NEARLY 70 per cent of global logistics executives say they are bracing for recession amid higher costs, slowing demand, and ongoing supply chain disruption arising from China's battle to contain Covid, Russia's war in Ukraine, and the impact of climate change.
Ninety per cent of the 750 industry professionals surveyed for the 2023 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index also say their shipping, storage and other logistics costs remain well above the pre-pandemic levels they were at in early 2020.
The Index - compiled by Ti Insights, leading analysis and research firm for the logistics industry - ranks China number one, however only 11 per cent of respondents say their company's manufacturing footprint is the same as before Covid.
"Carriers and shippers are feeling the effects of higher energy prices, tight labour markets and broader inflation even though freight rates have fallen and ports have cleared cargo backlogs," said Agility vice chairman Tarek Sultan.
"Three years after the start of the pandemic, there is still a lot of volatility in supply chains. Now there's fresh uncertainty as consumers and businesses pull back on spending and hiring."
Professor John Manners-Bell, founder of Ti Insights and data platform GSCi, commented "It is not possible to overstate the challenges faced by emerging markets countries in the past couple of years.
"Geo-political tensions have combined with financial uncertainty and the lingering effects of the pandemic to create an ever more complex business and investment environment. The role that the Agility Emerging Market Logistics Index plays in providing insight into this volatile and uncertain environment landscape is more critical than ever."
China and India, the world's two largest countries, held their spots at number 1 and 2 in the overall rankings. UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Thailand, Mexico and Vietnam rounded out the top 10. Turkey, No 10 in 2022, dropped to 11th. No 24 South Africa and 25 Kenya were highest among countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Arabian Gulf countries - UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman - again offered the best business conditions. Malaysia, with the 4th best environment for business, was the only non-Gulf country in the top 5.
China and India were tops for domestic and international logistics. India jumped four spots to number 1 in digital readiness, followed by UAE, China, Malaysia and Qatar.