The UAE, home to the powerhouse economies of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, ranks ahead of much larger economies, finishing No. 2 overall behind only China among the countries in 2016 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, released on January 18.
The Index, in its 7th year, ranks 45 leading emerging markets countries based on their size, business conditions, infrastructure and other factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, air cargo carriers and distributors. The Index also includes a survey of more than 1,100 global logistics and supply chain executives.
China's economy is 25 times larger than UAE; India's is five times the size of the UAE economy; Brazil's is six times larger.
Among the countries in the Index, UAE, Qatar and Oman are the most business friendly, based on a combination of market access, risk, regulation, foreign investment, urbanization and wealth distribution. Other Gulf states also rank near the top in business conditions: Saudi Arabia (5); Kuwait (9) and Bahrain (11).
UAE leads all 45 countries in "connectedness," meaning it has the best combination of infrastructure, transport connections, and customs and border administration. The nation's geographic location and business friendly environment has made it a strategic transit hub linking the east and the west.
The UAE "is a model for emerging and developed economies alike," says Elias Monem, CEO Middle East and Africa for Agility Global Integrated Logistics. "In areas critical to logistics providers and their customers, it has been exceptionally farsighted. Its infrastructure and regulatory framework are not merely best-in-class among emerging markets, they are among finest found in any country, no matter how advanced."
The survey findings show that logistics industry executives are braced for more uncertainty and volatility in emerging markets in 2016. Sixty-one per cent said they are unclear on the direction of the world economy or expect more turbulence. Their top concerns: China's economic health, oil prices and the direction of the US economy.