Asia-Pacific countries dominate Agility Emerging Markets Index

Asia-Pacific nations lead all emerging market regions with China, India and Indonesia being the world’s top emerging markets in the 12th annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, a broad gauge of competitiveness based on logistics strength and business fundamentals, says a press release.

The Index ranks 50 countries by factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, air cargo carriers and distributors. Among ASEAN countries, Vietnam climbs three spots to No. 8 overall. Indonesia (3), Malaysia (5) and Thailand (11) are strong; the Philippines rises one spot to No. 21.

China and Vietnam were virtually alone in the world in 2020, posting positive GDP growth for the year after being hit early by economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Early 2020 supply disruptions in China prompted some to question whether it would experience an exodus of manufacturing by multi-nationals seeking to diversify sourcing and production. But the 1,200 logistics industry executives surveyed for Agility’s Index indicate little desire to uproot from China or other markets, preferring by a two-to-one margin to protect their supply chains by accelerating adoption of digital tools and technology (41.3%) as opposed to pursuing multi-shoring, near-shoring or reshoring strategies (21.9%).

Of those who would consider moving out of China, more respondents chose Vietnam as a preferred production hub than any other country (19.6%). Other Asian markets – India (17.4%), Indonesia (12.4%), Thailand (10.3%) and Malaysia – are the next leading choices. Only 7.8% of industry executives say relocating production from China would mean reshoring to their home countries.

Asia-Pacific is the region that more respondents believe will recover from the global pandemic by the end of 2021. Of those surveyed, 55.9% predict an Asia-Pacific economic recovery in 2021; 53.1% believe Europe will rebound.

“Asia Pacific experienced great turmoil in the beginning of 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, but it has rebounded strongly, led by the powerful performance of China and Vietnam. The region is on track for a full recovery this year,” says Andy Vargoczky, SVP of Sales & Marketing Asia-Pacific, Agility GIL. “India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam continue to improve their supply chain infrastructure and capabilities, showing why they are leaders in domestic and international logistics.”

Across 50 countries, China, India and Indonesia rank highest in the Index for domestic logistics. China, India and Mexico are on top for international logistics with Vietnam 4th, Indonesia 5th, and Malaysia 7th. UAE, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have the best business fundamentals.

John Manners-Bell, Chief Executive of Ti says, “The strength of the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index has always been to differentiate between those emerging markets which demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity and those which are more fragile. This year is no exception. Although some – especially China and Vietnam – have been able to rebalance around domestic industrial and consumer demand, the majority are still highly dependent on international markets and investment. A lack of global demand, combined with the breakdown of air and sea logistics networks, has had severe consequences for these economies and societies. As the COVID crisis finally unwinds over the next two years, those most resilient will bounce back the fastest. Inevitably, those which have failed to embrace market, trade, governmental and social reforms will be hardest hit by the fallout from the pandemic.”

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