ASEAN countries challenge the BRICS

SxSE_TempleFor many decades, the countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have taken a back seat to the five emerging economies known as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), as the economies in the latter group have skyrocketed to super-power status. In logistics, however, the ASEANs are striking back, according to the latest “Emerging Markets Logis­tics Index,” a survey of the opinions of 1,000 supply chain execs, plus a data-driven ranking of 45 economies, released each year by Agility Logistics.

Now in its sixth year, the rankings are based on each economy’s size, business conditions, infrastructure and other factors relevant to the freight forwarding industry. This year, seven of the top 20 economies are located in Asia, and five of them are ASEAN member states. Here are some highlights about how they stacked up:

  • While China is a perennial No. 1, Malaysia came in at No. 2 in “market connectivity,” meaning it has one of the best infrastructures and transport links among the emerging markets.
  • The Philippines rose by three spots over last year to reach No. 4, among countries with GDP below US$300 billion, thanks to an improved standing among supply chain executives surveyed.
  • Vietnam jumped two spots to No. 7 among countries with GDP under $300 billion, as strong growth in its apparel and high-tech goods spurred higher exports and foreign direct investment.
  • For logistics and supply chain executives in the survey, Indonesia was the highest ranked South­east Asian country as a major logistics market, at No. 4.
  • The fastest-growing trade lanes linking emerging Southeast Asia and developed markets in 2014 were U.S.-Vietnam (up 42.7 percent by volume); and Cambodia-EU (up 41.9 percent) for air cargo.
  • Out of the top 10 potential investment markets cited by logistics executives, three are in South­east Asia: Vietnam (No. 4), Indonesia (7) and Thailand (10).

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Vietnam leading the charge

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