Recovery Insights: Logistics
Each week, Weber Shandwick’s COVID-19 Asia Pacific Recovery Report shares the strategies, perspectives and case studies of the COVID-19 era. With Recovery Insights, we examine how a specific sector or industry is tackling the many challenges of pandemic recovery in the Asia Pacific region. Today, exploring how the Asia Pacific logistics sector is evolving in 2021.
The advent of ecommerce has led to transformation in Indonesia’s logistics sector. The archipelago has some of the highest logistic costs in Asia, amounting to 24 percent of the country’s GDP. As part of the government’s National Logistics Ecosystem (NLE) reform plan, logistics costs will be reduced to 17 percent to boost competitiveness.
Thailand’s government has approved a US$68 billion loan bill proposed by the Transport Ministry for high-speed railway and other transportation mega projects that will reduce logistic costs from 18 percent to 10 percent.
Representatives from the Vietnam Logistics Business Association commented that the country’s logistic sector costs 17 percent of GDP, while contributing only four percent. The association urges the government to address the bottleneck faced by industry players and continue to drive digital transformation, citing the digitally-driven Cat Lai port as a good model for future success.
Japan’s government has announced the launch of a nationwide smart logistics platform to collect data on the end-to-end delivery process. Due to go live by March 2023, the platform is estimated to increase efficiency in the logistics sector by 20 percent.
‘Last mile delivery’ and the essential nature of logistics
On the back of growing demand for safer shopping options, ‘last mile delivery’ (i.e. delivery from hub to residence) has proven to be resilient throughout the pandemic. Malaysia’s AirAsia Group have capitalised on the ecommerce boom, pivoting to last mile delivery offerings as their flights remain grounded.
For traditional logistics companies, such as Pos Malaysia, the emphasis has been on strengthening digital infrastructure and presence to capitalise on the heightened demand for delivery services. Hong Kong SAR-based last mile delivery provider Lalamove recently raised US$1.3 billion in its series F funding round led by Hillhouse Capital, rolling out a sedan fleet in the Philippines to address growing demand for same day delivery services.
Do Venture Capital’s Vietnam Tech Investment Report and Japan venture capital firm Genesia have both highlighted the opportunity of Vietnam’s last mile delivery market, which is expected to grow to US$113.32 billion in 2023. Both venture capital firms highlight that, unlike the e-payments sector, the logistics sector is not saturated.
An integral part of vaccine roll out
As cargo truck drivers transport goods from Malaysia to Singapore, they will be required to undergo antigen rapid testing for COVID-19. Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry commented that “We recognise the importance of ensuring the smooth passage of goods between Singapore and Malaysia.”
While markets such as New Zealand, Taiwan, and Japan have expressed caution regarding immediate vaccine rollouts, other markets are making ready. DHL estimates that the global vaccine coverage will take 200,000 pallet shipments, 15 million deliveries in cooling boxes, and 15,000 flights. In the US, a major online retail and delivery brand has announced that they will support the Biden administration in the rollout of the vaccine.
Australia‘s government has partnered with logistics providers Linfox and DHL and data partner Accenture to design national distribution networks capable of reaching rural communities. In Hong Kong SAR and Singapore, airlines battered by COVID-19 are expanding their cold storage facilities ahead of the vaccine rollout. South Korea’s military will be part of the coronavirus vaccine logistics support team and will escort shipments of the vaccine from the airport to inoculation centres.
Swiss logistics company Kuehne + Nagel will provide global warehousing and distribution via road and air for a vaccine in Asian markets including the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia. The vaccine in question has a logistical advantage in that it can be stored long-term at minus 20 degrees Celsius, the temperature of a standard freezer, for six months.
An epidemiologist at Indonesia’s Padjadjaran University highlighted that certain vaccines mitigate logistic and transportation-related challenges faced by the Indonesian government as they do not need to be stored in ‘freeze chain’ conditions, making it easier to transport dosages across the archipelago.
Media analysis of stories covering Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Malaysia, Macau SAR, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam from 28 December 2020 to 28 January 2021.
This briefing was prepared by Weber Shandwick’s Insight & Intelligence team in Singapore.
For more insights, case studies, and data on recovery efforts throughout the Asia Pacific region, subscribe to Weber Shandwick’s COVID-19 Asia Pacific Recovery Report.