Dubai Ports' investments in updating its infrastructure is paying off. The UAE retains third spot among emerging markets in logistics. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: The UAE retains third spot in an index that tracks the logistics sector performance in emerging markets. China and India are the two markets that are ahead of the UAE in the “Agility Emerging Markets Index”.

While this is the sixth year in succession UAE has been ranked third, the country features in the Top 10 list of all three individual sub-Indices. The jump is the “result of the country’s continued open financial sector, transparent regulatory system and corruption protection frameworks and its progress towards a comprehensive national SME development strategy”.

The Index ranks 50 countries by factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, air cargo carriers and distributors. Of the other Gulf states, Saudi Arabia was ranked sixth, Qatar seventh, Oman was at 14, Bahrain 15, and Kuwait 19th.

“The Gulf nations continue to diversify, making steady progress in streamlining regulation and realizing increased digital capabilities,” says Elias Monem, CEO of Middle East & Africa for Agility GIL. “The entire region is growing and the outlook continues to be healthy as we enter the new decade.”

Agility’s annual survey, which polled 780 supply chain professionals, recorded overall pessimism about the global economy, with 64 per cent saying a recession is likely. Only 12 per cent of executives said a recession is unlikely.

Key pointers from latest Logistics Index
* China and India sit atop the 2020 rankings based on their size and strength as international and domestic logistics markets. But they "lag smaller rivals in business fundamentals". This is the 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 No. 8 and India is No. 18.

* Respondents in the survey see India as the market with greatest potential over China, their second choice. In rankings of best business conditions, several countries made big moves, with Egypt up 10 spots to 17th. But Iran tumbled 12 spots to 38th.

* The top three factors that keep small businesses out of global trade are trade bureaucracy (17 per cent), government/border instability (14 per cent) and inability to compete with larger rivals (14 per cent).

* The countries with the least potential as logistics markets in 2020 are Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Iraq and Libya.

* E-commerce fulfillment is the top choice for logistics services that are expected to maintain or improve growth, well ahead of other services such as domestic last-mile delivery and international express parcel delivery.