GCC countries featured relatively poorly in a new report ranking markets expected to emerge as major logistics hubs in the next five years.
In the 2013 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index list, the UAE, the highest ranked GCC country, featured at number nine, while Saudi Arabia (11), Egypt (18) and Qatar (20) were the only other Arab countries in the top 20.
“I think it is primarily an issue of size and scale of these [GCC] markets,” said John Manners-Bell, CEO and founder of Transport Intelligence, the firm responsible for putting together the report. “When we were asking people of what markets they were looking to invest in, we noticed that to a large degree the decisions were based on the size of the market.
“If you look at the connectedness index, you will see the UAE is on top with Oman at number four. Although they are hugely integrated in the global trading network, when you’re asking people where they should be investing, then primarily it will come down to scale that really drives investment decisions, it is then how they can go about this and how difficult it is which will allow them to nest their investment strategies.”
While Essa Al-Saleh, president and CEO of Agility GIL, added: “: In those markets, if we talk about logistics investments; it is small and the competition is already there. When you talk about oil and gas; companies are investing. We also handle a lot of oil and gas business and we see a lot of growth in those markets.
“But if we talk about consumer goods, it is clearly a market which has somewhat protected investments and it is limited given the size.”
China, India, Brazil, Russia and Indonesia made up the top five.
Middle East countries, however, fared better in the overall list of top emerging markets in the world. That story and list can be found here.