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Thu 4 Dec 2008 04:00 AM

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While logistics operators in other regions

While logistics operators in other regions will be simultaneously breathing a sigh of relief at finally seeing the back of 2008 and dreading the unknown prospects of 2009, the Middle East's supply chain industry professionals will be taking stock of what has been another phenomenally successful year.

While logistics operators in other regions will be simultaneously breathing a sigh of relief at finally seeing the back of 2008 and dreading the unknown prospects of 2009, the Middle East's supply chain industry professionals will be taking stock of what has been another phenomenally successful year.

In this annual review edition, Logistics Middle East caught up with the sector's biggest players to ascertain what they have been up to over the course of the past 12 months.

If the industry's success can be measured by the growth of the Middle East's various trade zones, then a profitable 2009 certainly looks to be on the cards.

Next year should prove itself to be a landmark for logistics in this part of the world, as Dubai Logistics City and Bahrain Logistics Zone are set to open their doors in the final months of 2009.

Our review of DLC's year reveals some exclusive comments from the facility's executives, who have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure the zone opens on time.

Bahrain's landmark logistics zone has been surrounded with an impressive level of hype, and at the time of writing, was on course to attract a total of US$800 million of investment and around 22 new companies onto its site.

The powerhouse companies have been actively pursuing development projects in the Middle East, particularly as the traditional markets have been heavily hit by the double-whammy of the high oil price initially, followed by the banking collapse in the autumn.

However, it's not all been plain sailing over here; two of the companies that we have reported on in this year's review have shut up shop permanently - a first in the logistics sector for this region - and the general opinion seems to point towards consolidation as an option for some of the Middle East's smaller players.

Of course, the biggest fear about the current situation is that we have not seen a floor to the tumble that the world economy has been taking, but that should make itself clear in the year ahead.

In addition, Dubai, especially, has been suffering from its own success as congestion has hit home, both on the roads and in the ports.

But Logistics Middle East can reveal that the RTA is at the moment considering a logistics initiative that will utilise some of the newer developments in the emirate's transport system. We look forward to providing you with further information as and when we receive it.

Robeel Haq is the group editor of ITP Business' transport magazines.

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