Logistics Professionals Forecast Changes: UAE and Saudi Arabia Top the Agility Index 2024
Mokshita P.
10x Industry

Logistics Professionals Forecast Changes: UAE and Saudi Arabia Top the Agility Index 2024

The 15th annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index reveals the UAE securing the 3rd spot globally, with Saudi Arabia and Qatar also in the top 10, showcasing resilience and economic diversification efforts.

In the 15th annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have solidified their positions among the world's top 10 emerging markets, showcasing improvements or stability in key areas. Meanwhile, neighbouring countries Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait have experienced a decline in their rankings.

UAE, securing the third spot in the 50-country Index following China and India, maintained its rank from the previous year, as did Saudi Arabia at sixth place and Qatar at seventh. However, Oman slipped to the 15th position, Bahrain to 16th, and Kuwait to 21st.

According to a survey of 830 logistics industry executives by Agility, respondents highlighted Saudi Arabia and the UAE as leaders among the GCC countries in economic diversification, reducing reliance on oil and gas income. UAE claimed the top spot for best business fundamentals, with Saudi Arabia securing the third position in that category.

The survey indicated that further enhancements for small businesses and multi-nationals are crucial for driving continued diversification across all GCC countries. UAE and Saudi Arabia consistently ranked in the top 10 in every category, while Qatar excelled in all categories except international logistics opportunities, where it stood at 20th. Bahrain's sole top 10 ranking was at eighth place for business fundamentals.

Half of the surveyed logistics professionals anticipate a global recession in the coming year, a decrease from nearly 70 percent the previous year. Executives cited battling higher costs, reducing dependence on sourcing from China, and planning increased investment in Africa despite perceived higher risks in emerging markets.

Key highlights from the 2024 Index include:

  • Supply chain restructuring: India, Europe, and North America were preferred over China as destinations for future production relocation.

  • China: 40 percent of respondents expect reduced reliance on China in the next five years, citing difficulties in doing business, U.S.-China trade friction, economic slowdown, and strict COVID restrictions.

  • Climate change: 66 percent of executives are actively planning for or experiencing the impact of climate change on their businesses.

  • Emerging markets: A majority sees increased risk and decreased rewards in emerging markets.

  • India: Recognised for growing importance as a producer and market, with infrastructure and corruption identified as significant obstacles.

Country Rankings in the Middle East and North Africa:

  • UAE (3)

  • Saudi Arabia (6)

  • Qatar (7)

  • Turkey (11)

  • Oman (15)

  • Bahrain (16)

  • Jordan (17)

  • Egypt (20)

  • Kuwait (21)

  • Morocco (22)

  • Tunisia (37)

  • Lebanon (38)

  • Iran (40)

  • Algeria (42)

  • Libya (50)

Rankings in Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • South Africa (24)

  • Kenya (25)

  • Ghana (31)

  • Nigeria (36)

  • Tanzania (41)

  • Uganda (43)

  • Ethiopia (45)

  • Mozambique (46)

  • Angola (47)

Index Rankings in Asia:

  • China (1)

  • India (2)

  • Malaysia (4)

  • Indonesia (5)

  • Vietnam (8)

  • Thailand (10)

  • Philippines (18)

  • Kazakhstan (23)

  • Sri Lanka (26)

  • Pakistan (29)

  • Cambodia (32)

  • Bangladesh (33)

  • Myanmar (49)

Rankings for Latin America:

  • Mexico (9)

  • Chile (12)

  • Brazil (14)

  • Uruguay (19)

  • Peru (28)

  • Colombia (27)

  • Argentina (30)

  • Ecuador (35)

  • Paraguay (39)

  • Bolivia (44)

  • Venezuela (48)

In Europe:

  • Russia (13)

  • Ukraine (34)

Transport Intelligence, an analysis and research firm for the logistics industry, has compiled the Index since its inception in 2009. John Manners-Bell, Chief Executive of Ti, emphasised the need for businesses to be attentive to the opportunities and threats in emerging markets, especially in the post-COVID global economy.