Asia Pacific: Trade, trends and an exclusive interview

Earlier this week Ti published its annual Asia Pacific Transport and Logistics report and I had the opportunity to chat briefly with the report’s lead author, Ti’s Atlanta-based Senior Analyst Cathy Roberson, about what she found particularly interesting when researching for the report and what you could learn from it.

Lilith Gardiner (LG): Cathy, the brochure states that the report includes summaries and analysis of market trends and developments. Could you give me some insight into some of these trends?

Cathy Roberson (CR): Some interesting trends are developing in Asia Pacific. One of which is the attempt to revive the ancient Silk Road route linking Asia to Europe, the Middle East and into Africa. The proposed route will connect ports via sea and there will be a road component. How will this affect global trade? How will logistics providers benefit? It’s still early to tell as the Chinese government is leading this initiative and working to get other country governments involved.

Also, there seems to be a good bit of interest in the use of intermodal: Air-Sea and Road-Rail for example. Perhaps as a means to lower costs and/or reduce time in transit but I think another reason is the fact that growth in manufacturing, for example, is moving further west within Asia and thus further away from ports and in some cases adequate airports.

LG: I know a particular area of interest to you is intra-Asia trade. Which partnerships and trade agreements have impacted this?

CR: Watching the growth of intra-Asia trade over the years has indeed been interesting. I think manufacturing expansion and shifts have resulted in a good bit of this increase. Also, as you mentioned, economic and trade agreements are also spurring this growth. The ASEAN Economic Community which comprises much of South East Asia is expected to become a single economic entity in 2015. Meanwhile, many free trade agreements such as China and Singapore and Japan and Australia are breaking down borders which is further easing the movement of goods cross border.

LG: As well as regional market sizings for the contract logistics, express and freight forwarding markets, within the report there are country profiles for 22 countries within Asia Pacific. Each of these profiles includes an overview of the country’s logistic industry, analysis of the country’s infrastructure and for 11 of these countries we have included information on its position within the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index. Would you mind explaining to those who may not know what this index is and why is it important?

CR: I’m really excited about the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index. It’s sponsored by Agility Logistics and for the past 5 years, we have measured the attractiveness of emerging markets. It includes overall rankings of countries as well as rankings for connectedness, compatibility and trade lanes. In fact, 4 of the top 10 emerging markets are in Asia.

Emerging markets are growing in importance and this is likely to continue as manufacturing and the middle class expands in these markets. As such there is a growing need for logistics and transportation services.

We’re already at work on the 2015 Index and we would really appreciate folks take a couple of minutes and take the Index survey. The survey helps us determine the top countries as well as provides additional insight into these markets.

LG: If the Emerging Markets are of particular interest to our readers, where else can they find out more about these?

Not surprising, emerging markets are a major interest to Ti. Our CEO, John Manners-Bell, has just published a book on the topic (Logistics and Supply Chains in Emerging Markets), in addition, in October, we are hosting our second conference this year on emerging markets.  We will be in Singapore on the 15th and 16th October – for more information on this event, please visit www.ticonferences.com.

If the topics discussed in this blog post have been of interest to you, go to the Ti website and take a look around at our reports, whitepapers, conferences and GSCi portal. Alternatively, to be updated on a weekly basis on the major events within the logistics industry, sign up for free to our Logistics Briefing service, which will also keep you informed of Ti’s latest events and publications which may be of interest to you.

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