Article by Cathy Morrow Roberson from Transport Intelligence - Published on August 1 2013
Asia-Pacific is a region undertaking a significant transformation. Long known as the manufacturing centre of the world, the region is now adapting to changes brought forth by the "new" global economy. With rising operations costs, declining airfreight volumes, ocean freight over-capacity and declines in manufacturing activity, some have questioned whether the region is losing its competitive advantage. On the contrary, these changes are creating new opportunities.
For example, as manufacturers move further inland, the cost to transport goods to ports and airports may increase. Alternative solutions have been introduced by logistics providers such as DHL, DB Schenker and Geodis Wilson who have introduced road transport solutions connecting Asia to Europe. Hewlett-Packard has been using this alternative solution and has shipped more than 4m notebook computers from to Europe by train since 2011.
Industry-specific solutions are also on the rise. These solutions, such as UPS' life-sciences distribution centres and DHL's fashion centre of excellence are designed to meet not only the international markets, but also the growing intra-Asia markets. In fact, the growing intra-Asia markets have also triggered the need for warehousing and distribution centres. During the first half of 2013, such companies as Kerry Logistics, Yusen Logistics and the Goodman Group have opened such facilities.
South-east Asia is also presenting increased opportunities. As this region works towards becoming a united economic entity in 2015, infrastructure projects and a rising middle class are encouraging growth. Norbert Dentressangle, CEVA and FedEx Trade Networks are among the logistics providers who have already expanded into this region.
Over the past years, Asia-Pacific has led the world as the centre of outsourcing. Now, as global economics change once again, it is, once more, reinventing itself. While manufacturing will continue to play a major role, this region is likely to emerge as the world's largest consumer market thanks to 60% of the world's total population residing in this region. As such, industry leaders and logistics providers will continue to invest in this region.