pandemic by the end of 2021. Of those surveyed, 55.9% predict an Asia-Pacific economic recovery in 2021; 53.1% believe Europe will rebound.

“Asia Pacific experienced great turmoil in the beginning of 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, but it has rebounded strongly, led by the powerful performance of China and Vietnam. The region is on track for a full recovery this year,” says Andy Vargoczky, SVP of Sales & Marketing Asia-Pacific, Agility GIL. “India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam continue to improve their supply chain infrastructure and capabilities, showing why they are leaders in domestic and international logistics.”

Across 50 countries, China, India and Indonesia rank highest in the Index for domestic logistics. China, India and Mexico are on top for international logistics with Vietnam 4th, Indonesia 5th, and Malaysia 7th. UAE, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have the best business fundamentals.

2021 Index and Survey Highlights

  • While total cost is driving overall shifts in production supply chains, today low-cost labor is barely a consideration for emerging market investment — with only 2.2% of industry executives saying it’s important. Executives say the most important factors are government bureaucracy and regulation (25.8%); infrastructure quality (14.1%); and supply of skilled labor (8.0%). As companies examine new production locations, they say their biggest concerns are inadequate infrastructure (14.5%) and additional cost (13.5%).
  • Of the executives surveyed, 19.1% say 2020 sales decreased as a result of the pandemic. But only 9.4% say COVID-related employee safety measures have decreased efficiency.
  • The sustainability movement has momentum. More than a quarter (26.9%) of executives surveyed say their companies are boosting implementation of environmentally sustainable practices in the wake of the pandemic. Another 45.2% say their plans are unchanged, suggesting they have no intention of retreating from sustainability commitments.
  • The most competitive emerging markets are manufacturing powerhouses in Asia and the business-friendly economies in the Gulf region. From Asia, China (1), India (2), Indonesia (3), Malaysia (5) and Vietnam (8) made the top 10. Gulf nations United Arab Emirates (4), Saudi Arabia (6), Qatar (9) also ranked in the top 10. Mexico came in at 7th; Turkey was No. 10.
  • In Latin America, Mexico is the strongest emerging market, ranking 7th overall. Argentina (36) and Venezuela (50) continue to be plagued by chronic economic dysfunction. Notably, though, eight countries in Latin America improved their business fundamentals: Uruguay, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. The region’s best business climate is in Chile, which ranks 5th out of 50 countries in that category.
  • Nigeria improved its competitiveness more than any country in the 2021 Index, moving up five spots to No. 30, the highest climb for any market in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 12 years of the Index. Nigeria improved its relative position in all three areas of the Index: business climate, international logistics and domestic logistics.
  • The countries improving their domestic logistics strengths the most were Malaysia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Iran, Uruguay, Myanmar and Cambodia. The biggest strides in international logistics came from Morocco, Ukraine, Kenya, Myanmar and Paraguay.

Transport Intelligence (Ti), a leading analysis and research firm for the logistics industry, compiled the Index.

John Manners-Bell, Chief Executive of Ti, says: “The strength of the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index has always been to differentiate between those emerging markets which demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity and those which are more fragile. This year is no exception. Although some – especially China and Vietnam – have been able to rebalance around domestic industrial and consumer demand, the majority are still highly dependent on international markets and investment. A lack of global demand, combined with the breakdown of air and sea logistics networks, has had severe consequences for these economies and societies. As the COVID crisis finally unwinds over the next two years, those most resilient will bounce back the fastest. Inevitably, those which have failed to embrace market, trade, governmental and social reforms will be hardest hit by the fallout from the pandemic.”

2021 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index:  www.agility.com/2021index

Pandemic fallout to weigh on global economy even as some regions rebound, survey indicates

BAAR, Switzerland – February 9, 2021 – Supply chain industry executives do not foresee a global economic recovery until 2022 or beyond, despite an expectation that Asia, North America and Europe will rebound this year from the downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of 1,200 industry professionals surveyed for the 2021 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, 51.5% say they don’t expect a full recovery until 2022-2024. They see Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa as the last regions to bounce back.

The survey is part of the 2021 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, the company’s 12th annual snapshot of industry sentiment and ranking of the world’s 50 leading emerging markets.

The Index is a broad gauge of countries’ competitiveness based on their international and domestic logistics strengths and business fundamentals — factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, air cargo carriers and distributors.

Cover of 2021 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index

In 2021, China and India remain atop the overall Index. Vietnam leaped to No. 8, up three spots, as Asia-Pacific and Gulf markets dominated the top 10. Nigeria rose five spots to No. 30, the highest climb for a Sub-Saharan Africa country in the 12 years of the Index. Gulf countries outperformed most others in business climate, but eight Latin America markets improved their business fundamentals rankings. Malaysia and Nigeria made the most notable upward moves in domestic logistics; Turkey, Brazil, Morocco, Ukraine, Kenya and Myanmar made progress in international logistics competitiveness.

In the survey, logistics executives indicated they see the duration of the pandemic as the biggest factor in determining when global economic activity will return to 2019 levels, viewing U.S.-China trade relations, Brexit, protectionism and other factors as secondary.

“The economic disruption caused by the pandemic is not behind us. Lockdowns and shipping challenges will constrain consumer and business activity through much of 2021,” says Chris Price, CEO of Agility Global Integrated Logistics (GIL). “The companies, markets and regions poised to recover most quickly are likely to be those using digital technology to collect data, share information, get supply chain visibility, and transact with customers and stakeholders.”

How are industry executives trying to protect their supply chains? By a two-to-one margin, they are speeding up adoption of technology and online business capabilities (41.3%) vs. choosing to move production through multi-shoring, near-shoring or reshoring strategies (21.9%).

