Qatar tops all GCC countries for domestic logistics and is the seventh most competitive of the world’s leading emerging markets, performance-driven by its strong business conditions and digital readiness, according to the annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index.
Qatar ranks among the top 10 emerging markets in the 50-country Index, which was led by China at number one and India at number two.
The 2022 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index is the company’s 13th annual 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. The Index includes a survey of 756 supply chain industry professionals.
The UAE outperformed all 50 countries in business fundamentals, an area where Gulf and MENA countries are clear leaders. Others near the top are Saudi Arabia (3), Qatar (4), Bahrain (5), Oman (6), Morocco (9), Jordan (10), and Kuwait (12).
Digital readiness assesses 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.
The top 10 in digital readiness are UAE, Malaysia, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Thailand, Qatar, Indonesia, Chile and the Philippines. Kuwait (12) and Oman (15) also ranked highly.
“The connection between a country’s digital capabilities and growth prospects is undeniable,” Agility CEO Tarek 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 are technology and sustainability.
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.
Roughly two-thirds of the 756 industry professionals surveyed for the Index 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,” Sultan said. “If emerging markets can get better access to vaccines and give small business a boost, they can help power a broad, dynamic global recovery.”
China and India, the world’s two largest countries, held their spots at number one and number two in the overall rankings. UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Thailand, Mexico and Turkey rounded out the top 10.
Powerhouse exporters China, India and Mexico topped the rankings for international logistics. China, India and Indonesia ranked highest for domestic logistics.
In the Middle East and North Africa, 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).
Transport Intelligence (Ti), a leading analysis and research firm for the logistics industry compiled the Index.
Ti Chief Executive John Manners-Bell 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 need to be reinstated if shippers are to be integrated back 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, but 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.”