The Middle East – A Rising Star in Global Logistics

Transport Intelligence (Ti) has focused a lot of attention on the Middle East this year – and rightfully so. It’s no surprise that global trade is changing thanks to manufacturing shifts, the loosening of trade barriers, nearshoring and foreign direct investments. As such, emerging markets are receiving heightened attention from the logistics community. The Middle East is one of these emerging markets and it is fast evolving into a global logistics hub.

Along with publishing the Middle East and North Africa Logistics report, Transport Intelligence (Ti) has published several white papers including a Middle East Logistics white paper series written by Ti’s CEO, John Manners-Bell and one on the Middle East e-commerce Logistics market written by Cathy Roberson. These publications along with special briefings culminated in Ti’s Emerging Markets Conference which was held June 4 and 5 in Dubai.

With over 200 registered delegates, the opening session was led by Ti’s CEO, John Manners-Bell and Agility Global Integrated Logistics President and CEO, Essa Al-Saleh. The two companies collaborate and produce an annual emerging markets logistics index. The latest results note the growing attractiveness of the Middle East region. For example, Essa Al-Saleh pointed out that Saudi Arabia has been a “star performer among emerging markets globally, taking third spot in the 2014 index.” In addition, Essa Al-Saleh observed that there has to be investments in “soft infrastructure” to support the “hard infrastructure” investments. Indeed, Ti’s CEO cautioned later at a press conference that “capacity planning in the Middle East is dysfunctional. It’s uncoordinated and it’s also unmanaged, and this will lead to capacity growing in entirely the wrong locations and a lot of white elephants. They just won’t have enough volumes to fill these ports or these airports.”

Along with the opening session, there were panel discussions on trade, moderated by Ti’s Head of Consulting, Joel Ray and further discussions, led by John Manners-Bell on infrastructure including an update from Etihad Rail. The last session of the day focused on IT which was moderated by Ti Advisory Board member and Managing Director for Virtual Partners, Ken Lyon.

The second day began with a discussion on supply chain risks, led by John Manners-Bell an expert in the field and author of the book, “Supply Chain Risk: Understanding Emerging Threats to Global Supply Chains”. To prove there is indeed more to the Middle East than just oil and gas, the rest of the sessions focused on the growth of e-commerce, moderated by Ken Lyon; Healthcare, moderated by Logistics Consultant, John Gould and of course a conversation on the oil and gas industry by Joel Ray and UPS’ Fred Lucha.

A special thank you to Ti’s Head of Marketing and Events, Sarah Smith, for bringing the conference together and to our conference partner – Agility – Thank you! Our sponsors, we thank you: Aramex, Kewill and Kogan Page. Also thank you to Logistics Executive and to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport for your support.

For the Twitter followers, thank you for the retweets and tweets. This was the first time Ti utilised a special Twitter hashtag and it was a great success!

Look for a new Twitter hashtag for our next conference in Singapore later this year. If you are interested in being a sponsor or getting involved, be sure to contact Sarah at [email protected]. To keep up with what’s going on with Ti be sure to sign up for our newsletters and follow us on Twitter @Transportintell.

Thank you again!