Southeast Asian nations outperform most other emerging markets in the 10th annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, a broad gauge of competitiveness based on logistics strength and business fundamentals.
Business-friendly conditions plus core manufacturing and supply chain value position several Southeast Asian countries near the top of the Index, behind giants China (1) and India (2), and alongside energy-rich Arabian Gulf countries.
The Index is a broad gauge of competitiveness that ranks 50 countries by factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, air cargo carriers and distributors.
The top 10 are: China, India, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Qatar, Turkey and Vietnam. Thailand is 11; Philippines is 20.
The Index includes a survey of more than 500 global logistics industry executives, who pick Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia as the emerging markets with the most logistics potential after India and China.
56% of those surveyed say a prolonged trade standoff between the U.S. and China could benefit Southeast Asian countries, which offer manufacturing and sourcing alternatives to China.
“Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand are global and regional leaders. Along with Singapore, they are the first in ASEAN to simplify, automate and integrate trade procedures through use of a single window that all ASEAN members are to adopt by the end of the year,” says Andy Vargoczky, SVP of Sales & Marketing Asia-Pacific, Agility GIL.
“Their importance in global supply and transport chains is growing every year.”
Across 50 countries, China, India and Indonesia rank highest for domestic logistics. China, India and Mexico are tops for international logistics with Vietnam 4th, Indonesia 5th and Thailand 7th. UAE, Malaysia and Qatar have the best business fundamentals.
2019 Index and survey highlights
- China and India, atop the 2019 rankings based on their size and strength as international and domestic logistics markets, lag smaller rivals in business fundamentals, a category that ranks countries based on regulatory environment, credit and debt dynamics, contract enforcement, anti-corruption safeguards, price stability and market access.
In that area, China ranks 7 and India is 10.
- The strongest clusters of emerging markets are in the Arabian Gulf and Southeast Asia, thanks to business-friendly conditions and core strengths, the Gulf’s energy wealth and Southeast Asian manufacturing power, that draw logistics activity.
In the Gulf, UAE (No. 3), Saudi Arabia (6), Qatar (8), Oman (12), Bahrain (16) and Kuwait (18) rank highly.
Among ASEAN countries, Indonesia (4), Malaysia (5), Vietnam (10), Thailand (11) and Philippines (20) are strong.
- Logistics industry executives see U.S.-China trade volume shrinking by 10% as a result of tensions, which have led to them imposing tariffs on each other.
Against a backdrop of trade friction and data showing China’s economy slowing, survey respondents see India as the market with greatest potential over China, their second choice.
- China’s US$4–$8 trillion Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure drive is a bigger plus for China than for the countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe where it is investing.
64% of executives surveyed see the BRI boosting growth and trade for China; only 41.4% believe it will help other emerging markets.
- E-commerce is fueling logistics opportunities in emerging markets.
60% of industry executives expect more outsourcing of last-mile delivery by retailers; 47.4% expecting more e-fulfilment outsourcing.
- Brexit could benefit emerging markets.
59% of executives surveyed expect emerging markets to seek trade concessions and new deals from the UK. 70% think emerging markets will be unaffected by Brexit.
- Several countries would surge in the rankings if they could improve business conditions: Brazil, Philippines, Argentina, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Bolivia. African economies with relatively strong logistics markets and potential, Uganda, Libya, Mozambique, Angola, are severely hamstrung by weak business fundamentals.