Agility: Logistics Execs Wary of 2024 Recession and Overreliance on China
Majority plan Africa expansion despite guarded outlook on emerging markets
DUBAI, UAE, Feb. 6, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Global logistics executives, still worried about recession, say they are battling higher costs, reducing dependence on sourcing from China, and planning to boost investment in Africa despite seeing emerging markets investment overall as somewhat riskier.
Half of the 830 industry professionals surveyed for the 2024 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index expect a global recession in the coming year – down from nearly 70% a year ago.
More than 63% of respondents say their companies continue overhauling supply chains by spreading production to multiple locations or relocating it to home markets and nearby countries. China, the world's leading producer, stands to be most affected: 37.4% of industry professionals say they plan to move production/sourcing out of China or reduce investment there.
"Shippers and carriers are struggling to minimize supply chain risk and find new growth opportunities. Inflation and recession risks have eased, but the industry is still living with the aftershocks of the COVID pandemic. At the same time, businesses are worried about geopolitics -- troubled trade relations between China and the U.S. and Europe, and the thicket of sanctions against a growing number of countries," says Agility Vice Chairman Tarek Sultan.
The survey and Index are Agility's 15th annual snapshot of industry sentiment and ranking of the world's 50 leading emerging markets. The Index ranks countries for overall competitiveness based on their logistics strengths, business climates and digital readiness -- factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, air and ocean carriers, distributors and investors.
Shipping and logistics costs that soared during the COVID pandemic and its aftermath are still climbing but at a slower rate, the survey found. One way shippers expect to cope is by increasing use of digital freight forwarding from 37.8% today to 52% in five years.
Meantime, the industry is gearing up for a surge in Africa investment. Nearly 62% of professionals say their companies are planning additional or first-time investments in Africa vs. only about 7% exiting or scaling back there.
China and India, the world's two largest countries, held their spots at No. 1 and 2 in the overall rankings. UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, , Vietnam, Mexico, and Thailand rounded out the top 10. No. 24 South Africa and 25 Kenya were highest among countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Three of the four countries offering the best emerging markets business conditions are situated in the Arabian Gulf: UAE (1), Saudi Arabia (3) and Qatar (4). Malaysia (2) and Jordan (5) both moved up in the business fundamentals rankings.
China and India were tops for domestic and international logistics. In digital readiness, China jumped three spots to No. 1, followed by UAE, Malaysia and Qatar. India fell from the top spot a year ago to No. 5 this year.
Outside of the top 10, many of the biggest swings in year-to-year rankings involved countries experiencing conflict, facing international economic sanctions, or suffering from chronic economic instability. Among them: Ukraine, Russia, Iran, Ethiopia, Argentina, Lebanon, Tunisia.
2024 Index Highlights
Transport Intelligence (Ti), a leading analysis and research firm for the logistics industry, has compiled the Index since it was launched in 2009.
John Manners-Bell, Chief Executive of Ti, said: "Supply chain managers are still coming to terms with the political and economic instability characterising the post-COVID global economy. Geopolitical relationships are changing rapidly, and this is having a major impact on international trade and risk profiles. Businesses need to be alive to the opportunities and threats that exist in emerging markets and use data, such as that the Agility Emerging Market Logistics Index, to inform agile decision-making."
2024 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index: agility.com/2024index
Agility is a global leader in supply chain services, infrastructure, and innovation with 45,000+ employees across six continents. A multi-business operator and investor, Agility specializes in growing and scaling operating businesses. Agility's companies include the world's largest aviation services company (Menzies Aviation); a global fuel logistics business (Tristar); the market leader in logistics parks across the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa (Agility Logistics Parks); and a commercial real-estate company developing a mega-mall in the UAE (UPAC). Other Agility companies offer customs digitization services, remote-site infrastructure services, defense and government services, and ecommerce-enablement and digital logistics. Agility invests in supply chain innovation, sustainability, and resilience, and has minority holdings in a growing portfolio of listed and non-listed companies.
For more information about Agility, visit: www.agility.com