Disruption, congestion and sky-high rates cause pain for emerging logistics markets, but a digital future promises post-pandemic growth

Logistics industry professionals offer an upbeat outlook with expectations for a global recovery in 2022

  • Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index finds Covid-19 and pandemic effects still dictating performance and growth trajectories
  • 750+ survey respondents optimistic for growth over the year ahead but see uneven recovery for leading emerging logistics markets
  • Annual measure of world’s most promising emerging logistics markets introduces new Digital Readiness ranking; shows a sustainable, tech-driven path to growth for logistics in developing economies.
  • ‘Adoption of technology’ is the most important factor in emerging market growth over the next 10 years, according to survey respondents, but half say cost or access to services is holding back their ability to operate more sustainability in developing economies.
  • China and India dominate data-driven Index rankings, but Gulf States and Southeast Asian markets provide an ever-stronger push for growth
  • 44% say air freight rates will remain high until at least Q3 2022, while 51% say sea freight rates will remain elevated until at least the second half of the year. 47.5% say it will take at least as long for supply chain congestion to unwind.

8th February 2022, Bath, UK – The 2022 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index finds that emerging markets preparing for a post-pandemic future driven by connectivity, digital technologies and sustainable business practices are set for future growth. The findings, part of new research from Transport Intelligence (Ti) and Agility, comes as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to distort supply chains. A year of extreme supply chain dysfunction in 2021 saw capacity constraints, bottlenecks, sky-high freight rates and supply shortages globally. The forces driving the dysfunction remain in place and look set to only unwind later in 2022. Beyond the short-term supply chain challenges, many emerging markets will also have to grapple with high inflation, rising costs, lower consumer confidence and the rollout of vaccination programmes.

The industry professionals surveyed for the 2022 edition of the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index offered a broadly positive outlook for the year ahead, despite the challenges. Around two-thirds of respondents expect record freight rates to return closer to historical levels during 2022, while 80% see supply chain congestion unwinding. Uncertainty over the strength of the global recovery remains, with more than one-third of respondents saying a global recession in 2022 is ‘likely’ or ‘certain’, while the Middle East & North Africa, Central Asia, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa regions are all unlikely to see growth in 2022. In sum, survey respondents predict an uncertain and challenging year for many emerging markets.

“Over the past two years, Covid-19 has brutally exposed the systemic vulnerability of global supply chains. As was the case during the Great Recession of 2008, emerging markets have felt the full force of the breakdown in global trading systems. Whilst globalization had promised so much to small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in developing countries, once more the rug has been pulled from beneath their nascent businesses” said John Manners-Bell, CEO of Transport Intelligence. “As our survey finds, governments and logistics companies will need to work together to address costs and develop sustainable transport and logistics services. This theme of public/private sector collaboration runs through this year’s report. Governments and intergovernmental organizations have the responsibility to reduce barriers to trade that are preventing emerging market exporters from exploiting global markets – digitization will be critical. Recovery in the short-term is by no means inevitable and unless there is a coordinated effort by all supply chain stakeholders, the gulf between emerging and developed countries will only continue to grow.”

In the data-driven Index ranking, eight of the top 10 ranking positions in the 2022 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index are occupied by emerging markets from Asia Pacific and the Gulf states. Asia Pacific’s emerging markets offer the strongest Domestic and International Logistics Opportunities, although results in the 2022 Index see the region’s domestic logistics markets leadership erode. The Gulf states have built dynamic and robust business environments which not only lead emerging markets but increasingly chase global best practices. Online retail, the adoption of technology digital business practices and investment in sustainable energy resources see both regions’ emerging markets share Digital Readiness leadership.

Nick Bailey, Head of Research at Ti, said “The upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the acceleration in the pace of change it continues to drive have altered the course of emerging market development. The result is that emerging market potential, in logistics and beyond, relies more than ever on the role of technology, innovation, skills and sustainability in both unlocking a country’s potential and in its integration into global value chains. Leaders in the new Digital Readiness ranking combine a connected population, a digitally skilled workforce, globally compatible and future-orientated business ecosystems and a culture of entrepreneurial risk. The Digital Readiness rankings, like those for business fundamentals, are an area where smaller economies lacking in scale can attain competitive advantage and integrate more deeply into the global economy without having to make the heavy investment required for world-class logistics infrastructure.”

Other Agility Emerging Markets Index 2022 Results:

  • China and India maintain their position at the top of the Index, ranking 1st and 2nd overall. Rounding out the top 10 were: UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Thailand, Mexico and Turkey. Vietnam fell from 8th in 2021 to 11th overall.
  • Vast populations, domestic production capabilities and online retail development see China, India and Indonesia top the Domestic Logistics Opportunities ranking. The sophisticated and well-connected export markets of China, India and Mexico are the strongest emerging markets for International Logistics Opportunities.
  • The UAE, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia top the Business Fundamentals ranking, a measure that is increasingly dominated by the Gulf States. Along with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman rank in the top 10, with Kuwait in 12th.
  • The UAE tops the first-ever Digital Readiness ranking, which measures all 50 emerging markets by their adaptability and preparedness of the digitally-driven and sustainable post-pandemic global economy. The rest of the Top 10: Malaysia, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Thailand, Qatar, Indonesia, Chile and the Philippines.

Transport Intelligence (Ti), a leading analysis and research firm for the logistics industry, compiled the Index. Download the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index here: www.ti-insight.com/agility-emerging-markets-logistic-index.

About Transport Intelligence (Ti)
Transport Intelligence (Ti) is one of the world’s leading providers of expert research and analysis dedicated to the global logistics industry. Utilizing the expertise of professionals with many years of experience in the express, road freight and logistics industries, Transport Intelligence has developed a range of market-leading web-based products, reports, profiles and services used by many of the world’s leading logistics suppliers, consultancies, banks and users of logistics services.

For further information, please contact Michael Clover, Ti’s Head of Commercial Development, [email protected]

Telephone: +44 (0)1666 519907

Web: ti-insight.com

Twitter: @Ti_insight

LinkedIn: Transport Intelligence

Instagram: @logistics_briefing

About Agility

Agility is a global logistics company with $5.1 billion in annual revenue and 23,000+ employees in more than 100 countries. It is one of the world’s top freight forwarding and contract logistics providers, and a leader and investor in technology to enhance supply chain efficiency. Agility is a pioneer in emerging markets and one of the largest private owners and developers of warehousing and light industrial parks in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Agility’s subsidiary companies offer fuel logistics, airport services, commercial real estate and facilities management, customs digitization, and remote infrastructure services. 

For more information about Agility, visit www.agility.com

Twitter: twitter.com/agility

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/agility

YouTube: youtube.com/user/agilitycorp

For more information:

Sabrina Mundy

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