Gulf Businesses Anticipate Double-Digit Growth in Exports and Imports for 2024

Gulf Businesses Anticipate Double-Digit Growth in Exports and Imports for 2024 

Fresh insights from a study commissioned by DP World and led by Economist Impact unveil that, notwithstanding mounting geopolitical tensions, executives from the UAE and Saudi Arabia are anticipating robust double-digit expansion in exports throughout 2024. Embracing innovation and technology, they are proactively addressing supply chain hurdles.

The annual Trade in Transition survey, sponsored by DP World and led by Economist Impact, captures insights from trade specialists and top-tier executives globally.

Amidst the UAE and Saudi Arabia's paradigm shift towards reducing reliance on fossil fuels, companies are actively diversifying their networks and expanding exports into new markets for 2024. Diversification facilitates risk mitigation and accelerates market entry. Approximately 57% of surveyed companies project a sales increase of 10% or more in 2024, with 40% anticipating a similar surge in purchases.

This growth is propelled by heightened exports to India, the GCC, and Egypt. In response to geopolitical shifts, companies are meticulously assessing supply chain risks. Adoption of cutting-edge technologies like robotics and automation, coupled with strategic supply chain management tactics such as friendshoring and dual resourcing, underscores their proactive approach.

2023 marked a pivotal year in supply chain innovation, with technological advancements fueling optimism for 2024.

The global survey underscores technology's pivotal role in enhancing supply chain efficiency and resilience, with nearly one-third of business leaders expressing optimism about the future of global trade. Key highlights from the Trade in Transition study include:

  • Extensive AI integration: Leveraging AI to curtail trade costs, streamline resource allocation, and enhance supply chain planning. Approximately 30% utilize AI for demand forecasting and 33% for inventory optimization.
  • Futuristic technologies: Businesses are gearing up to integrate advanced automation (35%), augmented or virtual reality (31%), 3D printing, and blockchain technology (26% and 20% respectively) to bolster efficiency, traceability, security, and data protection.
  • Strategic supply chain adaptation: Enterprises are proactively navigating geopolitical risks through strategies like friendshoring (44%), establishing parallel supply chains (35%), and expanding into neutral markets (28%).
  • Consolidation trend: A quarter of businesses are opting for fewer suppliers to mitigate supply disruptions, even as they grapple with the balance between diversification and control.
  • Trade hurdles in 2024: Challenges persist in exporting and importing, primarily due to tariff uncertainties (26% expressing concern for exports and 18% for imports). Additional hurdles include increased inflation, economic uncertainty, and political instability in key markets.
  • Prioritising resilience: Despite heightened costs, businesses are bolstering inventory levels to buffer against geopolitical uncertainties, with 45% incorporating a 1-3 month buffer into their supply chains – the highest among surveyed regions.

Abdulla bin Damithan, CEO and Managing Director at DP World GCC, commented, "As we navigate the evolving geopolitical and economic landscape in 2024, companies are aligning their strategies with initiatives like Dubai’s D33 and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to tap into new markets and boost opportunities in trade. Our research underscores the critical role of technology in strengthening supply chains and anticipating disruptions."

To access the complete report, please click here

Create Your Account Now

Sign up now to stay connected to the UAE ecosystem, access exclusive content & market news, and discover initiatives to unlock opportunities.

You might also like