The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar maintain their positions among the top 10 emerging markets for logistics worldwide, with improvements or stability in key areas, while neighboring Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait have witnessed declines in their rankings.
In the 15th annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, which evaluates 50 markets globally for overall competitiveness in attracting logistics providers, the UAE secured the third position, following China and India, maintaining its rank from the previous year. Saudi Arabia held the sixth place, and Qatar retained the seventh position. However, Oman slipped to 15th place, Bahrain to 16th, and Kuwait to 21st.
The UAE’s freight and logistics market, currently estimated at $20.3 billion, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.55% to reach $27.51 billion by 2029, according to data from Mordor Intelligence Industry Reports for 2023 & 2024.
Industry experts attribute the steady growth of the UAE logistics market to the rapid expansion of e-commerce across the region and increasing international trade. Dubai’s strategic location between Asia and Europe has facilitated optimal trading conditions, with initiatives focusing on infrastructure and technology development to enhance the transport system and logistics infrastructure.
Respondents in the Agility survey highlighted the UAE and Saudi Arabia as leaders in economic diversification within the GCC countries, aiming to reduce reliance on oil and gas revenues. The UAE ranked first for best business fundamentals, with Saudi Arabia securing the third position. Further enhancements for small businesses and multinational corporations are deemed essential for driving continued diversification across all GCC countries.
Supply chain managers are urged to adapt to the political and economic instability characterizing the post-Covid global economy, with rapidly changing geopolitical relationships impacting international trade and risk profiles. The survey reflects decreasing anticipation of a global recession in the coming year, with logistics professionals focusing on battling higher costs, reducing dependence on sourcing from China, and planning increased investment in Africa despite perceived higher risks in emerging markets.
A significant portion of respondents indicate ongoing overhauls of supply chains by diversifying production locations or relocating to home markets and nearby countries. China, as the world’s leading producer, is expected to be notably affected, with plans to move production or reduce investment in the country.