Logistics executives felt disruption across the entire supply chain in 2020, saying they struggled to cope with port congestion (19.6%), transportation capacity (18.4%), supplies of parts and inputs (16.9%), distribution and delivery (16.1%), maintaining international operations (15.1%), and storage (13.8%).

In their own operations, industry executives say the most acute pain points were planning and forecasting for both supply and demand. Managing orders and cash flow were the areas next most affected by pandemic.

Despite their caution, industry executives are feeling opportunistic about emerging markets. More than half (52.0%) of respondents say they plan to increase business activity in developing markets or say they have more confidence in emerging economies. Only 19.5% say they are less confident in emerging markets.

2021 Index and Survey Highlights

  • Even when they consider easing dependence on China, few companies plan to bring manufacturing jobs back home. Only 7.8% of industry executives say relocating production from China would mean reshoring to their home countries. Vietnam (19.6%), India (17.4%) and Indonesia (12.4%) are the leading choices for relocation, followed by Thailand (10.3%) and Malaysia (9.6%), according to those surveyed.
  • While total cost is driving overall shifts in production supply chains, today low-cost labor is barely a consideration for emerging markets investment — with only 2.2% of industry executives saying it’s important. Executives say the most important factors are government bureaucracy and regulation (25.8%); infrastructure quality (14.1%); and supply of skilled labor (8.0%). As companies examine new production locations, they say their biggest concerns are inadequate infrastructure (14.5%) and additional cost (13.5%).
  • Of the executives surveyed, 19.1% say 2020 sales decreased as a result of the pandemic. But only 9.4% say COVID-related employee safety measures have decreased efficiency.
  • The sustainability movement has momentum. More than a quarter (26.9) of executives surveyed say their companies are boosting implementation of environmentally sustainable practices in the wake of the pandemic. Another 45.2% say their plans are unchanged, suggesting they have no intention of retreating from sustainability commitments.
  • The most competitive emerging markets are manufacturing powerhouses in Asia and the business-friendly economies in the Gulf region. From Asia, China (1), India (2), Indonesia (3), Malaysia (5) and Vietnam (8) made the top 10. Gulf nations United Arab Emirates (4), Saudi Arabia (6), Qatar (9) also ranked in the top 10. Mexico came in at 7th; Turkey was No. 10.
  • In Latin America, Mexico is the strongest emerging market, ranking 7th overall. Argentina (36) and Venezuela (50) continue to be plagued by chronic economic dysfunction. Notably, though, eight countries in Latin America improved their business fundamentals: Uruguay, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. The region’s best business climate is in Chile, which ranks 5th out of 50 countries in that category.
  • Nigeria improved its competitiveness more than any country in the 2021 Index, moving up five spots to No. 30, the highest climb for any market in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 12 years of the Index. Nigeria improved its relative position in all three areas of the Index: business climate, international logistics and domestic logistics.
  • The countries improving their domestic logistics strengths the most were Malaysia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Iran, Uruguay, Myanmar and Cambodia. The biggest strides in international logistics came from Morocco, Ukraine, Kenya, Myanmar and Paraguay.

Transport Intelligence (Ti), a leading analysis and research firm for the logistics industry, compiled the Index.

John Manners-Bell, Chief Executive of Ti, says: “The strength of the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index has always been to differentiate between those emerging markets which demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity and those which are more fragile. This year is no exception. Although some – especially China and Vietnam – have been able to rebalance around domestic industrial and consumer demand, the majority are still highly dependent on international markets and investment. A lack of global demand, combined with the breakdown of air and sea logistics networks, has had severe consequences for these economies and societies. As the COVID crisis finally unwinds over the next two years, those most resilient will bounce back the fastest. Inevitably, those which have failed to embrace market, trade, governmental and social reforms will be hardest hit by the fallout from the pandemic.”

2021 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index: www.agility.com/2021index

New LTL and FTL service to benefit Gulf businesses, consumers

KUWAIT – February 7, 2021 – Agility, a leading global logistics provider, and its digital innovation arm Shipa, a trusted last-mile delivery and e-commerce logistics player, announced the launch of a bonded, express road freight network to connect businesses and consumers across the GCC.

The new service provides customers with less-than-truckload (LTL) and full truckload (FTL) options and a fast, cost-effective way to ship packages, pallets or containers of goods with daily departures and scheduled pickups in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.

The service draws on the network and expertise of the Gulf’s leading logistics provider. Agility’s warehousing footprint is the GCC’s largest and includes world-class facilities in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain, that are supported by teams of customs clearance experts. Agility owns one of the region’s largest road fleets and provides online tracking for parcels and other cargo. Shipa specializes in e-commerce and efficient last-mile delivery.

Express road freight provided by Agility and Shipa offers parcel tracking throughout the GCC and includes value-added services including temperature-controlled transportation; merge-in-transit; just-in-time delivery; reverse logistics; and control-tower management. It also will help shippers deal with undelivered parcels that must be returned to fulfillment centers. The bonded road freight service is licensed to carry cargo that has not yet been subject to taxes and duties in countries where applicable.

“The growth in e-commerce across the GCC has provided an opportunity to better serve customers with cost effective and reliable solutions,” says Henadi Al-Saleh, Agility Chairperson and leader of Agility’s corporate ventures arm. “E-commerce growth has been accelerated by the pandemic, and many companies have been transacting more of their business online. The Shipa-Agility partnership is aimed at helping these companies expand their businesses across the region and tap into new markets.”

Elias Monem, Agility Global Integrated Logistics (GIL) CEO for Middle East & Africa, says: “Agility is continuously looking to improve and expand what we offer to clients. This new service allows us to use our bonded and non-bonded infrastructure and our modern road fleet to provide customers with a faster, more cost-effective shipping and delivery.”