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Sun 25 Jan 2009 04:00 AM

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Are you ready for 2009?

How to find opportunities in the global economic slowdown.

Supported by a continued boom in the regional economy, the Middle East has transformed itself into a global centre of excellence for the logistics industry.

The unprecedented growth of freight forwarders and ambitious development of ‘logistics cities' have captured the world's attention, showcasing our ability to challenge the strongest of international markets, whether it's Asia, Europe of the United States.

Of course, 2009 has started on a darker note, with concerns that the global recession will impact our progress in the Middle East. According to trade reports, the regional logistics industry will experience a growth rate of 11% in 2009, down from the earlier prediction of 19%.

However, with other regions looking at a potential decline in the market, our double-digit growth is hardly a cause for concern. There might even be opportunities for logistics companies in this financial crisis, with customers looking to outsource their supply chain operations in a bid to reduce their operating costs.

In the meantime, the industry continues to be flooded with investment. Have a read of our exclusive update on Dubai Logistics City, for example, where companies such as Kuehne + Nagel and Panalpina have completed their warehouse construction.

Or take a look at our lead news story, which provides details on the multi-million dollar investments that are being pumped into Sharjah to develop the emirate into the Middle East's latest hotspot for warehousing and transportation.

Although these stories are reassuring, it's time for change in the industry and businesses must take this opportunity to evaluate their current operations. With the industry boom over the past decade, many companies became complacent, focusing on the rapid development of their operations, instead of looking at ways to increase their efficiency and reduce their costs.

The economic slowdown has provided a perfect opportunity to address this situation and I'm confident that's exactly what the industry will do. Talking about change, you'll notice a complete re-design in the print version of Logistics Middle East this month, highlighting our continued role as ‘the voice of the industry' - a title that was bestowed by Michael Proffitt, former CEO of Dubai Logistics City. We hope you like it, and as always, I look forward to receiving your thoughts.

If you have any comments to make on this month's issue, we would love to hear your views. Please email Robeel Haq, senior group editor (

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