MENA’s Logistics Sector and the Impact of the Pandemic on it

Image Credits: - Gerd Altmann/

There seems nothing but an inevitable different futuristic timeframe for the global supply chain industry including MENA not just within the Short Term, but as well as well within the probable time frame to occur.

There is absolutely no doubt, that the year 2020 witnessed COVID-19 hurdles faced off by governments, economies, businesses, as well as the healthcare systems, general public, and logistics (Supply-Chain) industry also being not an exception with the diverse section of operators jumbled out to keep in light with the essential supplies getting in place alongside transport interruptions, movement boundaries and unstable supply chains.

Post a year of the pandemic, the world is still under very grasp of the deadly virus recurring waves, however, fighting hard to keep going. In the face of ambiguity, businesses are formulating for eternal deviations to adapt and minimize the risk, transforming their business models to meet the dramatic shifts in global patterns and client behaviour.

Logistics arena too suffered initially by the interruption to global supply chains, controlled cargo capacity, broken links, and the weakening in global trade and business. However, the industry improved swiftly to meet global-broader demand for service endurance.

Industry players re-purposed their fleet volumes and re-engineered their operations to house up the shifting trade and client’s patterns amidst the most inspiring circumstances. Firms had to grip innovative solutions to aid in overcoming the hurdles and maintain operations.

One of the major triggers was the global surge in E-commerce movement. Forced social distancing measures and curfews triggered a mass switch to online shopping.

Conventional brick-and-mortar brands commenced for experimenting as well as restructuring merchandize offerings to meet new client demands, whether that meant going digital and marketing online, exploring the direct-to-consumer (D2C) model, or operating in a creative manner to take an experience-based business into individual households.

Globally, DHL’s network witnessed a 35 percent upsurge in E-commerce capacities in 2020, attaining historical surge in the third quarter with shipment measures hopping over 50 percent comparatively to the same period in 2019.

As per the report compiled from Management Consultancy, Kearney Middle East, the globalized Retail E-Commerce Sales values are poised to attain a new graph or statistics of $50Bn within the year 2025, that clearly depicts a huge steady upsurge trend heavily dependable on a comprehensive Logistics Infrastructure and ecosystem.

Within the realm and aftermaths of the deadliest ever Pandemic in a decade, the Logistics arena’s importance has even become more of a requirement for the online traders and it will endure to be vital for their overall business survival.

The Covid-19 Pandemic is all poised to create a huge boom for the E-Commerce and accelerate the trend. As well as the overall growth levels for the globalization as well as digitalization will also power in the space for better online Shopping as well as shipping around globally to better heights.

DHL Express, within the MENA territory also witnessed a huge steep expansion trend as the cross-border E-commerce volumes driven by Kuwait that topped 157 percent as well as followed by Oman at 123 percent and UAE at 115 per cent.

The firm has as well as added two new Boeing 767-300Fs to their MENA aviation fleet to enhance the overall load capacity, growing its air load by over 25 percent.

However, one such arena that did observe the major impact however, was the healthcare arena and the instantaneous demand for critical supplies. The timely provision of medical merchandize was heavily interrupted due to lockdowns and air travel restrictions and what became very evident was that there is still much of the efforts to be done to progress the medical-merchandize supply chain.

Vaccines have now arrived as the crucial global markets and their capability to end this pandemic depends on an effective supply chain that can connect varied production sites to the public. On a global scale, logistics providers are swiftly tested to establish a medical supply chain to deliver vaccines of extraordinary amounts of more than 10 billion doses globally, and this includes territories with less established logistics infrastructures, where approximately three billion people live.

To offer global coverage in the subsequent two years, up to 200,000 pallet shippers and 15 million cooling boxes as well as 15,000 flights will be obligatory across the diverse supply chain setups. That is a humungous task for logistics to commence.

Although the pandemic will ultimately subside, it is critical that the logistics industry is better equipped when the next health crisis comes around. Logistics experts require to do their part to aid in improvising these systems and guarantee medical supplies always find their way to wherever they are desired.

The lessons cultured from this global phenomenon have been invaluable in setting a model for emergency operations within the industry as well as others.

Forming partnerships with logistics service providers who can complement existing network-related capabilities will be a strategic requirement in safeguarding life-saving merchandize and supplies during any catastrophe.

It seems foreseeable that supply chains will be diverse not only in the short term but well into the probable future. But one thing is for sure; there are a lot of instructions to be learnt from this pandemic and as trades are coming to terms with these instructions, the want for more resilient supply chains is growing.

It is a decisive time to prepare for the post-Covid phase to make sure the industry is equipped and able to capitalize on the prospects that arise. With more people now working remotely from home, logistics troupes need to be closer to their clients.

And just as it is vital to stay focused on enlightening external operations, internally, the security of workforces requires to also remain a priority, considering the logistics industry is extremely dependent on human interaction.

High focus should be positioned on sustaining safety and well-being of workforces due in for their mental and physical state is serious to maintaining optimum levels of service.

With the pandemic effectively varying the future of work and fast-tracking digital and automation agendas, and as more and more organizations linger to rely heavily on digital methods of operation, client trends have taken a swift turn towards better automated products and services.

Artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing, sustainability and global volatility are few of the areas that the DHL Logistics Trend Radar predicts will help shape logistics in the future.

Technological advancements like that of the data analytics, AI, robotics, IoT technologies, cloud services, and APIs signal a new normal for logistics and are pushing the industry to keep up with the technological demands in the field. Revolutions in quantum computing, blockchain and space logistics specify new niches for logistics providers to solve large-scale problems and offer better services to cater to evolving requirements. While the Covid-19 pandemic may not be over yet, there is steady stability with airports and borders gradually opening up, and economies recommencing business activity.

The logistics industry, similar to the rest of the world, finds itself in the midst of a transformation with many trends here to stay while new ones are constantly rising. It is significant to keep well-informed of the new wave of logistics to take advantage of on the tremendous prospects that are in store.


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