DUBAI: The UAE’s status as a vital global logistics hub is helping the global community effectively navigate the coronavirus pandemic – according to a new Analysis by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Dubai Chamber).
Titled ‘UAE Logistics Sector – Connectivity and Resilience,’ the Analysis highlights the country’s busy air cargo routes, high maritime freight connectivity, well-established warehousing network and strong logistical system as key elements that are enabling communities to weather the restrictions being created by the current situation.
Focusing on air cargo, the Dubai Chamber Analysis found that Middle Eastern cargo carriers, led by Emirates Airline, are showing resilience to early disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis, with Middle East-North America, Africa-Middle East, Europe-Middle East, and Middle East-Asia routes all experiencing annual year on year (y-o-y) growth between 2.5% to 9% during February 2020 compared to 2019. This bucked the trend that saw global carriers’ international activity drop by -0.9% y-o-y, with around half of their global cargo routes experiencing weakness.
The Analysis also highlighted the latest data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that showed that international cargo tonne kilometres (CTKs) – a measure of air cargo traffic – Analysised by carriers in the Middle East grew 4.3% y-o-y in February 2020 as they expanded their cargo capacity by 6% y-o-y. This was despite having to reduce – as did all international carriers – their passenger capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
From a maritime perspective, the Dubai Chamber Analysis found that the UAE’s connectivity has been a key factor in ensuring that vital supplies reach global markets. Highlighting the Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (LSCI) – a widely used barometer of countries’ accessibility to global trade – it revealed that the UAE has the highest connectivity to global maritime trade networks among all countries in the Middle East and neighbouring Africa, West Asia and South Asia regions – a strong indication of its global trade hub status.
The Analysis pointed out that the UAE’s regional markets of Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Sudan and Tanzania have their highest bilateral connectivity with the UAE higher or equal to China – the world’s largest economy by purchasing power parity. While for markets such as Kenya and KSA, the UAE enjoys the second highest bilateral connectivity after China. t is worth noting that the network of marine trade routes owned by the Emirates reflects the existence of immense opportunity for easy and flexible movement of goods, thus saving cost and time, which makes the UAE’s logistics sector a key player in the global efforts to fight Covid-19.