Africa and the Americas are emerging as the shining stars of the airfreight industry, according to the 2012 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index. Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco and the Latin American nations of Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and Chile all rank among the top 10 fastest-growing exporters, the report found.
What’s more, the index — compiled by Transport Intelligence — detailed how Kenyan exports by air to the European Union surged 134 percent between 2005 and 2011. Ethiopia also saw strong export volumes to the U.S. and EU, driven by the region’s prolific coffee sector.
On the import side, Transport Intelligence discovered that Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC countries) topped the list of importers from the U.S. and EU. The United Arab Emirates took home fourth-place honors in this category, with South America, Turkey and Mexico all placing among the top 10.
Another key finding was that the busiest trade lane for airfreight in 2011 was China to the EU; 1.13 million tonnes traveled between these regions last year, according to the Transport Intelligence study.
To Agility President and CEO Essa Al-Saleh, all of these statistics point to a larger phenomenon. “Emerging markets are more resilient than they’ve ever been,” he said in a statement. “There’s growing evidence that their dependence on the established markets is diminishing as new trade lanes grow and consumer demand in huge markets like China and India gathers strength.”
The Gulf is also a hotbed of growth, Al-Saleh explained, despite recent political strife throughout the region. “In the Middle East, where we saw old regimes fall, the index indicated that logistics professionals see the region as ‘open for business’ in a way that it wasn’t before,” he stated.
Transport Intelligence CEO John Manners-Bell said these findings illuminate the importance of looking beyond the traditional leaders for market growth. “Emerging markets have never been so important to the global economy,” he said in a statement. “However, operating in these markets requires a great deal of attention and preparation as the business environment is often highly challenging.”